Main About Us Reviews Support Us
Main About Us Reviews

Tales of Kenzera Zau Review

Nintendo Switch by Surgent Studios 0 text

Tales of Kenzera Zau Thumbnail

A mask-wearing, platform-leaping, shamanic odyssey

Tales of Kenzera: Zau emerges from the creative minds at Surgent Studios, a new venture by Abubakar Salim. The game is a vibrant addition to the metroidvania genre, infused with a rich narrative inspired by African folklore. As a debut title under the EA Originals banner, it carries the expectations of both novelty and quality, promising an adventure through the mythical landscapes of Bantu mythology. The game tells the story of Zau, a young shaman who embarks on a spiritual journey to reconnect with his deceased father, involving negotiations with Kalunga, the God of Death, in a world steeped in tradition and supernatural elements.

Gameplay 7

Gameplay in Tales of Kenzera: Zau is a blend of exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat, all wrapped in the metroidvania style of backtracking with new abilities to access previously unreachable areas. Players utilize two mystical masks—the Sun and Moon masks—which confer different abilities and fundamentally alter how Zau interacts with the world and enemies. This mechanic not only enriches the combat but also the puzzle aspects, requiring players to think critically about when and where to use each mask. While the core mechanics are solid, they are occasionally marred by control issues, particularly with the dodge and combo systems that seem a tad unresponsive at times. These gameplay elements underscore a significant learning curve and demand precision, which can be frustrating but also rewarding once mastered.

Graphics 8

The graphical presentation of Tales of Kenzera: Zau is striking. The art style is a heartfelt tribute to various Bantu cultures, bringing to life a world that pulses with color and vibrancy. Character designs and environments are meticulously crafted, showcasing detailed animations that breathe life into the folklore-inspired narrative. The aesthetic is not just beautiful but also functional, with clear visual cues that help players navigate the game world and interact with puzzles and enemies effectively. This visual splendor enhances player immersion, making each biome not just a challenge to conquer but also a marvel to behold.

Tales of Kenzera Zau image 2

Storyline 8

The narrative is where Tales of Kenzera: Zau truly shines. It’s a story of loss, legacy, and the quest for redemption as Zau deals with the grief of losing his father. The game uses its platform to explore deep themes of life, death, and the rituals that cultures use to cope with the inevitable. The integration of Bantu mythology is not just surface-level; the game delves into the myths with respect and curiosity, making it a significant part of the gameplay and storytelling. This narrative depth is rare in games, particularly in how it treats its cultural material not as mere decoration but as central to the character’s journey and the player’s experience.

Multiplayer N/A

Tales of Kenzera: Zau does not include multiplayer functionality, focusing instead on a single-player experience that is both intimate and profound.

Tales of Kenzera Zau image 3

Issues and Community Feedback

Some players have expressed concerns about the game's responsiveness, particularly in combat scenarios where precision is crucial. Additionally, the game’s linear path has been a point of contention for those expecting the open exploration typically found in metroidvanias. Despite these issues, the game has been well-received for its innovative approach to storytelling and its fresh graphical style. Community feedback has been largely positive, with many players feeling deeply connected to the game’s themes and characters.

Conclusion 7.5

Tales of Kenzera: Zau is a bold first entry by Surgent Studios, presenting a unique vision that marries traditional metroidvania elements with a poignant narrative steeped in African mythology. The game demonstrates considerable ambition with its integration of cultural themes into the gameplay and story. While it faces some mechanical and design challenges, the overall experience is compelling and offers a refreshing take on a crowded genre. It stands as a testament to the potential of video games as a medium for cultural exploration and storytelling.

Pros and Cons

  • Rich narrative
  • Innovative mask mechanic
  • Stunning visuals
  • Cultural depth
  • Control issues
  • Linear progression

Player Quotes

"The story touched my heart—so beautiful and well told."

"Controls can be tricky, especially in intense fights."

"Visually stunning, every frame is like a piece of art."

Explore More

Please note that this review is based on the feedback and sentiments of players on various Reddit threads and does not represent the views of all players.