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Video Game / Kona

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When you disappeared, so did purity.
I would defend purity against the winds, the tides,
against ice and blizzard.

Northern Canada, 1970. William Hamilton, a wealthy industrialist, has called Private Investigator Carl Faubert to his place to have him look into several cases of mysterious vandalism that have taken place on his property. Carl agrees to do the job, and drives for several hours to the client's home.

When he gets there, though, he finds that not only must he solve this case, but a blizzard is happening in the area. This means he's going to have to survive the harsh elements, and wildlife, while he's at it.

Kona is an Atmospheric Survival Adventure Game developed by Parabole. The game was funded on Kickstarter on September 4th, 2014, launched in Steam Early Access on March 10th, 2016 and fully released in March 2017 for PC, Xbox One and PS4, with a Nintendo Switch version following on March 9th, 2018. In June 2018, a VR version of the game was released as well.


Kona contains examples of:

  • The '70s: The game is set in October of 1970.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Steak can be found in fridges and is classified as "equipment". It can be used to distract angry wolves without resorting to weapons if you want to avoid guns for a Pacifist run.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • When reloading a save, your car and (if you have acquired it) snowmobile are teleported near the save point. Useful if you've left either vehicle on the other side of the map.
    • The item deposit is shared between the car and the snowmobile, so you don't need to try and remember where did you put that useful item.
  • The Artifact: An in-game version. Hamilton's mansion is marked on the map from the start of the game as a place to go for the vandalism case. Then you find Hamilton's dead body in the store and start solving a murder. Then the supernatural stuff starts, and by the end of the game, you're leaving town before ever getting close to Hamilton's house.
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  • Asshole Victim: All people whose unnaturally frozen corpses you find, as well as Hammilton, were directly implicated in death and secret burial of a random Cree woman what triggered the events of the game. Might or might not apply to Lamothe who buried the corpse, as he has shown genuine remorse and given his personality, he was likely bullied to perform the burial by others.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Carl's a normal guy alone in the backwoods of northern Quebec, Canada trying to solve first a vandalism case, then a murder mystery. Surviving the harsh conditions is enough to qualify him for this trope then the issue of the spirit wolves and the Wendigo comes in and he really qualifies.
    • One of the remaining residents heard some weird noises and armed himself with a shotgun. He's the only one who's stuck around and seems to be doing just fine so long as he has his alcohol.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: About 90% of the way through the game, Carl comes across a strange ice wall that prompts a vision when he approaches it. There are four figures that the narrator describes as being hesitant to continue, but eventually walk forward and decide to pass on. It's somewhat implied that Carl, viewing the four memories in ice and completing the puzzles that they answered, had set their spirits free to pass on at all due to Unfinished Business that Carl finished for them.
  • Bland-Name Product: Quite a few of them. Boxes of items use the same color scheme and layout and real-world products with some name differences. Of particular note is Bellogg's Rice Crunchies and Apple Jacques.
  • Braving the Blizzard: In addition to solving a mystery, Carl also has to stay alive in a harsh blizzard.
  • Cat Scare: Most of the time if you hear something going on out there, it's a wolf scavenging a bit while your back was turned. Most wolves aren't even aggressive and will have only knocked over a few cups and plates then scamper away when you get within sight of them. Truth in Television; lone wolves avoid humans as much as possible.
  • Collection Sidequest: There's a number of them related to achievements:
    • Ten treasure hunts with handmade maps.
    • Three chess games that are one move away from checkmate.
    • Ten crossbow bolts to find and photograph.
    • Six protective talismans.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: The town mechanic is one, sending out signals to find aliens, and even has a homemade space saucer in his garage. There's an achievement for activating it.
  • Dirty Commies: The doctor is one. And he was being blackmailed about it. Given that the game takes place during the Red Scare, Truth in Television.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The narrator speaks in a calm voice the whole time almost like they're reading from a book. It's fitting for the part-noir vibe the story gives off, but this happens even during the stranger things that Carl encounters without getting too excitable. This includes occurrences such as getting sucked into an ice statue's memory, getting attacked by a spirit wolf, and getting the attention of the Wendigo itself.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Carl won't read a woman's diary unless it's important to his investigation.
