‘Kena: Bridge of Spirits’ (PS5) Review: Best Adventure Game Of The Year
I’ll be completely honest, I hadn ‘t even heard of Kena: Bridge of Spirits just two months ago. Therefore, the game came as a total surprise and in perfect timing with the approaching autumn darkness. The game looks like a Nintendo game on steroids, with its magnificent environments in stunning 4k resolution and 60 frames per second. But does it come with the same magic as a Nintendo game as well? Let’s find out.
As the title suggests, Kena is the main character of the game. A young girl who helps the dead solve unfinished things that prevent them from stepping into the life that awaits them after death – thus a bridge for the spirits.
Equipped with your magic staff, it is your mission help kind spirits in a world where corruption has begun to take over and where evil creatures are trying put a ˈspoke in your wheel. The story is quite corny, but for a game aimed at both children and adults, the narrative works. Through the course of the adventure, Kena gets help from cute little friends, called Rot, that you will find in different places.
Controls and gameplay
Kena’s movements are swift, and the staff’s melee strikes land with a satisfying wallop. She can evasive roll, block, and perform parry’s to stun her enemies. These battle sequences hum with intensity, are loads of fun, and expand with complexity when Kena learns to use the staff in new ways.
Some of the staff’s augmentations unlock through purchase, but the most significant additions are earned by making progress in the story. Along the way, Kena learns how to turn her staff into a bow and channel its powerful energy to create bombs. Tagging an enemy with a carefully placed bomb is good fun, but the bow is the true star of combat. It feels incredible and really takes use of the Dual Sense’s haptics. It almost feels like drawing a real bow, when everything from the creaking sound of the bow to the resistance is there.
Players can also use their Rot to move objects and dash through special gates to teleport across the world. The combination of these elements, along with the ability to double-jump and climb along rocks, gives you a slew of fresh puzzles that will challenge you while you progress through the game. The adorable little Rot companions also play a significant role in combat. As they can heal Kena, stun enemies, and are game-changers against bosses.
The world of Kena is overwhelmed with beauty. Little things like the markings etched along stones, the dozens of little offerings placed at shrines, and the satisfying crispness of every falling leaf and grass blade makes the world feel lifelike. Everything is enjoyed in 4K and 60 fps. I don’t actually know why there is even an option in the options menu to lock the frames to 30fps. The game has flown on perfectly in 60 fps during my game sessions.
Given that this is Ember Lab’s first title, they have delivered a game that feels like a promising start to a long game development career and I’m already looking forward to seeing what they come up with next. Considering that the price tag is a little kinder to your wallet than many other games for today’s consoles, you also get an awful lot of content for the money with an adventure that lasts around ten hours (depending on your playing style). With its incredible graphics, fantastic design and outstanding explorer joy, you really should not miss this beautiful fairy tale.
And yes, the Nintendo magic is present 😉.
Funny curiosity: Ember Lab enchanted an entire generation of gamers with their “Real life Majoras Mask” trailer a couple of years ago. That was before we knew they were going to enter the gaming world themselves.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is available on PC, PS4 and PS5. I reviewed the game on Playstation 5 with a code provided by the publisher.