Kona is a piece of interactive storytelling that blends mystery with folk horror, allowing the player to uncover the mystery almost literally on their own.
The main character, Carl Faubert, is a private investigator sent to North of Québec to watch on a powerful man, accused by a native community of defiling their land. The game unfolds in a semi-open world composed only by a few roads. The player is free to choose Carl's path in any order to solve the mystery that surrounds the town. While this encourages exploration, the lack of clear objectives also might render the game a bit frustrating. Carl has got a limited inventory space, and since there is no linear progress, it's possible that you will drop an object needed to complete a future part of the game, meaning you will have to go back. Fortunately you can store some objects in the back of your truck, so I advise any newcomer to do this and avoid wasting time.
The game has some scarce and extremely simple combat: you will only face wolves that die by two hits of an axe. The AI is atrocious and the weapon wielding controls are awkward. Fortunately it isn't much of a problem because the game does not focus on action sequences. Instead, there will be lots of walking around, picking objects and solving some puzzles. There is a survival element, as well: the player must take care of Carl's health, stress (similar to the "sanity" mechanic in Amnesia) and cold levels. For the first half, surviving in the environment is the most interesting part of the game, although it may become unfair not being able to carry enough objects. So keep that in mind: always carry at least one log to make a fire.
For a game made with the Unity engine, it's not graphically too bad, but it suffers from the expected stiffness and outdated texture rendering. There are also some minor development issues, like doors opening to only one side, so that when you press the action button it will get stuck because Carl's blocking it. The audiviosual design is mostly enough to create a dark and ethereal atmosphere, but you really will need to be invested in the story and the world's lore, which can be found through scattered notes and other documents. This is a slow-burning game that requires lots of patience and the right mood.
- ▸Engaging survival mechanics.
- ▸Effective, mysterious atmosphere.
- ▸Awkward movement and combat.
- ▸Extremely loose objectives. You will be walking for several minutes before finding the right clues.