Independent studio Arcanity Inc’s first premiere release is Tanzia, a charming singleplayer RPG inspired by classic games such as World of Warcraft and The Legend of Zelda. MMORPG systems are adapted for solo-play with style and gusto.
Tanzia's story is based around a nameless protagonist as he sets off to find his missing grandfather who saved his home island from a great evil known as the Skeleton King years ago. The hope is that he can help stop the looming threat that is returning once again. It has players learning powerful spells to destroy enemies, moving through the world to complete quests and unravelling the past deeds of a mighty and mysterious grandfather figure who saved the island in the past.
The intersection of story and gameplay happens through visions the protagonist, delivered through brilliant voice work. The opening cutscene which goes over the story and lore was incredibly charming. I found myself intensely engaged from the first moment, as the intro didn't feel like it was added as an afterthought.
The game’s combat is likened to an MMORPG of the World of Warcraft variety. Ranged spells are the bread and butter of the combat system and a lot of the spells complement that approach nicely. A lot of satisfaction can be found in herding enemies into a charge and then toying or blasting them with spells.
Some of the game’s magic will slow or stop enemies and Tanzia gives your character great range to hit enemies from. By doing this it forces players to approach encounters with a degree of planning ahead for battles. A simple melee button mash won't do. Spells and items are linked to a customisable "hot bar" for equipping actions to different slots. This is a very MMORPG-esque but solid method of having multiple loadouts and feels at home in Tanzia.
Once again, the visuals feel very similar to WoW with bright coloured enemies and free-to-roam areas which feel comfortable and are enticing to explore for enemies and loot.
The character and world models are somewhat low on details, but I personally feel like this was an intensional aesthetic choice. High-fidelity graphics are rarely the only ingredient for a quality game and finding ways of engaging players is key. Tanzia does well in that regard.
The music blends in well, almost too well. I honestly can’t even recount of how it sounds in my head away from the game. I’m not sure that the music within the game’s world itself is remarkable enough to stick, but the sounds of combat and the creatures are well done. As mentioned, I definitely enjoyed the voice acting and felt it added to the overall experience immensely.
The main quest is linear and unlocks more areas as you advance through the story, but side quests you pick up be completed in any order allowing players to set their own pace. Some of these side quests did ultimately feel uninspired with the common “kill X of Y within Z seconds”, but they are nicely framed from a story perspective. Either way, the main quest is where it's at, and I much prefer doing side quests later if possible.
Overall, Tanzia is quite a pleasing experience. Going through the main story takes around 12 hours, which is a sweet spot for an RPG of its scale and it doesn't outstay it's welcome in the slightest.
The game feels most like an MMO wrapped modified to be a more traditional CRPG, so the combat whilst methodical and satisfyingly tactical, is oddly weightless. Throwing all spells at enemies I knew were affecting them dramatically in terms of HP would barely break their stride. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself, but more visual feedback beyond damage numbers would have been nice.
Arcanity Inc have created an engaging story and compelling world with Tanzia. The visuals are simple but charming and you can easily immerse yourself if you let it draw you in. The portability of the Switch version is definitely a major plus. It allows for completing quests in short bursts and it's quite easy to pick the game up from where you last left it.
Tanzia is definitely worth adding to your collection and Arcanity Inc have done well on their first independent go. I personally can't wait to see where they will head from there.