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Kona II Brume

Kona II: Brume Review

Packing in a mysterious death, an abandoned, spooky mansion to explore, underground experiments and some deadly enemies, Kona II: Brume sounds like Horror Game 101. Except, this mystery adventure isn’t technically a horror game. But it’s about as close as you’re going to come without going full Resident Evil.

We didn’t expect Kona II: Brume to have us jumping out of our skin: we were looking forward to getting stuck into the nitty-gritty of a murder investigation. And while there is plenty of investigating to be done here, there are plenty of thrilling moments too. Visions that may or may not be real, wolves and bears to avoid, and a half-stag, half-man that just won’t leave you alone. It’s tense, and we absolutely love it.

There’s a lot to love about Kona II: Brume, in fact, even if you’ve not played the original. It picks up where the first game left off, but even without the knowledge of Kona’s events, you can hit the ground running here. Your protagonist, Karl Faubert, has been hired as a private investigator and sent to a remote mining village in Northern Canada. The man who hired you, Hamilton, has been murdered, his mansion shows signs of some really weird stuff going on, and an explosion in the nearby mines has released something deadly into the air.

Kona II tree puzzle

That’s a lot to be uncovering, then, but you’ll get to the bottom of everything eventually, over the course of Kona II’s eight to ten hour runtime. It almost feels like a game of two halves, with your time spent in the Hamilton mansion feeling very different to your time in the mines and the underground laboratories. But no matter what location you find yourself in, one thing is for sure: Kona II: Brume has atmosphere in spades, and every moment in the game keeps you on the edge of your seat.

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You’re never quite sure what you can believe here, with Karl being subject to hallucinations caused by the weird substance leaked from the mines. You’ll also see flashbacks of the events leading up to Karl’s visit, helping you piece together what’s happening. Environments are also dotted with diaries, notes and other bits of paraphernalia that are worth reading through to get the most out of the story.

Kona II’s detective work isn’t the most in-depth. This isn’t Mind Palace or Investigation Board territory. Rather, Karl automatically jots everything of note down in his journal, with a narrator providing a very enjoyable audible account as he does. You can minimise the amount of narration you’ll hear in Kona II in the settings, but in our opinion it adds a lot to the game. You can choose from American English and French Canadian narration; we can’t comment on the French but the English audio is excellently acted.

There are a few puzzles to solve, though: Kona II isn’t completely a passive experience. The puzzles are enjoyable to work through, with you needing to find keys, crack some environmental puzzles and otherwise piece together the odd bit of information in order to progress. Nothing is too obscure, thankfully, but figuring everything out is still a rewarding experience.

We wouldn’t go as far as to say that Kona II: Brume is an action game, but there are some combat mechanics here. You’ll occasionally have to shoot at foes, and you have a melee weapon to hand if you choose to use it. Combat is sporadic, though; it’s clearly not a focus of the game, but there’s enough to provide an additional layer of tension.

We love that there’s plenty of optional stuff to enjoy in Kona II, too. Dig around, and you might see the odd clue leading you to a secret location. You can also help Karl fill out his journal by taking photos. There are no prompts, so you’ll have to pay attention to what he’s written and what is important in the environment to ensure you capture everything. You don’t have to, of course, but it’s a nice optional activity.

Kona II save game

But as great as the narration is, as fun as pulling out your camera can be, and as much as we enjoyed solving Kona II: Brume’s puzzles, it really is the atmosphere of this game that kept us absolutely hooked. Excellent visuals are brought to life with an expert amount of tension, heightened with a fantastic score and well-placed sound effects. You really do never know what’s waiting for you around every corner, and that constant of the unknown is simply thrilling.

One of the most tense games we’ve played that isn’t strictly horror, we’ve loved every moment spent in the atmospheric world of Kona II: Brume. With satisfying puzzles and engaging exploration, this is a stylish mystery that has truly kept us on the edge of our seats. Beautiful visuals, excellent voice acting and a twisty narrative are simply additional cherries on the cake.

Kona II: Brume Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Kona II: Brume is based on the PC version of the game, via a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

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