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Tales of Kenzera: Zau Looks to Gamify One of Life’s Hardest Subjects

A Metroidvania About Processing Grief? Sign Me Up.

Image: EA
Image: EA

If you’ve ever lost anyone close to you forever, you will know that in the most profound moments of grief, you’d give anything to bring them back. In Tales of Kenzera: ZAU, you play as Zau, a young shaman who bargains with the God of Death to get his Baba back from the void.

This story is shaped by actor Abubakar Salin’s own experience with grief and processing the loss of his father. His introduction to The Game Awards trailer got me a little emotional. Zau will learn to wield powers from the Sun and the Moon to fight lost spirits and become a Nganda, a spiritual healer. The gameplay shows off lightning back movement and skills in a sidescrolling Metroidvania-style adventure. EA describes the game as "a heartfelt single-player action-adventure platformer about the love between a father and son and the transformative power of loss."

This one could be an absolute sleeper hit indie that is only being published by EA. However, our info seems to offer some odd preorder bonuses that hint at possible microtransactions.

Pre-order Offer*:

Embark on your journey with special perks if you pre-order today!

- Start with a 10% discount

- Wrap yourself in Kalunga’s Blessing visual effect variant

- Kickstart your adventure with 2 shaman points to unlock up to 2 skills in-game

- Discover more of our world with the “Soulshifters” digital companion comic

Let’s hope this is just some nifty pre-order bonuses and not a sign of things to come because I’m all about this game concept! The art seems fantastic, and the nature of the story is something I’d love to see tackled in this way. Because Zau is doing something we can only dream about, it’ll be interesting to see how a love letter to those we’ve lost and how we learn to come to terms with it all is fleshed out in a beautiful-looking game.

Tales of Kenzera: ZAU rages against the dying of the light on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Nintendo Switch on April 23, 2024.

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