Tales of Kenzera: ZAU is a compelling side-scrolling platformer, marking the debut of Surgent Studios under the guidance of founder and BAFTA-nominated actor Abubakar Salim.
The game serves as a heartfelt ode to the relationship between a father and son, exploring themes of loss and healing.
A trailer for it was revealed at the 2023 Game Awards.
Story and setting
Tales of Kenzera: ZAU’s narrative is deeply influenced by African Bantu tales.
Players will journey through the mythical and vibrant landscapes of Africa as Zau, a young shaman warrior on a mission to save his late father’s soul from the clutches of the God of Death.
The story delves into a mystical world filled with lost ancestral spirits and formidable foes inspired by Bantu lore.
As a side-scrolling platformer with Metroidvania elements, Tales of Kenzera: ZAU incorporates environmental puzzles, traditional platforming, and combat.
The gameplay features the use of cosmic powers granted by the Sun and Moon masks, allowing players to engage in rhythmic combat, manipulate time, crystallize enemies, and launch fiery spears.
Graphics and features
Tales of Kenzera: ZAU unfolds in mystical 2.5D realms, showcasing a beautiful yet treacherous world inspired by Bantu mythology.
‘The environments are meticulously designed, featuring unique and vibrant settings such as the Ikakaramban Highlands, Kivulian Forests, and Itshokan Deadlands.
The animation is hand-crafted, adding depth to the gameplay experience.
Tales of Kenzera: ZAU is a personal project for Abubakar Salim, reflecting his journey with grief following the loss of his father.
Salim, known for his voice work in Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Raised by Wolves, established Surgent Studios to bring this deeply personal story to the gaming world.
Release and availability
Set for a release on April 23, 2024, the game will be available on multiple platforms, including PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Pre-orders for Tales of Kenzera: ZAU are already open, with incentives such as two shaman points for unlocking skills in-game, Kalunga’s Blessing visual effect variant, and a digital companion comic, “Soulshifters,” which delves deeper into the lore of Kenzera.