I completed the full game: this is definitely a flawed game, but a good one.
You can bet the developers have been a little confused about what to do EXACTLY with their ideas and the game came out as confused as they’ve been.
Still this is an indie game created by young people so I can personally forgive that kind of feeling… Provided the experience as a whole is better than the sum of its parts. And in Kona, I must say it definitely is.
There’s a huge immersion factor in the game given the fact that the devs knew for sure how to convey the “Northern Canadian feeling”. So I wandered in the snow for about 8 hours and enjoyed the atmosphere pretty much. This is all that counts about a game sometimes, just be an immersive original experience.
That said, the lack of general polish is clear. The story starts good but vanishes quickly, transforming itself from a good detective mystery into a supernatural horror with little to say (despite the atmosphere is still quite good). Too many red herrings and, all in all, just a decent narration supported by the environment.
Gameplay-wise, Kona is part survival, part adventure, part walking simulator, and none of its parts is good enough. The survival elements are poor (you collect items and weapons but rarely need them… actually, very few action sequences in the game). Puzzles are just key collection tasks besides the wires riddle.
Exploration is just ok, but still the locations are very similar to each other and after a while it becomes a bit boring - luckily the game is short enough to avoid disaster.
If good atmosphere is all you look for in a game, Kona plays very good thanks to its environments and astounding soundtrack.
If you can’t bear the general lack of polish of indie games, though, this is Just Another Indie Exploration Game.
Time Played: 5-10 hours