Hardly anyone expected anything from Kena: Bridge of Spirits other than a beautiful animated fairy tale about how a cute heroine, hugging some cute big-eyed animals, saves the world from another byaki. In any case, after watching the trailers, I thought that this was some kind of benchmark with a Tamagotchi. And many trailers did not see and did not expect anything at all – the project, to put it mildly, was not actively promoted, it was a dark horse. And what did we get in the end? The debut game of independent developers, which, quite possibly, will pull on Kena’s fragile shoulders the title of the best action / adventure, our Larochka Croft of the year. Although no, she does have decay – they will pull … So what is the secret of success?
Is this a Disney or Pixar game?
This is how many react when they first see Kena: Bridge of Spirits . Yes, in this case you can’t say that graphics are not the main thing. Simply because it is impossible to ignore how beautiful the game is. And on my, far from the most powerful laptop, it also looks amazing, periodically driving me (and, unfortunately, the laptop) into a stupor.
This is at medium settings on an average laptop. Imagine what’s going on on powerful PCs!
The impression is that you really got into a Disney cartoon. The videos are especially good – you can immediately see that the game was made by professional animators.
Each video here is a mini-cartoon.
The plot in Kena: Bridge of Spirits is also like from a cartoon – albeit not the most dramatic in terms of history. Kena is a professional guide for the souls of the dead, responsible for their safe journey into the world of peace. Those who cannot calm down turn into evil spirits and generate filth that pollutes everything around. It was with this misfortune that the girl faced, going in search of the sacred mountain temple. The region with the village of spirits in the center suffers from such corruption. And Ken, firstly, is helped by good spirits, including two toddlers who have lost their older brother, and secondly, those very decaying, charming little creatures.
They follow the heroine everywhere.
Kena interacts with them the same way we interacted with the fun Imps in Overlord . Smolders have two forms – in one it is, conditionally, healing drops, which can be collected into one large drop that destroys the filth.
This drop must be personally managed by sending it to contaminated areas.
In the second form, these are small, big-eyed creatures that, on our order, can drag heavy objects, heal the heroine and even attack enemies, entangling and disorienting them while the girl harass the evil with a staff. They, on our order, destroy the sources of filth.
Here are the little helpers revealed the source, and now we need to shoot at it.
Well, they are not just adorable – they are super cute, cute and funny. And this is where the charm of Kena: Bridge of Spirits is based . You can put on funny hats, caps and masks on smolders – first you need to find new types, and then we buy them for the collected currency.
As a result, your retinue will look like this.
But that’s not all. Tleshe is always on the screen, next to the heroine, and the authors have played it smartly. At any time, you can sit down, kiss them, make them sneeze funny, or make them dance.
The guys repeat everything without objection.
Or, for example, when Ken is swimming, they follow her and can splash on their backs, floundering funny. And when she performs acrobatic exercises, climbing the steep cliff above the abyss, they stand side by side on the ledge in their holiday hats and expressively look at her with big eyes – they say, “What are we? We are nothing. ” How the girl manages not to laugh and fall off, I don’t know.
They’re watching you!
Give people decay!
But the secret of success is that Kena: Bridge of Spirits is not only a picture, animation, cute and hilarious smolders. It’s also an interesting game. At first, everything seems too simple, when the heroine, at the push of a button, emits impulses that open the doors and charge the runestones, and even collect currency to buy those very hats. And the combat system looks not so simple, but standard, or something – normal and strong blows, somersault and a block, which, when perfectly executed, knocks enemies back.
Monsters attack in waves.
But then things get much more interesting. First, the battles get seriously harder, even at the intermediate level. We are locked in arenas and bombarded with ordinary enemies, followed by a more or less large boss. You need to constantly move and monitor the situation – to look for vulnerabilities, send decaying bodies in time to envelop the enemy or heal us, as well as use “perishable” abilities, making, for example, piercing shots from a bow or powerful hammer strikes on the ground.
This move hits enemies from a distance.
