Kena Bridge of Spirits: Complete Controls Guide and Tips

We've got ALL the controls for Kena Bridge of Spirits along with tips to make you an expert.


Kena Bridge of Spirits is a beautiful game where you play as the namesake protagonist, Kena, a young Spirit Guide tasked with helping lingering spirits reach the next plane. She is as admirable as she is formidable, wielding her staff to inflict both physical and spirit damage. 

Kena also has a unique buddy system in the Rot, little black cherub-like creatures who assist Kena in battles, puzzles, and purification of decayed areas. The more Rot you reveal and collect, the more powerful they become. 


Below you will find all the controls for PlayStation. 

Note that the left and right joysticks are denoted as L and R, and pushing on either will be marked as L3 and R3. 

Kena: Bridge of Spirits Basic Controls

  • Move: L
  • Adjust Camera: R
  • Jump: X (press again for Double Jump)
  • Sprint: L3
  • Interact: Triangle (when icon appears)
  • Lock On: R3
  • Photo Mode: Up D-Pad↑
  • Use Mask: Left D-Pad (once acquired)
  • Sit with Rot: Right D-Pad
  • Disband Rot Cloud: Down D-Pad 
  • Spirit Pulse: L1
  • Spirit Shield: L1 (hold)
  • Light Attack/Rot Cloud Spin: R1 (Rot Cloud Spin/Slam with Forest Tear)
  • Heavy Attack/Rot Cloud Slam: R2 (hold for stronger attack)
  • Rot Action: Square (when icon visible and Rot Action available)
  • Aim Staff (Bow Mode): L2 (after bow mode is acquired)
  • Shoot Arrow: R2
  • Throw Bomb: R1 (once acquired)
  • Shoot Bomb: R2 (once acquired)
  • Jump (Ledge): X
  • Drop (Ledge): Circle

Kena Bridge of Spirits Tips

Knowing the controls is one thing, but learning how best to utilize them during gameplay is another challenge. Here are some tips to help make your gaming experience more successful.

1. Make use of Spirit Pulse constantly

Spirit Pulse (L1) may be the most important control in the game. When you hit L1, a pulse is sent out in a decent radius around Kena. This can reveal several things: Crystals (currency), fruit for the Rot that increases your Karma (specific to Upgrades), puzzles/doors due to the Spirit energy, and more. Using the Spirit Pulse is your best bet to finding every secret in the game.


Along with the Spirit Pulse, be sure to check every corner, nook, and even cliffside for all collectibles. The map will indicate how many total collectibles there are per category for each section of the map and how many you have collected. If you have found all of a certain category in a section of the map, the box will be colored red to indicate its completion. 

2. Study the Upgrades tree for Kena to prioritize your preferred style

Kena has a basic upgrades tree, four linear paths (two visible from the start) and a space for upgrades to the Rot. Karma is the currency you use for upgrades, collected from Rot eating fruit, purifying decayed areas, and other actions. Karma is more difficult to collect than Crystals, so be aware.

Note that any upgrade to Rot abilities, such as the pictured Rot Hammer, needs a Rot Action meter (the gold orb above your health/spirit bars) to complete. Otherwise, the action will be null. However, Rot Hammer, Rot Arrow, and other Rot actions are more powerful than Kena’s normal attacks, so it may be best to use them when surrounded by enemies or facing a boss like the difficult Wood Knight.


3. Practice the various functions of the Rot

When the Rot Action meter is full, you can send your accumulated Rot at an enemy. They are not there to fight, they are there to enable you to attack. The Rot will incapacitate the enemy for a few moments, allowing you to land a combo or two before the enemy (should they survive) lashes out and sends the Rot, and possibly you, flying. 

In boss fights or when facing the larger, faster enemies, using the Rot is the key to defeating them. The Wood Knight was only defeated after an hour of frustration led to the realization that the Rot were the avenue to defeat the formidable boss. 

While Rot Hammer and Rot Arrow are powerful attacks, in boss battles, the ability to restore the Rot Action meter are limited, so be judicious in how you use your Rot.

Further, Rot are integral to solving some puzzles. They can be directed to lift and move objects, many heavy, to certain areas. Sometimes, this gives you a space to climb to another area. Other times, it extends the range of your Spirit Pulse to reach distant gates, opening them in the process. Look for artwork with Rot if you are stuck in an area or having difficulty solving a puzzle. 

4. Purify and restore everything

As mentioned above, purifying decayed areas and defeating corrupted enemies adds valuable Karma for your use. Further, these purified areas will then become navigable for you to explore and find more secrets. To purify an area, you must defeat a couple of waves of enemies before the decayed flower will bloom, allowing you to use your Rot or Spirit Pulse to purify and destroy the degradation. 

In these new areas, look for upturned shrines which can be restored with the Rot; stone doors needing spirit energy to open; any ledges to climb; and (after obtaining the bow) any flowers to shoot for quick navigation to a new area, usually containing Crystals or a hidden Rot. These new areas will also lead to other spaces needing purification.

5. Make the Village your main hub

Everything comes back to the village. There are multiple barriers blocking your way that need a mask to proceed, the first of which is Taro, elder brother to Saiya and Beni, the two children you agree to help. There are many places within the Village that need purification, and the map shows that many collectibles reside within the Village. There is also a Rot Hat cart in the village (hats are needed for a Trophy).

One reason you want to return to the Village at times is to deliver Spirit Mail. A collectible shown on the map, Spirit Mail are messages left by those spirits still lingering, waiting to pass to the next plane. Once you collect Spirit Mail, the drop-off location will be listed on your map. In the Village, the barrier of the house will have a golden circle around it, and you deliver the mail by pressing Triangle at the mailbox. Once delivered, the house and surrounding area will purify, usually revealing a chest or two.

You can use Warp Shrines to quickly travel between areas you have visited and unlocked. This makes traveling between the Village and other areas less cumbersome. 

6. Use Spirit Masks to guide the way

Spirit Masks are both used to bypass certain barriers and to reveal the way. The various access points out of the Village are blocked by different colored barriers, each needing a different Spirit Mask to dissipate the barrier. You will receive Taro’s Mask from the Village Elder to advance the storyline. A barrier that can be accessed will have the mask filled in, and you simply walk up to the barrier and wear it.

To view your Spirit Masks, head to the Spirits tab in the menu. At first, you will only have Taro’s, but eventually, this is where you will choose and wap your masks. 

You will also notice that each Mask has associated memories, four for Taro for example. You will need to find all the memories for each mask to help that spirit pass. These memories are integral to the story and understanding the events preceding the start of the game.

The other function of the Spirit Mask is to guide your way. Should you don the mask while navigating, you will see a vision of the spirit plane. You will see little footprints for the Rot as well as a giant golden circle in the direction of your primary objective. The mask can also reveal hidden treasures.

7. Look for Forest Tears to clear corrupted spots

In your journeys, you will come across Forest Tears. These unique forms allow your Rot to coalesce into one form that can then spin or smash itself against decaying plants to clear space. This can clear a path or reveal a shrine/statue needing restoration.

The interesting thing about this mode is that the more Rot you collect, the more defined a shape it takes when you activate a Forest Tear. On your initial use of the Forest Tear, the Rot look more like an amorphous blob, but as you collect more, the blob becomes more of a head, then a body.

Navigating the Rot in this mode will take some time to adjust to, particularly when moving the character alongside. It may entice you to, anytime you see a Forest tear, scope out the area for exactly where you should take your amalgamated Rot and how you should clear the corruption.

This guide should give you an advantage in navigating and exploring the world of Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Now go out and become an expert Spirit Guide!


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Bruce L

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