Thea: The Awakening is a Steam early access strategy game from indie developer MuHa Games. It draws a lot of inspiration from older titles such as Civilization and Warcraft, but takes its own spin on the genre.
Thea: The Awakening places you in the role of a god, whose divine wish is to save the land of Thea. After 1000 years of darkness, the land is in disarray, with monsters running rampant and survivors in hiding. Your responsibility is to rebuild society, and save humanity from a desolate fate.
You meet with Thedor the Gargoyle, who grants you with your mission of divine intervention. Like that, the game begins. It's a good premise to begin with, and is expanded further along with various side quests and encounters.
Thea breaks its gameplay into two sections; micromanagement and battle. The micromanagement aspect of the game is akin to older strategy titles like Civilization. Your citizens move in a pack, protecting each other and ensuring safety in numbers. It's a logical idea, and shows the development team's creativity. Moving takes place on a hexagonal grid, and id seamless.
Whilst moving on the grid, random (or planned) encounters can occur. Sometimes it's against monsters, or even humans. Regardless, the player is thrust into a trading card game battle.
It's a pretty interesting system; you play cards according to the number of points allocated by the system. Certain cards require certain points, whereas others may require the first pile of cards to be played (see above, two piles of cards). Each card comes with an attack and defense stats, and perhaps various modifiers. The card battle is very quick, and doesn't take too much time.
Thea: The Awakening relies on its setting to guide its visual style. A medieval, somber world gives way to an art style that fits well. Using various tattered textures on dark greens, yellows, and browns, it suits the atmosphere. The text can be a bit challenging to read at times, but the colours don't strain the eyes at all.
The game also uses a lot of beautifully drawn art to shape its world. Watercolored characters leap into focus, giving the art style a bit more brightness. The contrast is very interesting to see.
The isometric view also lends well to the visuals, not demanding intensive graphics, but enough to look good.
Thea: The Awakening is a very strong Early Access title. It has a good amount of content, and keeps the story fairly simple. However, it does have some faults.
Concering gameplay, the tutorials can be a bit confusing at first. The system does a fair job of explaining the process of exploring menus, but it can be confusing to find a button that's quite small across the screen. Highlighting objectives/buttons/navigation while in tutorial mode would be a helpful addition to the game.
Other minor graphical issues hold the game back. The scroll speed can be sluggish at times. However, this is more of an optimization issue.
Overall, it's a good game, but it needs some tweaks.
Thea has a good start, but it needs some tweaks to make it great.
Visuals were also provided via press kit.