Solve the mystery of a missing community in 1970’s Quebec, in the upcoming Kôna for the Oculus Rift.
There aren’t many games with a wholly original premise, but Kôna is one of them. Set in 1970’s Quebec during a long and cold winter, players take on the role of Carl Faubert, a war veteran turned private detective, who arrives in the town of Cree on request of the local community. They have been clashing with W. Hamilton, a rich copper mine magnate in the region, who has been accused of destroying sacred lands for the sole purpose of increased profits. When the player arrives at the start of the game, they find the entire community has vanished. Further investigations reveal W. Hamilton’s also also disappeared leaving his vast mansion empty. Things go from bad to worse as players battle to survive in the harsh, cold winter weather, adding survival elements to this adventure mystery game.
It sounds fascinating, and incredibly ambitious for a three-man team; but they appear to be pulling it off. Earlier today they managed to successfully fund a Kickstarter campaign, raising $44,271 CAD from 1,304 backers. They’ve also recently received Steam Greenlight. Even more impressive is the free demo, which gives players a chance to experience the game on both desktop monitors and the Oculus Rift DK2. So how does it play?
First impressions are good. You find yourself sitting in a truck; outside a snow storm rages sending blustering clouds of ice and fog across a forest landscape. Look down and you’ll see that you’re wearing a checkered top, with your hands resting comfortably on the steering wheel. As you accelerate into the storm there’s a nice sense of weight to the movement of the car, and the steering feels accurate and realistic. There’s a level of polish here that we rarely see in indie games, and we’ve only been playing for mere minutes.
As we drive through the storm a French narrator explains the story and events in real-time. On-screen subtitles are placed near the bottom of the lenses and are just about legitible, and soon we arrive at an abandoned road-side garage. That’s where the games mystery-adventure elements begin to kick-in. You’ll need to explore every nook and cranny of the garage to uncover clues and advance the story. To help you you’ll be able to pick up objects and interact with the environment, so lamps give you light, an empty petrol canister enables you to collect fuel from the pumps, and every drawer can be opened to reveal what’s been left behind.
There’s an uncanny sense that you’re actually exploring a wintery Quebec in the 1970’s, one that at times echoes Kubrick’s The Shining. It looks fantastic on the Oculus Rift DK2. Kôna was clearly designed with VR in-mind. When you look down you’ll see a body that’s fully animated, so when you climb out of the car your character actually grabs the door handle before opening it; it runs at 75FPS on our PC powered by a GeForce GTX 760, and the positional tracking feels natural and useful.
You can download the free demo of Kôna from the games Kickstarter page. It contains the first area of the game that we described above, but it’s enough to get a taste of the game and appreciate it’s unique take on the survival adventure genre. To run the game on your Oculus Rift DK2 follow these instructions:
- Set the Rift as the primary monitor in Extended mode
- Run Kona_DirectToRift.exe
- When the game starts, hit F10 for Rift mode
- Select language with Left / Right arrow keys, hit Enter to start game
If you enjoy the game then it’s not too late to pre-order it for $20 from the games website. Due Q2 2015, it promises to be an immersive and captivating adventure game for the Rift. We can’t wait to see more, and hope to bring you a full preview of the game closer to it’s release.