As a blizzard ravages Atamipek Lake in Northern Canada, Kona puts you in the shoes of a detective as he explores a small village, getting to the bottom of what is really going on in this cozy little town, all while battling the elements in order to survive.
Walking simulators have become bigger and bigger over the past few years, experiencing a deep and rewarding story through environmental storytelling as you slowly and methodically search every nook and cranny of your surroundings. 90 percent of the time, or at least the time I have spent so far with Kona, you will be doing things such as this. The other 10 percent of Kona you will be doing everything from inventory management, fighting off wild wolves, solving basic puzzles and even zipping around town in a pickup truck.
After learning that you have someone to meet, Kona starts as you make your way to a small town a few miles down the road. Once you hit the road the weather starts to turn fierce. Snow litters the road and as you speed towards your destination, a lone car zips past you honking its horn. Not thinking too much of it, you notice that you are running low on gas and you make your way to the local gas station. This is where things start to take a turn. The abandoned gas station is when you begin to realize that something strange is going on in this sleepy little town.
Using the in-game fold out map to travel from house to house is your only way to start piecing together what is actually going on. Rifling through the belongings of people that seemed to have rushed off quickly due to some mysterious happenings weaves an intriguing narrative that leaves me only wanting more as I came towards the end of what is on offer in early access.
When you aren’t looking through the townsfolk’s homes in search of answers you will need to brave the outdoors, which introduces the deeper survival elements of the game. You will have to manage the detective’s health, stress and temperature in order to survive. If you are outside for too long your temperature drops dramatically, blurring your vision and increasing your stress. The only way to raise it back up is to head inside, get back to your car or build a campfire out in the woods. When you stress levels raise, your aiming begins to wane, lucky enough although your salvation comes in the form of alcohol or cigarettes that can be found throughout your environment.
All of the items you find along your way need to be managed as your character can only hold so much, logs are heavy but they are important if you want to build a fire to help battle the elements, is it worth bringing out both your rifle and an axe, or can you risk keeping them in your truck. This mechanic introduces something different compared to the other games similar to Kona.
Without giving too much away, the story of Kona begins to take a surreal turn, that only intrigued me more, I cannot wait until the get to unravel the mysterious of Atamipek Lake.
These impressions are based on an early access build of Kona by Parabole.