Description from the developers:
Northern Canada, 1970. A strange blizzard ravages Atamipek Lake. Step into the shoes of a detective to explore the eerie village, investigate surreal events, and battle the elements to survive. The first installment in a series of four games, Kona is a chilly interactive tale you won’t soon forget.
● Step into an interactive tale of mystery and investigate the perplexing quietness in the entire town
● Explore a vast, frigid Northern environment and battle the elements to survive
● Complete the first of four acts, each offering two to five hours of play
● Enjoy the atmospheric soundtrack featuring music by Quebec folk band Curé Label
● Experience the tale through the omniscient, third-person storyteller
● Go back in time with a vintage look and feel reminiscent of 1970s rural communities
The first thing I would like to say is how well this game runs for an Early Access game, it’s smooth on max settings between 55-65fps on a laptop with only a GTX970M (I will retest this when the game gets it’s full review on official release with a more powerful setup)
I would like to add that i have now retested on a my computer running an overclocked I7 4790k and an overclocked GTX980 and it runs perfect even at 2k on ultra settings i was averaging over 105fps.
Graphics are great and the weather effects are done brilliantly, the trees moving in the wind and the cold snow obscuring your vision, to the point where it actually makes you feel cold and relieved to actually get yourself into shelter in the warm!
The sound snow under foot really adds to the immersion. One negative on the sound for me that I feel I have to say about is the narrator, his voice is just so irritating and melodramatic. The narrator can be used less and only for important bits so that does help, you can turn his voice off completely and just read the sub-titles.
In kona you will be going to many different locations and basically looting house’s for supplies and clues, cupboards and drawers can be searched and weather it is finding a dead body or following tracks there is always something to do or find, your Polaroid camera can help you out at times if your really stuck by showing hidden tracks but for the most part the story does follow well.
There are three things needed to stay alive, warmth, health and stress levels kept to a low. Warmth can be achieved by lighting fires in camp houses or random camp fires spread around as you come across them. Its not as easy as finding them and just lighting them either you need to have all the equipment needed to light a fire such as matches, fire starters and wood logs, Health is healed with med kits and pain killers. The stress levels for Carl will increase due to seeing upsetting things and car crashes among other things, stress can be dropped by smoking cigarettes or chilling out with a beer or three! You will need to keep Carl’s stress levels down as the more stressed he gets the slower he will move and will also lose accuracy. Once near any of the fires that have been lit the game will save your progress and if you was to die you can reload from your last save game.
The game doesn’t help you out that much, which is nice and does tend to make you solve the puzzles yourself, there does always seem to be wolf tracks nearby so you can follow them but in the two times i have you will find wolves and you better hope you have something to protect yourself with!
Controls can be a little clunky at times but for the most part do actually handle very well, car driving was fine but walking around can feel a little sloppy at first. No keyboard mapping function which would be a nice addition. Full controller support is featured in Kona, I used an Xbox One controller, the buttons are all mapped and ready to use. In the options leaving the control input to auto means you can swap from the keyboard and mouse and then to the controller whenever you choose, this is pretty helpful if you decide like me you want to drive the car with the controller and use the keyboard and mouse when on foot.
The game is still in early access so i won’t be giving a final score until i finish a full review once its officially released in March sometime. I just wanted to give my first thoughts and what things i feel can be improved. Also good that the developer is adding stuff for the future official launch as the picture shows below:
All in all Kona is a very interesting, immersive story driven game, it does have a bit of everything to it such as guns, driving and survival, the story will keep you playing for hours. While challenging at times, It’s nice to have a game that actually gets you thinking about what to do all the time and if you will even make it to the next shelter….
Keep checking back as ill be adding more to this preview as I find it!