Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an action-adventure indie game developed and published by Ember Lab and serves as their debut into the gaming industry. If this is any indication as to how this studio will prosper, they likely have a bright future ahead of them.
The game is undoubtedly one of the best games of the year; it was a breath of fresh air in an over-saturated market full of games that feel all too much the same. There’s a multitude of reasons why we desperately need more of this type of game.
More Kena, Please
For starters, the art style alone is enough to draw you in. The gorgeous aesthetics and visuals are nothing short of impressive, especially for being the studio’s first game. Throw in an immersive atmosphere and level design and you have a top-tier game on your hands.
As a character, Kena is adorable and charming despite not knowing her entire backstory, hence why we need more of her. We get bits and pieces of her background throughout the story but it’s not quite enough to learn everything about her.
The Rot, who are even more adorable, aid Kena in her journey in various ways; from helping with puzzles to engaging in combat, they’re very versatile little creatures. Without their help, Kena wouldn’t be as powerful of a spirit guide as she is. Plus, you can put little party hats on them, and who wouldn’t want more of that?
Boss battles are incredibly diverse; each felt different and none of them felt repetitive or bland. The diversity added an element of surprise to the game; you had to adjust your strategy and play style each time you approached a new enemy. This could be said about the standard enemies as well as this aspect wasn’t just limited to boss battles.
There’s so much potential for a sequel; there are many directions the developers could take it story-wise and ways they could improve other elements to make for a much grander experience. This isn’t to say the game is lacking in some areas; the game is actually quite exceptional.
The biggest gripe someone could have with the game is the lack of character depth with Kena. We don’t see her full story; there’s so much unexplored terrain here that’s just waiting to be discovered by the player. Regardless, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is worth playing at least once.
One could argue that the combat itself is a tad bit simplistic, but a sequel could rectify that aspect for many fans. Adding more actions and abilities to the gameplay would perhaps make things more interesting. Couple more of these assets to the pre-existing variety of enemy types and you can easily spice things up.
It’s safe to say that Kena: Bridge of Spirits exceeded expectations. The game itself is beautiful and diverse. The characters are charming and unique. What more could you ask for? That’s easy; more Kena: Bridge of Spirits. We desperately need more of this game.