Imagine for a moment, a world of space-faring civilizations. A whole galaxy settled by a great empire in the stars. Now take that prodigious expanse of people, and collapse it. This is where we will find ourselves in the world of Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire. As a ‘First Look’, this is not intended as a review, but a presenting of a game that has caught our interest.
Tahira is a tactical turn-based RPG, according to Australian-based developer Whale Hammer Games. The studio is composed of only three members: Peter Castle, Peter Simpson, and Tom Cox, with sound design by Brendon Holyland and composing by Max LL. The game was launched on Kickstarter on February 18th of 2015 seeking a goal of $68,000 AUD, which it made on March 20th. Its first tentative release date of January 2016 has since been pushed back, and is now greenlit on Steam for August 31st, 2016.
Tahira, as stated, will be a tactical turn-based RPG, set on the world Ma’abtik, and will follow princess Tahira, the last of the royal line, as she must lead her desperate peoples against the armies conquering the lands. The story takes place over only a single night, during which Tahira will meet and gather new allies in her quest. The levels will be explorable, and you will be able to speak to your people in order to learn both elements of the story and increase your own skills. These skills will aid you in battles of over 20 controllable characters. Your army is small however, so fight smart! Terrain can be used for cover and ambushes, and cliffs and rooftops are dangerous places to stand in a fight. All combat in the game is tied to the story; as the site says, ‘there are no filler fights.’ The animation makes use of the rotoscoping techniques, tracing over what you just drew with slight variations, which makes for smoother character movements. An example can be found here. Tahira also seems to eventually gain some sort of powers, as she is referred to as a ‘conduit’ in the above video, which also displays her channeling some sort of light into the sky. What these powers are remain to be seen.
Tahira draws much of itself from the experiences of developer Peter Castle, who has traveled through Nepal, India, Jordan, Syria, Israel, and Turkey. Both the amazing music and elements of the story make this very apparent. With the terrible acts of war and
terror rampant through the Middle East, many find themselves without homes and loved ones. Tahira seems to be taking part of that, making itself as much a story about refugees as it is about lost princesses and tactical battles. I can not wait for this game to be released, and I urge everyone else to keep a close eye on it.