After a couple of delays, Kena: Bridge of Spirits finally launches next week, September 21. It’s been a long time for the whimsical game, which was initially revealed alongside the PlayStation 5 and positioned to launch alongside it. We featured the title on our cover, but we forgive you if your memory has become blurry. Fear not, this handy guide should get you up to speed on the top beats if you’re still undecided as to whether or not Kena’s adventure is for you.
Who is doing Kena: Bridge of Spirits?
Kena is the debut title of Ember Lab, a small studio founded in 2009 by brothers Mike and Josh Grier. The company primarily specializes in creating animated content for conglomerates such as Coca-Cola, MLB, and KFC. Perhaps the studio’s most famous work is an animated short based on The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask which went viral in 2016. With Kena, the studio is applying its animation and world-building skills to game development for the first time.
Who is Kena?
Kena (pronounced “kay-na”) is a young spirit guide and adventure hero. She is responsible for helping troubled spirits make a peaceful transition to the afterlife. When someone dies with unresolved problems or trauma, their spirit can be trapped between the realms of the living and the dead. Lingering ghosts can cause problems for living people, so Kena helps solve any problems they have to ensure a pleasant journey to the next life. Kena is also the only person capable of cleaning up an all-consuming plague that is gradually taking over the world.
What is the history?
Believe it or not, we still don’t know much about Kena’s plot outside of her settings. Kena travels to an abandoned town far from her homeland in search of a sacred mountain shrine. The surrounding land is suffering a mysterious curse that turns corrupted spirits into dangerous monstrosities. She is the only one who can cure him and she sets out to do just that.
What kind of game is it?
Kena is a third person action and adventure game. Combat involves executing basic melee combos of light and heavy attacks using Kena’s magic staff. He can also turn his staff into a spirit bow for a ranged offense. Kena also boasts an arsenal of spirit abilities, such as the pulse bubble that can stop incoming attacks, and can conjure a spirit dragon to provide additional combat muscle. Outside of battle, players climb, wobble, and similarly jump around their surroundings to the Uncharted series while also solving environmental puzzles to access new areas. Kena can also use her powers to purify paths blocked by corrupt growth. You’ll also help restless souls find peace by healing whatever ails them as you gradually rebuild and repopulate the abandoned village, which serves as your core area.
Is Kena in a big open world?
Previous No. Game informer Editor Jeff Cork best summed up Kena’s world design as “linear wide” in our cover story. You’ll follow a clear critical path, but you can fork to explore alternate routes that can lead to things like hidden rot.
Putrefaction? What are they?
The Rot are the other stars of the game. They are adorable tiny creatures responsible for decay, breaking down decaying materials to make way for new life. Therefore, they complement Kena’s work in maintaining the cycle of life, death and rebirth. When Kena bonds with these creatures, they’ll band together to help with combat and puzzle solving. In battle, Rot are too shy to immediately lend a helping hand, but successive landing attacks fill a meter indicating Rot’s courage. Once full, players can turn to Rot to increase their attacks and dish out more powerful forms of offense. You can also send rot to distract enemies, forcing them to drop their defenses to provide attack windows.
You can get up to 100 Rot, being 60 optional. You’ll find Rot hiding under rocks, inside hanging fruits, and other nooks and crannies. The more Rot you have, the more powerful your attacks will be and the more helping hands you will have outside of battle. You can even customize Rot by purchasing a variety of pretty hats for them to wear.
Hats? Does that mean microtransactions?
There are no microtransactions in Kena: Bridge of Spirits. You buy items from suppliers using in-game currency.
Can putrefaction die?
No, fortunately. While Rot do share gameplay similarities with Pikmin, these little guys aren’t that fragile, so you don’t have to worry about losing your adorable companions in battle. Feel free to throw them at as many monsters as you want!
How long does Kena last and how much does it cost?
Ember Labs has stated that Kena takes 8-10 hours to finish and about 12 hours for the finalists. The budget price reflects that reach at $ 39.99 across all platforms. There is also a Deluxe Edition for $ 49.99.
On what platforms is Kena available?
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is coming to PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC via the Epic Games Store. It’s a digital-only game, but Ember Lab has suggested that it could get a physical release in the future.
What are the differences between PS5 and PS4?
We haven’t seen footage of the game running on PS4, but we do know that on PS5, you’ll see more Rot rendered on screen and the foliage appears denser. Haptic feedback from the DualSense controller creates realistic tension when pulling back on the bowstring, as well as other sensory characteristics.
You can read more information-packed stories about Kena: Bridge of Spirits by visiting our unique cover story hub.