ReviewsReview: Teacup

Review: Teacup

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As I’m British, I have a slight obsession with hot drinks. I can consume one of these beverages any time of day or night, and they always quench my thirst. It’s for this reason I understood the protagonist’s plight in my latest review, Teacup. This cute and wholesome game is bizarre, colourful and tea obsessed.

Developed by Smarto Club and published by Whitethorn Digital, this is a narrative adventure title. This relaxing game demands you explore a land filled with mystery, helpful individuals, and anthropomorphic creatures. It’s a short tale that tugs at the heartstrings and makes you feel warm inside. 

Teacup doesn’t really make sense. 

I loved the calm and captivating concept surrounding Teacup’s plot. However, it rarely made any sense. Its surreal story requires that you go with the flow and limited guidance has you scrambling for answers.

You control a tea-loving frog called Teacup. She lives in a quaint house and enjoys her own company. Yet, occasionally, she’ll throw a tea-related extravaganza. With the next party only days away, our heroine checks her herb supply. Shock, horror, she is all out of tea! Fortunately, however, she has a handy herb encyclopaedia and Teacup begins her adventure to refill her cupboards. Surely a trip to the local convenience store would have been easier?

Your encyclopaedia keeps you on track.

Helping friends and mini-games. 

The wholesome element of Teacup is felt throughout. She is a popular figure, though she is clearly aloof. Her adventure demands she explore forests, plazas, meadows, and more, as she hunts for those elusive herbs. En route, she must speak to the locals, listen to their stories, and take notes of the clues that’ll help her.

This was wonderful to experience, though the gameplay was a little repetitive. Subsequently, the short playtime was just right, as this prevented boredom from setting in. Many of the tasks involved meeting an individual to help them with a problem. Whether it was serving coffee, fixing cogs, fishing food from a lake, or hitting carpets, it’ll keep you busy.

Though you are treated to an array of mini-games that match the theme and setting, they will fail to test you. You are asked to complete an array of tasks, including memory games to shooting events and sadly, they are too easy. I’d have liked a difficulty option to mix things up and to challenge myself further. 

Enjoy a relaxing day flying kites.

This will make you feel good.

Teacup’s ability to make you smile is fantastic and its slow-paced yet touching story is wonderful to see. Its range of characters and strange and mysterious locations capture your attention immediately. It’s rare that such a simple concept maintains my focus, yet I fell for its calming charms.

The developers clearly wanted exploration to be the key concept, yet their approach was a little off. With no guidance or journal to turn to, you must remember every bit of information. It was strange that a relaxing title would be so demanding. 

Teacup captures the essence of a Spring day. 

No matter your location, Spring is a beautiful and vibrant season. Teacup has captured the essence of a Spring day within its aesthetics. Its pastel colour palette, varied locations, and hand-drawn characters are wonderful to look at. I loved the 2D Paper Mario style models and the combination of beautiful landscapes and dream-like worlds. 

The audio enhances the calm and relaxing atmosphere with its soft and dreamy tunes. The music transports you to each location, and you’ll allow the chilled music to wash over you. A lack of spoken dialogue and sound effects were the right choice, and I adored the simplicity and its no-fuss approach. 

One of the many mini-games.

Clumsy controls and no reason to return. 

Teacup’s controls were serviceable, mostly. However, during mini-games, they were clumsy and lacked accuracy. This oversight from Smarto Club undermines the enjoyment found in each task and added unnecessary frustration. Fortunately, though, during the exploration aspects, they worked well and were easy to understand.

This short adventure is great during the first playthough which is lucky as there are few reasons to return. There are no additional modes to explore or alternative stories to experience. This was a shame, as I would have liked to see another character’s point of view or to explore the world in more detail. The longevity is reduced further still thanks to the small achievement list that offers little challenge. Subsequently, though, this does make it a completionist’s dream as it’s finished in a little over two hours.

Teacup may not be everyone’s cup of tea!

I enjoyed Teacup because of its warm aesthetics and touching story. However, I can see why this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I liked its simplicity, short story, and interesting characters, so I recommend you to buy it here! You can’t have a tea party without tea! Grab your encyclopaedia, go on an adventure, and collect the herbs.

SUMMARY

Teacup is a touching narrative adventure title. You must focus on exploring the surrounding locations to help the locals and find your missing herbs. With mini-games to complete and riddles to solve, you must leave no stone unturned.

+ A warm atmosphere and lovely pastel colour palette.
+ Calm and wholesome audio.
+ Touching story.
+ The play length is just right.
+ Interesting characters and locations.
- The controls are clumsy.
- The mini-games won't test you.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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