Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. May 13, 2013
    87
    Kentucky Route Zero is basically a simple adventure game, but it's so achingly well put-together that it really becomes an experience like no other. Can't wait for the rest of the episodes! [May 2013]
  2. May 7, 2013
    70
    Inspired by traditional point’n’click games, Kentucky Route Zero steers clear of puzzles, picking up objects and using everything on everything else. Instead it offers a distinct mood comparable to Alan Wake. [CD-Action 05/2013, p.75]
  3. May 6, 2013
    70
    If you’re not into art house video games, steer clear of Kentucky Route Zero. And even if you’re always first in line to try some weird experience, wait until they release the remaining acts. Right now, it’s hard to say what this is: a breakthrough or a hyped-up bubble.
  4. Mar 20, 2013
    90
    The best moments arise when you stop to let it all sink in. It asks for attention rather than reflexes, and serves as a reminder that so few of these experiences exist.
  5. The first act of Kentucky Route Zero will take you about an hour to complete. It’s well worth your time to do a second play through and a third and maybe even a fourth just to experience what it’s like to live a life on the road.
  6. Mar 7, 2013
    80
    If the first episode is a fair indicator for the rest of the season, this could very well be 2013's The Walking Dead. [March 2013, p.88]
  7. 70
    It's not easy to score Kentucky Route Zero's first act. It's not an isolated product, as it sees itself as exposition to a much bigger narrative. Even though it succeeds marvelously in opening up the game, we don't know anything about where this "Lost Highway" will take us. Who didn't fall in love with this on first sight, should rather wait for the next few acts to come around before he decides if this is something for him. If you did though, get it. It may not have a lot of gameplay substance, but its atmosphere will suck you in quite like nothing else.
  8. Feb 23, 2013
    80
    This first segment is potent. [March 2013, p.106]
  9. Feb 11, 2013
    90
    A splendidly surreal experience, with astounding narrative and visual strength that can leave you repeatedly breathless in front of the screen even if it only lasts a couple of ours, tops. You don't very often see this quality of writing in videogames and you should not miss it, unless you hate these kinds of story focused experiences.
  10. Feb 8, 2013
    90
    Kentucky Route Zero is a beautiful and artistic piece of of work and I haven’t felt so strongly about a game since Silent Hill 2. After The Walking Dead made a case for powerful episodic narratives I found myself wanting something similar. I’m incredibly excited to see what the next four episodes will do.
  11. 75
    This is not a pure-blooded adventure game with strong puzzles and great challenges. Kentucky Route Zero can be best described as a well-written novel, with strong narrative elements, offering a different gaming experience. [February 2013]
  12. Feb 3, 2013
    80
    The graphics ooze style, and the tentative use of sound and music throughout the game is excellent. The story, while lacking in strong details, intrigued me to the point that I did not mind the lack of actual game to be found.
  13. Jan 30, 2013
    80
    Kentucky Route Zero is gorgeous, haunting and effecting. It's the kind of experience that's difficult to get out of your head once you've had it, and I'm hoping to go through and try different choices and paths for a chance to squeeze a little more out of this little chunk of the world.
  14. Jan 30, 2013
    80
    Kentucky Route Zero Act I is a marvelous travel between the future and the past of a strange man, with stunning visuals and an inspired OST. Many AAA developers could learn something about storytelling, playing this modern tale.
  15. Jan 29, 2013
    95
    Evokes the feeling of old ghost stories told around a campfire. There's the familiarity of friends and family around a warm, man-made fire, but with it comes the unnerving tale of the strange and unusual. Kentucky Route Zero is beautifully bizarre and perfectly poignant, and most of all, deserves your attention.
  16. Jan 28, 2013
    90
    As much a poem as it is a game, Kentucky Route Zero: Act I is the bizarre, lovely first leg of a road trip into the sad, strange heart of America.
  17. Jan 28, 2013
    80
    While puzzles are almost non-existent, that's fine since the momentum of the adventure isn't interrupted. It's also only an hour long, and at this stage after just one act, it's tough to predict if the subsequent pay-off will be worth the initial investment.
  18. Jan 27, 2013
    75
    I will end my review the same way I started it: Kentucky Route Zero is a very strange game. Although I did not enjoy it very much, I can see how it is a compelling piece of software. It is very artsy, very avant-garde, very surreal, and a very acquired taste.
  19. Jan 24, 2013
    75
    What starts as a classic point-and-click adventure soon becomes a surreal reading-trip for friends of the paradox.
  20. Jan 22, 2013
    80
    This is a unique and atmospheric experience. I highly recommend it, but be aware that you need to give it your full attention to get the most out of the game.
  21. Jan 22, 2013
    80
    A fascinating experiment in alternative storytelling, filled with bold new ideas and some stunning visuals and music.
  22. Jan 18, 2013
    80
    Its narrative is compelling, its writing thoughtful. The mechanics may be little more that a delivery mechanism for its story but Kentucky Route Zero's mysteries leave you wanting more. Fortunately, there's more to come.
  23. Jan 18, 2013
    90
    Gorgeous, atmospheric and utterly intriguing, Kentucky Route Zero is a fine example of all that is good about indie game development.
  24. Jan 17, 2013
    80
    While it remains to be seen if this level of quality can keep up over its five acts, Act I of Kentucky Route Zero is a beautiful, melancholy start to what should be a fantastic series.
  25. Jan 16, 2013
    84
    A powerfully evocative and beautiful subversion of point-and-click rote, but occasionally opaque and disorienting.
  26. Jan 12, 2013
    83
    As far as a first episode goes, Kentucky Route Zero establishes the setting, tone and characters better than I could have expected. I love that I'm still thinking about what exactly happened to Conway and company, and that intrigue has left me longing for the next piece of the tale.
  27. Jan 12, 2013
    70
    Kentucky Route Zero is a pleasure to look at and interact with, brimming with anxious memories and begging you to peer into the distance. And yet it also comes across as a bit underdeveloped.
  28. Jan 11, 2013
    80
    If you find yourself sometimes wondering if videogames are art, you should try Kentucky Route Zero. This adventure game gives you the reigns of the storytelling of an intriguing fantastical story.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 71 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 15
  2. Negative: 4 out of 15
  1. Jan 23, 2013
    10
    For those who fell in love with Dear Esther and Another World, this is one of those masterpieces that come up only once in decade. A must have. Stunning visual style and the sense of mystery drives you the whole time. Amazing. Simply outstanding! Full Review »
  2. Nov 23, 2013
    3
    I have to disagree with a lot of these other reviewers. With the exception that the art is wonderful, there's just not much to love. At first glance you might want to call the graphics retro, but they aren't. The game is heavily stylized with vector like graphics. Retro-like graphics applies more to games like Sword and Sorcery, Minecraft, or Fez.

