Kena: Bridge of Spirits, a game from Ember Lab, has a lovely name. Encountering other spirits known as the Rot as Kena sets out to rid an impoverished mountain community of corruption, the game harnesses its developer’s animation expertise to create an experience that’s as immersive as contemporary 3D animated films. Although the gameplay doesn’t quite live up to the aesthetics’ promise, the whole experience is still engaging and valuable.
The spiritual guide
She is a spirit guide who helps individuals who are stuck between the physical and spiritual realms because of the trauma involved with their departure. When she sets out to find the holy mountain shrine, she discovers that its environs are riddled with corruption, which forces creatures to rise out of the ground. In the process of gathering up the little, black, and charming critters known as the Rot, she stumbles into an abandoned settlement. To open the shrine and erase the corruption, she must understand what happened to the community and aid everyone she comes across while on her journey.
In terms of graphics, Kena is unquestionably a standout. Lush, intricate character designs, and a Balinese-inspired landscape make this game a pleasure to look at, as well. The Rot’s interactions with one other, Kena, and the surroundings that bring the adorable spirits to life are fantastic. Kena dissolves the corruption to reveal beautiful landscapes, and the manner it’s applied for works well, highlighting deterioration but also hinting at the beauty that will emerge. If you’re playing on an older system or console, you may have a slight issue with the game. This game is clearly built to make use of the next generation of consoles and high-spec PCs since the PS4’s graphical limit can be clearly seen, but there are no concerns with performance or frame rate.
Gamelan-inspired instrumental music is used in the game’s soundscape to convey its visual influences. In addition to adding atmosphere and weight to the game’s emotional situations, the game’s music periodically cuts out and returns when the player enters corrupted sections, adding a wonderful touch. Cultural themes from Balinese influences should be more prominent in this game since there is virtually nothing to differentiate it from other games in its genre. Even though the cast is modest, each individual contributes significantly to the tale. In spite of this, Kena is a lovable heroine, although it would have been good if more time had been spent on her personal narrative. In spite of this, the villagers’ individual tales are heartfelt, and the game’s voice actors do a fine job of portraying them, with gratifying endings for each chapter and the whole journey.
The fighting in Kena: Bridge of Spirits is the most problematic area of the game. Kena has access to a dodge, spirit shield, and basic and powerful melee strikes, as well as a bow and explosives that may be obtained later in the game. It’s fairly typical stuff. The Rot, on the other hand, is used for healing and distracting adversaries in battle. Kena’s minimal health points and limited healing options make fighting on both the regular and higher settings very taxing. Additionally, evading strikes is tough due to a strange camera and controls that make it difficult to respond to enemy assaults, and bosses have a high amount of health. Players will be able to breeze through the combat sequences thanks to the easy option, which greatly reduces opponent aggressiveness. Kena’s arsenal is bolstered by the game’s range of foes that can only be dealt with in certain ways, ensuring that players get acquainted with all of Kena’s abilities.
In the remainder of the game, you’ll find a mix of exploration and platforming puzzles that are both enjoyable and challenging, even if you’ve seen them all before in 3D adventure games. The controls are considerably more precise here, but there were still some mistakes made while pressing the incorrect buttons. On the plus side, if a player falls, the game simply returns them to their previous safe position. Paths to advancement might be overlooked at first sight, but paying attention to your surroundings can help you figure out where you need to go and what you need to do next so that you can keep moving forward. Even if the game has a lot of puzzles, the beautiful sights and exploration are enough to keep players captivated.
In terms of character development and personalization, there is very little. After unlocking most of her powers, Kena has a modest number of upgrades that give her more fighting choices but aren’t necessary for the story to progress, and she can boost her health by discovering meditation locations. Items that may be found include extra Rot, hats that can be purchased and given to the Rot, or resources to acquire such hats. Although it’s all for the purpose of being a completionist, it’s still a lot of fun to explore the location and take in the beautiful scenery.
For Ember Lab’s first big game release, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, it’s safe to say things went well. Despite the game’s shortcomings, it gives a solid foundation from which to develop further improvements. 3D adventure aficionados will be acquainted with the main gameplay, but the aesthetics and charm make it seem like a novel experience in the genre. Kena and the Rot would greatly benefit from further adventures.