Kena: Bridge of Spirits Review

Written by Spitfire Spud

When I first Played Kena: Bridge of the Spirits on PS4 back in 2021, I was blown away by how beautiful it looked, it reminded me of a Disney Pixar or Dreamworks movie, everything about it looked amazing!

Now, I get to play it all again on PC. Which also has the Anniversary Update to the game.

Genre

Platform, Adventure.

Release Date

September 27th 2022

Publisher

Ember Labs

Platforms

PlayStation, PC.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Want to see some gameplay first?

Magical Abilities

You play as Kena, a young girl with magical abilities and a staff that in combat, lets you do light, heavy and charged attacks. You can also acquire an upgrade to Kena’s staff that allows her to transform it into a bow for long ranged attacks. She also has a pulse ability that can attack as both a shield to defend herself, to activate objects or provide you clues.

At the start of the game, I was greeted by two siblings, who are on the lookout for their older brother, Taro, who is a restless spirit that you get to help. As you play through the game you get to gather up some small furry little companions know as The Rot. These little guys can move objects, complete tasks, and even help you distract enemies. However, they are timid little things, so you need to fight and build up a courage meter that will see them joining the battles with you. They can also heal the land/world around you, when you send them to a pathway that is blocked by corruption, you can then use your ping ability to cleanse it, which in turn transforms the area into a lush green environment.

They are quite handy companions to have at your side, and they are always on hand to help you along the way, whether it’s to clear a path for you or to gather corrupted flowers and purify them which in turn can heal you. Outside of combat Kena’s health will automatically recover over time as well.  

Combat

The combat in Kena: Bridge of Spirits is quite simplistic, but gets the job done. You can mix up your attacks with R1/RB and R2/RT to switch between your light and heavy attacks and you can also charge attacks too. Then you can dodge incoming attacks and use your ping ability (L1/LB) as a shield that can block incoming damage temporarily. The combat in the game reminds me of titles like Horizon Zero Dawn and how you can attack and dodge with little effort. Along with Kena’s fighting moves, the Rot will also help you bind enemies and see you teaming together to defeat them.

To help Kena and the Rot in their journey you will be able to upgrade and unlock both of their abilities. Like the Rot Hammer, which allows Kena to strike from a distance or a Sprint Light Attack that allows you to perform a sweeping attack while sprinting.

Kena will also come across Spirit Masks, with each mask giving you a certain trait like Taro’s Mask, which will allow you to see important objects and help you find rot throughout the world.

 

Platforming

Kena has some platforming elements to the game and while they are never too complex, finding more Rot is normal a big key. Most of the areas you visit by traversing across can be accessible, but later areas in the game more Rot will be needed.

The puzzles within the areas you visit will have you activating switches with her staff turned bow. The Rot can also be used to carry large objects to activate levers, jewels for Kena to pulse or lift pulleys. Some of the puzzles are kept quite simple and it’s more of a ‘where to find more Rot’, than ‘how the hell will I do that?’.

Thankfully find more Rot is part of the charm of this game. As they are helpful and charming little companions to have along your journey.

 

Breath-taking

When it comes to the visuals and soundtrack of Kena: Bridge of Spirits, it’s nothing short of breath-taking. The world that Ember Lab Studios have created, from the characters that you meet on your journey to the loveable and adorable little Rot that accompany you. Everything in the world around you, from the rivers and the tress to the creatures that inhabits them are vibrant and alive and makes you feel like the main character in a Disney movie.

The audio in the game accompanies the visuals beautifully, with the wind gently blowing across the water as you approach it, to the sound of Kena’s boots make as she runs along a dirt road or over grass. The music will also change to a more heavy and darker tone as the beat of drums sound as you approach an area with corruption or heading towards danger. It matches up perfectly and works like a melody, as both visuals and audio dance in unison as you play.

 

Anniversary Update

Throughout your journey through Kena: Bridge of Spirits there is plenty to do along the way. There are collectibles that you can gather that range from Spirit Mail to Memories. Each giving Kena rewards for completing them. You can also come across carts that have hats for the Rot to wear to make them even look more adorable.

