Kena Bridge of Spirits is a new game that has been released on the iOS App Store. This game is an RPG where players can create their own character and explore different worlds with other players. Players can also battle against other players in PvP arenas, which makes it a popular choice among gamers.

Kena Bridge of Spirits is the closest a game has yet gotten to recreating the atmosphere of a large Pixar-style animated film. Ember Lab has clearly put its animation expertise to good use, but Kena Bridge of Spirits is also a great first game development effort from the company.

Kena is a charming game that places a strong focus on exploration, and as a result, the environment seems alive. 

Finding the Way in Kena Bridge of Spirits

Kena, a Spirit Guide, comes in a distant hamlet in quest of the area’s famous Mountain Shrine. However, something is terribly wrong in the hamlet; it is infected with a plant-like corruption, and the residents, with the exception of two young children, are nowhere to be seen. Kena’s job as a Spirit Guide is to provide serenity to the villagers’ remaining spirits and assist them in crossing over to the other side. 

From Breath of the Wild to Horizon Zero Dawn, Kena Bridge of Spirits draws influence from a number of different games. Kena hunts down three “relics” linked to the memories of each ghost she’s attempting to rescue as you explore the town and its environs. Rot, a cute tiny critter, joins Kena and serves as the game’s major collectable as well as the key method of rising up and becoming stronger. 

The Rot are without a doubt one of my favorite parts of the game, since the little rascals follow you around and appear often. They perch on shelves, dance on rocks, wander about Kena, and do a variety of other things. Kena’s connection with the rot is symbiotic, and the game does an excellent job of graphically conveying that. 

The Rot, of course, play a direct role in the game’s combat system, which is designed to be simple yet dynamic. Kena possesses light and heavy strikes, and by holding the block button, you may summon a Smash Bros.-style bubble shield around her. That’s the fundamentals, but Kena does an excellent job of adding additional concepts and skills throughout the game.

You’ll get access to a spirit bow, armor-piercing explosives, a dash move, and more. There’s a good range of opponent kinds, but Kena’s climactic boss fights are where the game truly shines. 

Each of the game’s final opponents has a huge difficulty increase, and several of the late-game monsters required a dozen retries before I eventually beat them. The bulk of the boss fights are well-designed mechanically, but there are a few that fall short, such as the disappointing and infuriating final boss. 

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While there is lots of fighting in Kena, the game’s core focus is on exploration and puzzle-solving, which the Rot and Kena’s powers both contribute to. When not shooting opponents, the bow may trigger crystals or serve as a grappling hook in some situations, and explosives can freeze rocks in place to build platforms. 

Meanwhile, the Rot can pick up and move things, and some flowers transform the Rot into a controlled monster, much like Pikmin. I haven’t played a game that feels so gratifying in its exploration since Breath of the Wild, whether it’s discovering a new Rot buddy, a Flower Shrine, Soul Mail, or just soaking in a beautiful vista.

There’s a real breadcrumb trail of rewards, and although the game’s mechanics pulled me in at first, the narrative ultimately did the same. 

Kena’s story tackles several difficult emotional topics, such as coping with death and grief while attempting to move on. The game deftly handles its topics while also introducing a varied array of people.

Part of what I liked about Kena’s tale was that it didn’t waste time with exposition and instead got straight to the heart of the issue and how it was addressed. The excellent animation, both in-game and in pre-rendered cutscenes, only adds to the game’s already emotionally charged characters. 

Kena is the best word that comes to me to describe her. Its design is a little antiquated, but in a nice manner, and I couldn’t help but grin for the most of my time with it. Despite a few difficult puzzles and unpleasant boss fights, the game never outstays its welcome, and it’s a near-perfect experience. It may not accomplish anything groundbreaking or surprising, but it is a relaxing experience that will seem instantly familiar. 

If Kena Bridge of Spirits is Ember Lab’s first foray, I can’t wait to see what their next project will include. 

The Bottom Line: Kena Bridge of Spirits

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Pros

  • Both in-game and in cutscenes, the animation is stunning.
  • A combat system that is constantly expanding and improving
  • Exploration that is both rewarding and natural
  • A heartfelt tale that gently handles difficult topics.

Cons

  • There are a few boss fights that aren’t up to par with the rest of the game.
  • Some obtuse puzzle designs that may be difficult to solve

Even though it doesn’t accomplish anything really new, Kena Bridge of Spirits is a wonderful journey. Its components work nicely together, and it looks stunning on PS5.

It’s a throwback to the days of PS2 platformers in every aspect, and despite a few minor flaws, it’s one of the year’s finest games.

[Note: The copy of Kena Bridge of Spirits used for this review was supplied by Ember Lab.]

Kena Bridge of Spirits is a game that was released on September 27th, 2016. The game has an average score of 70/100 on Metacritic. Reference: kena bridge of spirits metacritic.

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