Coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC this Spring, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is set to be Ember Lab’s debut title. In 2006, the esteemed studio wowed its audience with stunning visuals and a deep, emotional story with short animation movie, Mask of Majora. Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks set to finally bring their famous animation magic straight into the video game world.
They say the first impressions are the ones that count, and the beauty of this up-and-coming, story-driven RPG is by far the first thing you notice. Somehow trademarking their work with aesthetically distinct styling, the beauty seen in the likes of The Mask of Majora is evident upon the very first sight.
Ember Studios have announced that Kena: Bridge of Spirits is going to be a widely linear game, made for all of the family (sic). I’m unsure on what exactly is meant by ‘widely linear’ but I can only guess this means that there’s little hope for an open-world adventure. Moreover, the family aspect promised rings bells of an all-too-easy experience, so older gamers may want to turn the difficulty up for the first play-through.
The story behind Kena: Bridge of Spirits is almost as beautiful as the graphics. You play Kena, a young spirit guide on a journey to a shrine in an abandoned village. Along the way, she encounters a variety of monsters. The enemies you face are metaphors for tortured spirits, twisted into hellish abominations. As a spirit guide, it is your duty to defeat them, to allow for their travel to the other side.
As shallow as the story seems to be, Ember Lab appears to be eager to drive home the point that the game is “story-driven”. I imagine there to be plenty of emotional moments with lashings of twists and turns along the way. Of course, it’s needless to say that they know how to spin a great story.
Cute Beings Help you on your Way
Throughout Kena: Bridge of Spirits you are helped on your way by what look like small black potatoes with eyes. These somewhat cute little fellas can be rescued. Eager to return the favor they then help you on the arduous journey ahead.
Rot (collective noun) add a further dash of RPG into an already RPG-rich game. They grow to become a team of micro-manageable allies that you can assign to tasks and even call upon in battle. The teams of Rot can be split-up to perform multiple consecutive tasks. I imagine this will proffer a puzzle element and open up a new layer in an already immersive adventure.
Aside from the Rot, gems can be found in abundance throughout the world of K:BoS. These can be used to upgrade your Rot and even buy accessories to customize them. Having generously scattered these gems, Ember Lab have eradicated the need for mico-transactions.
In conclusion, Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks like a phenomenal debut for the studio. By just watching the trailer, it is easy to become awestruck at the graphical art employed by the animations team. To play the game will be something else completely. Consequently, I’d be lying if I was to tell you I’m not as excited as a kid on the run-up to Christmas for this title. Regardless, I will have to be patient for a few more months.
Ember Lab have said they wanted this to be a game that could be finished over a weekend, so don’t expect the token standard fifty-to-one-hundred hours of gameplay. However, the reality is that the game could probably be finished in around twelve-to-fourteen. However, side quests and the limited exploration may add around ten hours to the total. I just hope the price reflects the brief longevity. Expect to pay no more than $30 or $40.
The family element of the game may render it a little too easy for the seasoned gamer. However, this can be easily resolved with difficulty toggles. Furthermore, K:BoS is designed for the story, as opposed to the challenge.
A visually stunning adventure with a lot to offer. The experience, albeit short, will definitely be worth diving into.