Thea: The Awakening
Top Critic Average
Thea: The Awakening is good. Very, very good, and where something like Civilization is hard to play in short bursts, Thea is an ideal title for train trips and the like. I have no idea how the team has handled the sequel (currently in Early Access on Steam), but with this first one, there is a superb foundation here for what could become one truly special franchise.
An incredibly addictive gameplay experience that ropes you in, dazzling you with its unique world and storytelling, that you will quickly lose sleep over.
A single playthrough can last hundreds of turns but once you've earned a victory, it will simply unlock new quests and options. The complexity leads to all sorts of different ways you can enjoy your time but also creates a gigantic barrier to entry. Without watching a YouTube video of a playthrough being completed and explained on the fly I may have just given up, which would have been a shame because Thea is a fantastic title worth spending the time to figure out.
For fans of simulation titles with a sweet mix of RPG elements, Thea is an easy recommendation as there is very little on the Switch that even compares in the genre.
Slavic mythology, card minigames, and hexagonal turn-based strategic gameplay are just the beginnings to what Thea: The Awakening has to offer. With such a high replay value, it'll keep you entertained and busy for much more than you would expect. It definitely packs a big punch for an 'under the radar' game, and should definitely be on the wishlists of those who fancy strategy, resource management-based games.
You will enjoy Thea: The Awakening for hours, if only you don't be discouraged by badly designed controls and difficult beginnings. Unique gameplay and atmosphere make it game worth your time.
Review in Polish | Read full review
Thea: The Awakening is something of a surprise, really. From an unknown indie developer comes a game that blends RPG and strategy together very well, in a fashion that means one doesn't dilute the strengths of the other. It is complex, sure, and perhaps that will be off-putting for as many as it will be endearing for, but there's an original game here - one that ought to appeal to fans of both spectrum of genres.
It might look like Civilization on the surface, but once you realise it's actually a hybrid of card game, gamebook, RPG, and strategy game you'll be hard pressed to think of anything that you've played this year that's more fundamentally fascinating than this one. [OpenCritic note: Matt Sainsbury reviewed both the PS4 and PC versions. Their scores have been averaged.]
Thea: The Awakening is a mishmash of different genres that could have come out feeling jumbled and confused. However, some smart design choices allows Thea to be something bigger and better than the sum of its parts and brings its interesting experience over from PC to console rather successfully.
If you’re looking for an impressively varied strategy simulation title, there’s little else on the Switch that compares to Thea. Its mechanics take a solid amount of time to pick up, but once you have a good grasp on things, you can settle into a nice and comfortable gameplay loop. Your ultimate goal might be a large town, or a dedicated group of high-level warriors. Whatever it is, Thea gives you a great deal of freedom to do it, as long as you trust and prepare for the unexpected. For fans of simulation titles, Thea is an easy recommendation – for Role-playing enthusiasts, it might be a bit of a risk. If you’re willing to submit to the gods and take risks, you’ll find a game with satisfying depth, mixed presentation, and a lengthy and fun campaign loop.