The problem is that these abilities consume a charge that we only accumulate at an easy level for free. On average, for this you need to receive damage (yes, such a sadomaso!), And on heavy – to inflict it on opponents. And for a long time, exactly one such charge is available to us. To have more of them (at least two), you need to increase the level of decay, and for this you have to look for new decay everywhere. And this level is not growing so fast.
There are many enemies, they are interesting and different – some fly, others are covered with a shield, and others are throwing something. In some fights, you also have to fly back and forth on the analogue of a grappling hook (here it is a bow), memorizing what, when and how you must do to win. All bosses are good in their own way, strong and use unique tactics. In general, even at an average level of difficulty, at some point I was no longer up to cuteness and admiring beauty. What kind of admiration is there when, after another defeat, you want to break something in the house, and a frightened cat hides under the bathroom? ..
The bosses here are very big.
Think and seek!
In addition, in Kena: Bridge of Spirits, it is useful and fun to explore the world. First, to look for new smolders and raise your level. Secondly, restoring statues with the help of our little assistants, finding caches and new memories for the mask (if you put it on, you can see “points of interest” around), we accumulate karma points. And that is spent on the discovery of new abilities.
The latter are few, but almost all are useful – parrying, slowing down the time in aiming, increasing the strength of the shield, the aforementioned powerful attacks with a hammer and a bow, the ability to make it so that you always start a fight with one charge of decay. And everything requires a lot of karma points, and it accumulates rather slowly. This is good – more incentive to explore the environment.
Immediately in the videos, they show how the abilities work.
Plus, of course, there are a lot of currency nooks to buy ornaments for smoldering. You can also find cursed chests (enemies will come out from there, and after defeating them we will get something valuable), flower temples and “spirit mail” – special items associated with the inhabitants of the central village, which open houses and, accordingly, access to new chests and stubs. On the map, we are shown how much, where and what we have already found and how much is left – a paradise for perfectionists and collectors!
Now the fashionable verdict will begin.
And here it is important that the world in Kena: Bridge of Spirits is organized according to the principle of metroidvania. It is open, large (the village is a hub), and it will not work to get to some places until, for example, we are given a bow that can also be used as a grappling hook. Or until Ken learns how to throw bombs at the illuminated rocks. The design is interesting, with fiction – it is not always clear how to get to the right place. Or how to get a big tear – it is she who, when the smolders bring it to the right place, will allow them to return to their true form and destroy the filth.
The path to some areas is blocked for the time being by a barrier.
In general, here you often have to think and solve more or less complex puzzles. Somewhere everything is obvious and simple – for example, you need to make the henchmen move stones. And somewhere, like in a fishing temple, you have to suffer …
Well, everything seems obvious here.
As you can see, Kena: Bridge of Spirits , despite its modern look, is essentially old-school – it does not bombard us with outposts, towers and monotonous side quests, does not offer a super-sophisticated storyline with moral choices, but fulfills the original task of all games, forcing the gamer to overcome challenges and have fun.
I will dream of their eyes. The overall design, by the way, is reminiscent of Fable.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is unrealistically beautiful, cute and generally addicting. Everything is great here with the implementation, design (including game design) and understanding how a good action / adventure should look and work.
But before our “amazing” Kena still lacks a spark of genius, meetings with funny freaks that you will remember for a long time. This simple plot is being taken too seriously. Yes, and their own ideas are not enough. Moving stones, shooting at active points, a grappling hook, painfully familiar extreme rock climbing … We all see perfectly where and what the authors spied on. Even the smolders are, in fact, taken from Overlord . The longer you play, the more the quotes from other games start to catch your eye. And the constant “Cleanse that temple, now that one, then this cave” starts to strain. I would like more fantasy. And nevertheless, for me this may not be amazing, but still the best, most beautiful and charming action / adventure of the year.
Pros: addictive gameplay with challenging battles, puzzles, and metroidvania elements; interesting bosses; charming smolders; the highest level of graphics and animation.
Cons: the main character lacks charisma; not enough of their ideas; at some point the game starts to seem monotonous