Let me just say that out of the gate, Kôna Day One captures the idea and view I have of Canada: Ice Age.
Heh, all joking aside, I really liked this game. I got to see a little of it at PAX Prime last year and I was intrigued with what they were going to do with it. This game is a multi-episodic game and Day One just refers to Episode One, so if you thought this was an one shot, then you would be mistaken.
This is a story-driven, narrative game that has you questioning and wondering throughout. There are times in the game that I felt like I was in a Stephen King novel and that really had me becoming immersed in the game play. It kept giving me that feeling of staying alert and wondering what was around every corner. Kôna is an open world game that does not hold your hand through it. This may be off-putting to some gamers but if you give it a chance and explore, you will find yourself indulging. It is hard to compare this game to others because it plays out like a book more than other games. Alan Wake comes to mind but even that feels like it is trying to categorize it when it really shouldn’t be.
The protagonist is Carl Faubert, a war veteran turned private eye who traveled to Atamipek Lake, Canada…
in case you are wondering where that is, do not worry, it is no where to be found! That is how mysterious this case is!
So Carl Faubert, our P.I. detective who found him self in Northern Canada is there to solve what seemed to be an easy case put forth by a rich industrialist and copper-mine magnate, William Hamilton. Allegedly, the Cree community who are local in these parts are stealing and causing a mess of things for the local manor. The start of the feud was set off by Hamilton apparently destroying their sacred lands. You’re there to get down the bottom of things and fix the problems that the rich have no time to sully with!
I must say, starting off, I lost track of what I had to do and turned into a photographer and took pictures of everything. I drove a lot as well. The driving was fun for a while but I feel like the controls of driving and looking around were a bit too sensitive for my taste. I did find it amusing that as hard as I tried to kill myself by ramming into things, I had to remember I wasn’t playing GTA V and I was there on a mission and death was not an option!
There is quite a bit of exploring to do and reading about the local community and things you find along the way. You are encouraged to document everything about your travels and there is no shortage of that. The puzzles alone will have you looking around the craft things. Craft things like a fire. Which leads me into an aspect of the game that I really appreciate. You do not have a health bar or energy bar, as mentioned earlier about me trying to kill myself, but you do have a cold meter. You can not stay out in the cold forever. You have to take shelter and stay warm in order to survive. It really helps drive the focus on trying to get the job done quickly and not drag it on.
The amount of effort that the developers at Parabole put into the immersion aspect of this game is incredible. The music and sound blend so well with the mood and feeling that you are in while exploring and reading through your journey. The sounds can be eerie at times and make you feel like you are in a horror movie. A big credit to Kôna is that it supports full VR compatibility (how much more immersive can you get!!) So if you have a chance to use VR technology with this game, I highly recommend it!
The mystery is for you to explore and figure out. You are there to figure out how to solve a situation with nothing more than your wits and deduction skills. If you have a couple of hours to spend, go out and explore!
At the time of this article it is not on Steam but you can find it here at gog.com