Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition

released on Jan 28, 2020

Kentucky Route Zero is a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it. Gameplay is inspired by point-and-click adventure games (like the classic Monkey Island or King's Quest series, or more recently Telltale's Walking Dead series), but focused on characterization, atmosphere and storytelling rather than clever puzzles or challenges of skill.

The game is developed by Cardboard Computer (Jake Elliott, Tamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbitt), and features an original electronic score by Ben Babbitt along with a suite of old hymns & bluegrass standards recorded by The Bedquilt Ramblers.

Reviews View More

I always found myself rushing through games to finish them, but it's surprising how I took my time with Kentucky Route Zero -- absorbing the imagery, architecture, atmosphere, and the journey to Dogwood Drive. Despite watching and experiencing many surreal media and attempting to understand it, Kentucky Route Zero is a strange one since it's without a doubt an experience that wants you to absorb the amazing art direction (the developers of the game being art majors). Moments of the game strangely felt nostalgic, melancholic, and sad despite not understanding what was happening which felt perfect for the type of story Zero is; and will remain one of my favorite experiences in gaming.
Future Tips:
- Watching a playthrough of the game will cheapen the experience of Zero.
- If you have a Netflix subscription, it's free via a mobile app. If Steam & Switch & home consoles, it's usually on sale for an affordable deal.
- Take your time with each Act + Interlude and immerse yourself in its journey.
- No need to rush the journey to Dogwood Drive since it'll tell you where to go.
- Waiting for long intervals to play each Act helps to fully reflect about the experience.
- Enjoy the journey in a dim-light room, with earphones, and fall into the depths of the road to Zero.

"I have absolutely no idea what's going on" - Homer Simpson

I think this might be my favourite game of all time now. It will always haunt my subconscious and my dreams... The Zero runs through there. It runs through the Black Lodge. It runs through your drug trip. It runs through the ambient folk music that I listened to as a kid, feeling nostalgic for experiences I never had...
I'll sink someday in the Echo River, and when I do, at least I know where I'll be.

Just an amazing audiovisual experience. The theme of abandonment kept me exploring the game like an old, abandoned building. Some late game plot stuff went overly long, but really enjoyed myself. I'm sad that some things never got resolved, but that's just the way some of these things happen in real life.

I feel like this game tried a bit too hard to be abstract and different. I commend it for that, but it also kept me from being as invested in the characters, the story, or the world because of it.

One of those games that people like to mention as their favorite so that they can feel smarter than anyone else. It’s great that there are still video games that try to do something different and experiment with storytelling, but I can’t imagine anyone with a decent background in art and literature being blown away by this mediocre theatre script dressed up as a point-and-click. It would have been much more convincing as an art piece if the developers actually cared to work on the presentation. What’s the point of developing a game if 80% of the events are only described by walls of text without any visual support? The eerie atmosphere and surreal visions along the way are truly captivating, but unfortunately, constitute a very small portion of the game.