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A New Metroidvania Was Announced During The Game Awards: Tales of Kenzera: ZAU

The Game Awards may have announced many upcoming games last Thursday, December 7, 2023, but there was one game in particular that caught my interest and of course, it’s a Metroidvania. I will never get tired of this genre and Tales of Kenzera: ZAU, currently being developed by Surgent Studios and will be published by EA Originals looks breathtaking. Before even seeing the trailer, what touched my heart was how Abubakar Salim, who founded Surgent Studios, talked about his father and how much he meant to him. He then took everything he felt and processed his grief through this game. Art, in this case this video game, is always expressed with more passion when it comes from the heart and after watching the trailer, hopefully this game will touch your heart as it did mine.


Game Description

The debut title from Surgent Studios led by BAFTA-nominated actor Abubakar Salim, Tales of Kenzera™: ZAU is a heartfelt single-player action-adventure platformer about the love between a father and son and the transformative power of loss. In this heartfelt metroidvania-style adventure, you play as Zau – a grieving hero determined to bring his father back from the dead. With Kalunga, the God of Death as your guide, you’ll journey through mystical 2.5D realms full of color and depth to harness the cosmic powers of the warrior shaman. Tales of Kenzera: ZAU invites you to embark on Zau’s journey of spiritual healing, where the hardest moments unmask who you can truly become.



As a grieving boy reads a Bantu tale written by his late father, you enter the beautiful and treacherous lands of Kenzera as Zau – a young Nganga who bargains with the God of Death to bring his Baba back from death. Once bursting with life, Kenzera is now rife with lost ancestral spirits. As Zau advances toward his goal, three mighty beings lie in wait, fearsome in their strength yet somehow strangely familiar. It will be up to you to embrace the dance of the shaman.


Key Features

  • Become the warrior shaman – Embark on a poignant single-player story shaped by Abubakar Salim’s own experience with grief, discovering how to best navigate a new world following the devastating loss of your father. As Zau, you must face your own emotions to become a worthy Nganga: a spiritual healer. Own your journey alongside mythical characters and formidable foes inspired by Bantu lore, each on their own unique path and personal story.
  • The Dance of the Sun and Moon Masks – Wield cosmic powers from the Sun and the Moon to defeat restless spirits in rhythmic combat, from ordinary warriors to the mighty Impundulu or GaGorib. You’ll prove your skill as you manipulate time and crystallize enemies using the power of the Moon mask or launch fiery spears with the Sun Mask, all in meticulously hand-crafted animations. Master leap, glide, pulse and more as you expand the masks’ cosmic power along your journey in this metroidvania-style adventure. As you come upon ability statues, a fantastical myth from Kenzeran culture accompanies each newly unlocked mask ability.
  • Set foot in a mystical realm – Discover a universe inspired by Bantu tales, rich with untold lore of chaos and order, memories of ancient shamans, sacred spirits and fascinating creatures. Journey through mystical 2.5D realms set to multi-award-winning composer Nainita Desai’s enchanting original score. Zau’s quest will take you across several unique environments like Ikakaramban Highlands, Kivulian Forests and Itshokan Deadlands, each full of color, as well as two hubs. Tales of Kenzera: ZAU is a tribute to those we have loved and lost, with an immersive setting, rich art and a heartfelt journey that shows love is never lost and that facing your pain takes its own type of strength.

After watching the trailer, I have to admit that I definitely saw a lot of inspiration taken from games like Ori and The Will of The Wisps as well as Ori and The Blind Forest. These games really work on giving us a message on how to process grief and the Tales of Kenzera: ZAU’s main message is to show those who experience the game that you can overcome a death of a loved one and feel their presence with them always. The game represents vibrant colors which I thought made the atmosphere beautiful as well as a lot of ties to the Bantu people, an African ethnic group, where the music and the environment represented its love for their culture. I definitely saw some inspiration to Marvel’s Black Panther but that might be just wishful thinking on my part. Regardless, this Metroidvania Platformer looks extremely promising, from the attacks to the various abilities, the enemies and oversized bosses, which definitely makes me drawn to the wanting to play and explore the game for myself.

The game is releasing on April 23, 2024 on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC (Steam, Epic Games Store, EA app), and the Nintendo Switch. It will also be available in the following languages: Voice: English, Swahili Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian, Mexican Spanish, Japanese, and Swahili. You can follow their website for more information and if you are interested in picking up the game, there’s a special 10% pre-purchase discount for $17.99 USD currently being offered.



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