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You May Have Overlooked the Best Soulslike Game

by Lidia Lucovic

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an underrated Soulslike game that rivals even the most popular titles in the genre, yet it has gone largely unnoticed. The Soulslike sub-genre, characterized by its emphasis on player positioning and reflexes, RPG-like character customization, and challenging boss battles, has seen numerous imitators, including big-budget AAA titles like Nioh and its sequel, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, and franchise tie-ins such as Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Despite being a newcomer to the genre and the creation of developer/publisher Ember Lab, Kena: Bridge of Spirits has proven to be a formidable contender in the Soulslike space.

Bridge of Spirits’ Art Style Masks Brutal Difficulty

Soulslike games are widely known for their challenging gameplay and immersive dark fantasy settings. Kena: Bridge of Spirits deviates from the norm by offering a visually stunning world that isn’t always dreary. Players assume the role of Kena and venture into an abandoned village to locate a forgotten shrine that could heal the cursed forest. The game’s environment features intricate details, dense foliage, cascading waterfalls, and luminescent magical objects. During battles, players can summon fuzzy creatures known as the Rot to help them. However, the opponents are not to be underestimated, and the game’s multi-stage boss fights can be surprisingly challenging, especially on the Master difficulty level. Players must be careful with their HP while attacking Kena’s formidable foes, as with any Soulslike game.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits stands out among other Soulslike games with its unique features. Despite only having one weapon, Kena’s staff is versatile and can be used for melee, ranged attacks, or spell casting. Unlike typical Soulslikes, platforming plays a significant role in exploring Kena’s world, with players needing to double-jump, climb rocks, and solve puzzles to progress. The game also offers abundant side content, including finding hats for Kena’s Rot companions. Kena offers a varied experience that is not just a series of difficult boss battles. Its distinctive art style, platforming, and puzzle-solving sections make it a memorable and fresh addition to the genre. Despite being initially overlooked upon release in September 2021, Kena: Bridge of Spirits provides quality Soulslike gameplay and is currently available on PS4, PS5, and Windows PCs.

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