KONA is out now on Nintendo Switch and it’s certainly an intriguing one. It’s a combination of mystery and survival set in 1970’s Canada, more specifically the small, snow covered town of storm hit Atamipek. You play as detective Carl Faubert, and you need to solve puzzles and survive all while listening to some rather soft narration that accompanies you throughout the story.
KONA is a bit of a slow burner, literally. In order to save the game (and not die) you have to start a fire and keep yourself warm, but in order to do this you need to collect items to start a fire. You’ll also pick up keys, weapons, food and so on in your journey to find out what’s going on. And while the game looks gorgeous on the Switch screen, it’s KONA‘s story that sets it apart from other narrative driven survival games. That being said, writing a review for a story based game like this is hard for a couple of reasons. Firstly, spoilers. Secondly, KONA‘s story is so curious and mysterious that at times, despite really enjoying it, I can’t say I 100% understood what was going on. It’s deliberately unnerving and vague in a really cool way though. Make no mistake, you’re not just going to be starting little campfires and singing “Kumbya” here. There’s wolves, strange iceman figures and not to mention the fact that there are no signs of other people anywhere. Well there’s the whole dead body but I won’t go into that.
It’s all delivered in a really intelligent way that makes it hard to think of another game like it on Nintendo Switch. Exploration, survival and supernatural tinges make sure you’ll feel tense and quietly freaked out throughout. And it’s that subtlety that makes KONA well worth your time. Just don’t expect a non strop thrill ride and you’ll be happy with your visit to Atamipek.
Curious, mysterious and eerie, KONA’s brave approach to story telling doesn’t deserve a frosty reception. Let’s hope it gets the warm one it deserves from Nintendo gamers.
Punk rating: 8/10