Tetra: Elemental Awakening was the first game to catch our eye after a brief perusal of the Yorkshire Games Festival’s floor although, that said, we’d arrived reasonably early and they were still setting up. When we got back to them later in the day, it was easy to see why it had caught our gaze: up until recently, the eye-catching, single-player roleplaying game had been created by a team comprised solely of artists, or so they explained as we gave it a go.
Tetra’s name can be explained hand-in-hand with its premise. The world it encompasses and the skills its characters possess all boil down to the use of elements on the periodic table. As premises go, it’s an interesting one — although quite how this elemental system ties into the story isn’t clear yet, as we played a very early build which is already outdated.
We loaded into the game as a tall, blue character standing on a jetty by a village. From the brief wander around as we followed the demo’s trail, it became increasingly clear that the world Tetra inhabits is already beautiful to look at. It was tempting to run off into every corner to peer at the scenery, but we were conscious of either breaking the early demo build or giving the public less time to play it for themselves.
Combat makes itself known in a quick-bar format which will be familiar with players of Dragon Age or most MMOs and a range of abilities were made available for the purpose of the demo. Normally, characters would specialise in one group of elements, but the abilities we could use were varied. We couldn’t quite tell what each did, but favourites included a fireball and an ice storm (which we used sparingly, as it was a high-level ability which killed most enemies in one blast).
An NPC asked us to help their village, so we blundered in and were set upon by small, goblin-like creatures. After dealing with them (or running away, at least, since they were a constant horde), we were directed to a cave, where we jumped through a portal to the beginning of a dungeon instance.
Get in, grab the key, get out again. That’s pretty much what our objectives boiled down to. This was simple enough, with the path bringing us past the dungeon boss. The fact that it didn’t want to attack us was unfortunate, but it did lend us the opportunity to take a closer look, finding out that it was a remarkably good-looking boss. We threw a few more fireballs at it in a thinly-veiled excuse to gawk some more before moving on to the end of the demo.
All-in-all, despite some technical issues — which are no doubt resolved in the current build — we were really impressed by Tetra and its promise of a colourful, elemental world. With a programmer now in the team along with the artists, Tetra is well placed to become a great experience. In the current build, you can already take four party members with you on your journey, rather than the lonely solo character we had control of. Exploring Tetra later down the line, when the boss has a hope of responding to incoming fireballs, is definitely something we look forward to.
You can keep up to date with Tetra’s development on its website.