Kona II: Brume is, you may gather, the second game in the series by Ravenscourt Games. However, it can be played and enjoyed by players unfamiliar with the first game. A first-person title, Kona II is part walking simulator and part puzzle game, delivering a fascinating and creepy trek through the brume (that’s ‘haze’ for you maudit anglophones) of northern Quebec.
Il ne faut pas que vous ayez joué le premier Kona
Taking place in October 1970, a turbulent period in Canadian history, Kona II stars French-Canadian Korean War veteran Carl Faubert, who is dispatched to northern Quebec in order to discover what exactly is going on with the Hamilton Mining Corporation. Hamilton is riding roughshod over local First Nations people, searching for a unique kind of mineral with… interesting properties.
The game opens where the first one presumably concluded, washing up on a frozen lake after a hot pursuit. From there, you proceed to the Hamilton estate, plumbing the mansion for clues, some of which might not be of this world in origin. In the previous game, you had many paranormal and surreal experiences, and hopefully this time you can find some answers as to what the late William Hamilton was up to.
And not to worry if you didn’t play that first installment, as you’ll get caught up very quickly via an introductory cutscene. That’s in addition to a ‘narrator’ function the game offers, which enables players to be caught up on the fly, as well to be clued in on any puzzles they might miss.
It’s a very helpful function, especially when you’re coming in blind. It also helps with the characterization of Carl, as the narrator will tell you what he’s thinking and feeling, which can assist in completing puzzles. In addition, Bioshock-esque ghosts are encountered to fill in the plot (a relief for having a change from blasted audio diaries).
Ça marche bien… plus ou moins
None of the puzzles are terribly complex, but the mechanics are maddeningly vague in Kona II. You gather information via your journal and polaroid camera when the proper icon appears. The facts are arranged in your journal to figure out what transpired. This is not introduced very well, so you might forget to do that when prompted. There’s allowing players to be empowered, and then there’s just being obtuse.
It also gets persnickety in regards to what qualifies as a photo of a given thing.
Vexingly, autosave appears to not work, forcing you to manually save at heat sources throughout the game–and if you missed the textbox earlier in the game that tells you how to do that, tant pis. This can really take you out of the game, since if you’re not careful you can turn a mystery game into an unintentional Roguelike.
You do have a revolver, to be used occasionally against des ours et loups who periodically menace you. Combat is perfunctory though, and does not occupy a great deal of the game’s time. I leave it to you as to whether that’s a dealbreaker.
Je crois que si vous le jouez, vous serez content
All this being equal, Kona II: Brume is a pretty solid experience. It provides a six hour or thereabouts worth of prowling through the frosty wilderness. I’d recommend checking out the first game first though, for completeness’ sake.
Si vous aimez ce genre de jeu, ajoutez-le de votre librarie.
A copy of Kona II: Brume was provided by publisher Ravenscourt for this review
Kona II: Brume
Release Date: October 18th, 2023
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, PC
MSRP: $29.99 USD