This new open world game has an even better treasure map quest than Red Dead Redemption

Kid sailing raft near island
(Image credit: Awaceb)

Put a hand-drawn treasure map in my hands and shove me into a big, beautiful open world, and I'll never be happier. Was I in the middle of an important quest? Am I trying to spark a revolution and overthrow a dictator? Do I need to rescue a family member from a vicious warlord? 

Sorry, fam. All that can wait. I've got some treasure to find.

The last couple of truly great treasure map sidequests I can remember were in Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2, where I set off eagerly into the Wild West to squint at crudely drawn landmarks and squiggly arrows on faded parchment, all other concerns forgotten. The feds have my wife and kid? Who cares, I think I recognize this cactus! Dutch has a plan? Me too: I'm gonna ride around the plains scrutinizing boulders for the next two hours.

So I was delighted to discover an even better and longer treasure map sidequest in open world adventure Tchia. There are more treasure maps to follow than in RDR 1 and 2 combined (technically only one more, but that's still more), and the lush tropical islands of Tchia are a beautiful place to search. It doesn't hurt that Tchia is a great game even without the maps. I didn't even start the treasure map search in earnest until I was done with the main storyline and it took me hours to hunt down every last chest. What a great, post-game bonus it is.

The setup is similar to treasure map quests in other games: you receive an old map and a rusty key from someone, and then see if you can find something that looks like the drawing in the real world. Landmarks, mountains, rivers, boulders, bridges, islands, trees, and buildings are scribbled on parchment, and it's a matter of either recognizing something you've seen before on your travels or heading out specifically to search for it. Once you have, orient yourself with the drawing to share the same perspective in the world, then follow arrows or other clues to find the hidden chest. Along with the treasure, you get the next map in the series.

(Image credit: Awaceb)

But Tchia adds so much more to the search besides just figuring out where the treasure is. In Tchia you can soul-jump into animals and control them, so if you want a birds-eye view of the landscape you can literally become a bird, flap your wings, and take to the air. Want to dive deep in the ocean looking for a sunken chest without having to worry about running out of air? Just soul-jump into a fish or a turtle and take your time searching. An entrance to a cave might be too small to squeeze through, but there's a rock lying on the ground nearby. Just zap your soul into it and roll through the tiny entrance, and then pop back out of the rock as yourself and open the chest. It's a delightful and creative way to add some environmental puzzle-solving to the treasure hunt.

Soul-jumping isn't just useful during the quest, sometimes it's required. Certain maps have a symbol stamped on them, letting you know what you'll need during your search, so you can gather animals or items in advance, pop them in your backpack, and then bring them out when you need to use them. If the treasure chest is buried, you can soul-jump into a dog and dig it up. If it is locked with chains, you can become a crab and snip it open with your pincers.

Um, just don't get those two things confused. I may have, at one point, been swimming deep in an underwater cave and pulled a dog out of my backpack instead of the crab I meant to. Sorry, pooch! Honest mistake.

(Image credit: Awaceb)

Each chest in Tchia contains a new cosmetic item: a new skin for your ukulele, a cool design for your glider, a mask you can wear, a new costume or hat. There's a story as well, a slowly unfolding tale written in small scraps of a diary that fills you in on the backstory of Tchia, so while you're hunting through the world you're also learning more about it. 

But honestly, it doesn't even matter what the treasure actually is. For me, it's all about the search, not the payoff. The only real reason to open a treasure chest is to get the next map in my hands, squint at the drawing, and start searching again. Tchia is out now on the Epic Games Store. And if you get stuck, we've got a handy guide to Tchia's treasure maps to help you out. 

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.