  • First-Person Smartass: Carl's pretty snarky to himself.
  • From Bad to Worse: Carl's called in for vandalism, then gets stuck in a freak blizzard, finds his client dead, and most of the town is gone with hints in their homes that something's drastically wrong that isn't just their irritation with Hamilton coming to a head.
  • Heroof Another Story: The unnamed Native hunter who hunts the Wendigo to prevent the unnecessary slaughter. Carl find his notes in several places.
  • Hint System:
    • Enabling the narrator to comment on everything will give you this. If you leave a property without looking at everything - or at least without picking up an important item necessary for progression - the narrator will give a statement to the effect of "Carl felt there was something more to be gained". Leaving with everything you need will say instead something like "Carl felt satisfied with what he learned". There is lesser commentary modes where the narrator will only say the bare minimum for plot progression, or nothing at all.
    • The journal can be used as another if you're going for completion. Within the various sections, a "[?]" can be found for any piece of information that Carl is lacking, and the outline of a Polaroid photo if you need anything for photos, along with the section the photo goes in and by the piece of information it goes with. At no point will either hint tell you exactly what information you're missing, just that you are.
  • Hostile Weather: Heavy snowfall and lack of visibility due to sleet are a regular companion in this game.
  • Implacable Man: The Wendigo is completely immune to any earthly weapons, so all you can do is run away from it. There are achievements for trying to shoot it, though. As well as throwing a steak at it.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Carl has a certain weight limit he can carry at any one point, and everything has weight. You can put stuff into the back of his truck for storage, but no matter what or how much you put there, you're gonna have to ditch it at certain sections. At minimum, stuff for starting a fire is mandatory just to stave off blizzards, but a few pieces of equipment are also necessary, such as the hammer.
  • Kill It with Ice: The fate of most of the townspeople, courtesy of the Wendigo.
  • Late to the Party: Carl gets knocked out in a traffic accident at the beginning of the game. By the time he wakes up, it looks like he's the last living soul in town. It turns out the other driver was the guy who inadvertently caused the whole mess.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: At the end of the game, Carl unfreezes the Wendigo after the Native American hunter already defeated and froze it. Downplayed in that the town was already pretty much wiped out and the Wendigo doesn't seem like it's going to go on a rampage outside the town; it's only a threat to Carl himself, and he does manage to get away.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The only "living" things are Carl (the player), the occasional wolf, and a single resident who manages to be alive and still around. Encounters are so few and far enough in-between you're wandering a snow-covered abandoned ghost town in relative silence, leading to any shocks caused by those encounters to hit harder than if there were enemies everywhere.
  • P.O.V. Cam: The game occurs from Carl's perspective.
  • Private Investigator: Carl Faubert.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: You have a limited amount of resources needed to survive in the cold and deal with any physical threats you might come across while exploring the area.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: You find a revolver relatively early on in the game. It's evidence in a murder investigation, but also handy for fending off angry wolves. Makes sense given the time period as revolvers were still in relatively widespread general usage.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Brave turned himself into the Wendigo to avenge his lover who was killed in a hunting accident; however, the killer had already been killed by someone else, so unable to take his vengeance he ends up wiping out the town instead.
  • Sanity Meter: The stress meter. If Carl is in a state of high stress, he won't be able to sprint as far and he isn't as accurate with his weapons. Cigarettes will lower stress at the cost of a hit to health, while drinking does not hurt you but will get less effective if multiple are used in close succession.
  • Savage Wolves: The primary physical threat Carl faces in the game are a number of wolves wandering the area. They can be either avoided or engaged in combat. Later in the game, there are icy wolves that are servants of the Wendigo.
  • Save Point: One of the first things the game establishes is how to make a fire to stave off the cold. Making a fire functions as a save point, auto-saving the game and restoring Carl's heat and stress meters. Active firepits don't go out, so a house can be reentered to save again at any time.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When confronting the Wendigo, Carl can use his guns and attempt this. Nothing is effective and you can't do any damage, but you can get an achievement for trying the rifle.