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Kena tips for combat and exploration

Kena: Bridge of Spirits
(Image credit: Ember Lab)

Some Kena tips can be helpful in confronting the restless spirits and corrupted forests of Bridge of Spirits' world. Kena provides a colourful, lightly-mythic landscape for players to explore, but without some help it may not be easy to rescue all the spirits out there. We’ve gone hunting through the wilderness to find all the best tips, strategies and gameplay advice to help you make it through safely, with care taken to avoid any real spoilers. If you’re having trouble getting through Bridge of Spirits, we’ve got some Kena tips and tricks for your survival here.

Kena length | Kena Rot locations | Kena Rot hats | Kena fishing shrine puzzle | Kena forgotten forest

Kena bridge of spirits pulse ability

(Image credit: Ember Lab)

1. Pulse often to trigger and reveal secrets

The very first ability you’ll get is a Pulse ability, a ripple of energy that emanates out from Kena. It serves multiple functions within the game, but the main purpose is to highlight certain points of interest and act as a kind of trigger for certain mechanics within the world. The best thing you can do is regularly set it off, especially if you’re not certain about where you should be going next, or if you find an object you don’t know (for example, buttons you stand on are triggered by activating a Pulse).

Kena Bridge of Spirits parry

(Image credit: Ember Lab)

2. Dodging is easier but parrying is worth learning

The Parry is a useful ability, but it’s incredibly hard to pull off, especially in the chaos of combat with multiple opponents. You can only do it by deflecting at the very last moment, and without a lot of practice you’re more likely to just either do a regular block or get hit by the attack. Far better to dodge, which costs nothing, has a long period of invincibility, and can help you escape from teams of enemies.

That being said, learn to practice the Parry in easier fights. If you’ve reduced the enemy numbers down to one and you have a lot of health, it might be worth just testing it on that last opponent. Remember, you have to activate it at the last possible moment, right when the attack makes contact with Kena, and it’ll stun the enemy, giving you a chance to retaliate. It’s not worth using a lot in the early game, but later on it can be a useful trick to know how to do, especially when it comes to dealing with boss fights who use massive or relentless attacks. A well-timed Parry can give you a moment’s breathing room against a boss, but it doesn’t really serve you well when up against smaller opponents.

Kena Bridge of Spirits courage meter

(Image credit: Ember Lab)

3 Use Rot Powers as soon as your Courage Meter allows

Much of Kena’s power centres around the Rot, little Pixar-eyed gremlins that follow her around and can perform certain actions. Your Rot Powers essentially act as special combat abilities, enabling you to power up attacks or restrict enemies. However, because the Rot aren’t especially brave, this is linked to the Courage Meter, the yellow circle in the lower left. Once it’s full, you can use a Rot Power, and you can refill it by hitting enemies with regular attacks or picking up the yellow Courage orbs they drop in combat. However, the reality is that Courage builds up very quickly, so rather than save your Rot Powers, it’s better to trigger them early and make the most out of them, especially if the fight is getting difficult.

Kena Bridge of Spirits purify plant

(Image credit: Ember Lab)

4. Destroy red plants to stop enemies spawning

Early on you’ll encounter a red, evil-looking plant called the Deadzone Heart, which you destroy to purify a section of the wilderness. Bridge of Spirits doesn’t make this clear, but these plants actually act as spawning points for certain enemies in combat. This means that if you don’t destroy them, they’ll keep creating enemies for you to fight. 

For this reason, destroying any Deadzone Hearts should be your first priority in a fight. Once your Courage meter is charged up, target the Heart with L2 and press Square to send the Rot at it, then Pulse with L1 to obliterate it. When you unlock the bow you can also shoot them.

Kena Bridge of Spirits purple rot plants

(Image credit: Ember Lab)

5 Look for the color purple to find more Rot

It sounds odd, but as part of the Bridge of Spirit’s style, the colour purple often indicates that there is Rot present. It’s not always guaranteed, but look for glowing purple runes (instead of the more common blue ones), or purple mushrooms and flowers. Inspect these areas and see if you can trigger anything with a Pulse. Your own personal Rot friend will move off your shoulder and settle anywhere it thinks you should explore closer, a better indicator of where more Rot is waiting. Your controller will also vibrate when close to hidden Rot, and later on in the game when you unlock the Masks, they can help you narrow it down even further by putting them on.

Kena Bridge of Spirits village map

(Image credit: Ember Lab)

6 Use the map to explore off the beaten path

The map won’t unlock until you’re a little way into Kena Bridge of Spirits, but once you have it, it can be a useful way to work out where you’ve been and where you need to go. Not only does it clearly mark your collectibles, but it clearly displays paths, buildings and locations of importance. If you’re not certain which of two paths is the right one to your destination, the map will likely make it clear, and help you make the decision about which is most important to you right now.

Kena Bridge of Spirits fox statue

(Image credit: Ember Lab)

7. Look out for fruit and statues to help you earn more XP

Karma is the currency you'll need to unlock more of Kena and the Rot's powers, and you'll get the majority from defeating bosses and clearing the corruption from the land. But you can also earn Karma through feeding your Rot and interacting with statues. Opening some wooden crates will cause purple fruit to burst forth for your hungry Rot to munch on, while elsewhere you can find bushes with blue fruit hanging on them. For these you'll need to pulse the bushes to make the fruit ripen before you can tell your Rot to go eat.

You'll also find small statues that you can tell your Rot to interact with. Fox statues just need to be stood back up, while usually owl statues will need to be transported in sets of three to glowing blue spots that will be nearby. These little puzzles are found quite regularly through the game and lucrative for a hit of Karma.

Joel Franey

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist and podcaster with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. Consequently he chooses to spend his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.