With the Anniversary Update that was recently released, Ember Labs has given us more content to chew on. There is the New Game+ mode where you can restart the journey will everything you have unlocked previously. In this game mode you are faced with tougher challenges, new enemies and boss fights have something extra to them.

You will also have Spirit Trials to undertake that consist of Kena running some obstacle courses, taking on multiple waves of enemies or revisiting a favourite boss fight to experiment new moves and tactics on. The developers have added quite a lot for you to chew on and it’s a welcomed addition to the game.

While I enjoyed playing Kena: Bridge of Spirits, there was a few issues within the game. In certain areas some of the animation looked a bit flawed and clunky as she moves about. This can happen during combat or traversing across some cliffs. While it’s nothing game breaking, it can be off putting in the heat of a fight with a boss. Also, in later areas there wasn’t as much originality as I was hoping. However, this is the team’s first attempt and in a sequel, I have no doubt this will be expanded on.

Overall

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is both visually stunning and extremely enjoyable to play while pulling at your emotions. A game that will have you coming back for more to discover everything it has to offer you. While it may not be perfect, it will leave you with a long lasting impression.

spitfire spud gaming logo

SSG Rating 8.5/10

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II Review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II ReviewWhen it comes to Call of Duty, there is nothing quite like it when it comes to all out action. Whether you are calling in airstrikes during an online game of Domination or watching a spectacular campaign cutscene straight from a...

Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack Review

Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack ReviewJustin Wack and the Big Time Hack is a game of discovery, a point-n-click adventure about a man named Justin. It tells of a tale about Justin Wack who gets transported back in time, while a caveman by the name of Kloot gets...

Saints Row Review

Saints Row ReviewFor the last couple of years, the Saints Row games have become more insane than ever. When I first played Saints Row back in 2006, it was one of my favourite games to play. In recent years though, it’s not been the case. The reason I loved the first...

Tinykin Review

Tinykin ReviewTinykin is a miniature world set in a house lost in time, that time being 1991. You play as Milodane an explorer where you meet somewhat intelligent insects and of course, the Tinykin. But what or who are the Tinykin?Genre Platform, AdventureRelease Date...

As Dusk Falls Review

As Dusk Falls ReviewAs Dusk Falls is an interactive story driven drama, that unwraps the entangled lives of two troubled families. Their stories are told across three decades within a small town in Arizona. Where the characters you meet all have something to hide,...

Kao the Kangaroo Review

Genre Action, Adventure, 3D- PlatformerRelease Date May 27th 2022Publisher Tate MultimediaPlatforms Xbox, PS, PC, Nintendo SwitchKao the Kangaroo ReviewKao the Kangaroo sets out to find his missing sister and solve the mystery of what happened to his long-lost father....

Shredders Review

Shredders ReviewShredders is not just your typical run of the mill snowboarder game. It’s an open world ride that takes you by the hand to the top of the mountain. Then gives you gentle push off the edge, to a thrill ride like no other!Want to see some gameplay...

God of War PC Review

Genre Action, AdventureRelease Date January 14th 2022Publisher PlayStation StudiosPlatforms PC - Steam & Epic StoreGod of War PC ReviewGod of War has finally come to PC after what seemed to be an eternity, it's finally here. The God of War franchise has moved away...

Rainbow Six: Extraction Review

Genre Action, ShooterRelease Date January 20th 2022Publisher UbisoftPlatforms Xbox, PS, PC.Rainbow Six: Extraction ReviewRainbow Six has been around for years, from the early day of Rainbow Six in the 90s to this week launch of Rainbow Six: Extraction. It has come...

Aspire: Ina’s Tale Review

Genre Puzzle, PlatformerRelease Date December 17th DecemberPublisher Untold TalesPlatforms Xbox, PS, PC.Aspire: Ina's Tale ReviewIn Aspire: Ina’s Tale, we start with a girl locked up in an imposing structure that she must escape from. With each step you take a mystery...