Crazy Games Reviews: Bridge of Spirits

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a fabulous adventure created by Friv5Online, a 14-member studio. This is the first game of a small team - and it is quite successful: Kena's average score on Metacritic is 81 points out of 100. Here's how The Legend of Zelda series influenced Bridge of Spirits and what Friv5Online did until 2021.

The heroine of the game, a girl named Kena, has an unusual ability - she knows how to communicate with the spirits of the dead, sees their past and helps them find peace. She will have to use this ability more than once in order to find to clear the magic forest from the filth that destroys all living things, and to get to the sacred mountain altar.

On a journey through an abandoned village, a dense forest and ancient ruins, the girl is helped by tiny spirits - weak and fragile alone, but capable of defeating some opponents together. Creatures help Ken for a reason - they want to rid the magical forest of monsters and filth no less than the main character.

Friv5Online took inspiration from The Legend of Zelda and Okami for their first game, but it was the Nintendo franchise that had the most notable impact on Kena: Bridge of Spirits. The developers do not hide this - on the contrary, they confess their love for The Legend of Zelda whenever it comes to their favorite Crazy games. In 2018, brothers Mike and Josh Grier, who founded Friv5Online, even released a fan-made animated short about the backstory of The Legend of Zelda: Majoraʼs Mask, one of the best parts of Zelda.

“As a child, [my brother and I] saw a lot, accompanying my father on his many business trips. Crazy Games helped us feel at home in any environment, wherever we were. Our love of Crazy games prompted us to create an amateur movie Majoraʼs Mask - Terrible Fate based on Zelda. Working on the creation of Kena: Bridge Of The Spirits was a natural next step for us, ” said Josh Grier.

Like most Crazy games in The Legend of Zelda series, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an adventure that combines world exploration, enemy battles, and puzzle solving.

If you look under every stone in the magic forest, you can find even more spirits that will replenish Kena's small army, magic crystals for buying collectibles, glasses for pumping the heroine and places for meditation that increase the girl's health.

Battles are built on a combination of weak and strong blows, in addition, in battle you can use a magic bow with endless arrows. Difficult combos in Kena: Bridge of Spirits will not work, but those attacks that are there initially, and those that can be pumped in the future, are enough not to get bored in battles with ordinary enemies. In battles with extremely difficult bosses, it is important to dodge and actively use Kena's magic shield. If you press the button that creates a shield, a moment before the enemy hits the girl, she will be able to parry, and the enemy will open up for a counterattack.

Puzzles - the third key element of Kena: Bridge of Spirits - are easier than any Zelda, but Friv5Online didn't seem to expect anyone to play her game solely for puzzles. In one place, Ken will have to shoot at the sparkling crystals in the correct order to open the stone door, in the other - ask the spirits to return the statue of the bird to its place, in the third - to find the hidden passage to the house where the quest item lies. Nothing really complicated, and there are no puzzle dungeons like The Legend of Zelda.

The Grier brothers founded Friv5Online in 2009 as an animation, animation and computer graphics studio. The company has worked with The Coca-Cola Company and Chinese home appliance manufacturer Hisense, and has also released two short films, Dust and the aforementioned Majoraʼs Mask, Terrible Fate, both released in 2016. At the same time, in the first film, despite the abundance of computer graphics, real actors were shot, and the second, dedicated to Majoraʼs Mask, turned out to be completely animated.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits was also originally conceived as an animated film, but then the authors decided to make an adventure video game.

“When we first started working on the plot of Kena, it was about the film. Well, or about the series. But as soon as those tiny spirits appeared in the plot, we realized that we simply had to make video Crazy games. We really wanted the players to go on their own journey with the spirits. These little creatures helped us to connect the fictional story with the gameplay: these pranksters are very important to the plot, but at the same time they actively participate in the gameplay, ” said Mike Grier, co-founder of Friv5Online.

The studio's experience in making cartoons came in handy when creating Kena. All videos in the game look like excerpts from Disney and Pixar films, and the developers have dedicated a separate post on the PlayStation blog to working out the animations of the main character . Bridge of Spirits itself, outside of the pre-rendered videos, is also indistinguishable from a cartoon.

“The animation finally made the heroine alive, and you can even judge her character by her movements and deeds. The scale of this game and the storyline is much larger than that of our past projects. We tried to express the depth and intensity of the heroine's emotions, so that the players could empathize with her and love her more. There are so many animations in the game that we even assembled our own library of emotions and movements, for example, hand gestures or hair patterns. This allowed us to quickly refine and merge animations to show that Kena's soul remains the same from start to finish, ” explained Hunter Schmidt, director of animation at Friv5Online.

Kena's impressive looks are partly due to the animators. An equally important role in this was played by the artists, whose work is visible even in the screenshots. In dynamics, Bridge of Spirits looks even better.

The girl of blogger Yuri Khovansky, Maria Nelyubova, in a conversation with the radio station "Echo of Moscow" shared some details of the state of her young man, who is in a pre-trial detention center - her words are reported by the Telegram channel "Told on Echo". According to Nelyubova, the blogger has changed a lot during his time in prison and now he does not know how to behave correctly in the situation that is happening to him:

“I saw him 1.5-2 weeks ago. It was a meeting in a pre-trial detention center for 1 hour. Yura really changed a lot, became very serious and a little desperate. The person is in a rather depressed state and does not understand well how to react to what is happening to him, to the visit of the investigator, to this interesting deal, to the fact that all the materials that we collect are ignored by the investigator himself. It is not clear what to do with all this."

Yuri Khovansky was detained at the beginning of this summer on suspicion of justifying terrorism after he sang a song about the terrorist attack on Dubrovka in 2002 on the stream. At the moment, the term of his stay in the pre-trial detention center was extended until January 8 next year.

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