Assassin’s Creed Origins voice actor says heading up his own studio has been ‘terrifying’ but the Steam Next Fest demo for its first game is pretty great

The Steam Next Fest is now underway and that means we’ve got an awful lot of game demos to plow through in a very short amount of time. One early standout I’ve run is a metroidvania called Tales of Kenzara: Zau, a story about a shaman in the land of Kenzara attempting to reclaim his father’s spirit. Tales of Kenzara: Zau was first revealed at the 2023 Game Awards: it’s the debut project from a new studio headed up by Assassin’s Creed Origins voice actor Abubakar Salim.

Gameplay in Tales of Kenzara: Zau is familiar: Running, jumping, and sliding across a multilevel 2.5D landscape, with pauses to do battle with various sorts of fantastical creatures and, of course, the occasional boss fight. It’s fast, smooth, and accessible even for non-metroidheads: Zau wields an arsenal of upgradeable ranged and melee combat powers but a “relaxed” gameplay mode keeps fights from becoming too overwhelming, and while it recommends a gamepad I found the mouse and keyboard controls perfectly fine, aside from some aiming wonkiness with ranged attacks.

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By asm3a