    I was really ready to get into this, just the art would have been enough to hook me. However, now that I have actually played it, there is only 5 or 6 places you can go and look at. Even worse, you can't really explore, the path you take is rigid and uninviting. Two scenes you literally just stand there and stare (the airplane and the car accident). The other scenes are a gas station, a house, and a mine. There is no where else to go but these places. The gas station you can go into the basement, the house you can walk into, the mine has 3 tunnels, but only 1 tunnel has anything particularly interesting in it (creepy music). So with that in mind the graphics just are not much to speak of when they give you so little.

    I was almost ready to praise the over view map, but it disappointed me too. It is black and white and is the most retro looking thing in the game. At first I thought it would provide a nonlinear play through but when I went to places the game didn't tell me to go, the game would lock in way that looked like it was still working. Certain events weren't triggering and that caused the game to just freeze with inescapable animation running. This happened 8 times! The first few lock ups I was trying to explore, but after that I gave up and stuck to the course. But it still locked up even when I wasn't trying too hard. At one point I restarted the game, looked at the dog, and clicked on my truck and it locked up. There is a problem when you need to restart twice in less than a minute.

    Another issue is the fact that certain places are pure text adventure. It just seems kind of lazy to fall back on this. The game is designed so rigidly that it plays like a text adventure despite the graphics, which gives you that retro feel to it, but only half the scenes are fully modeled the rest are text. You can go to a bait shop, a museum, and a church but it just plays through text. More over, the creepiest things happen at these places. This just makes an incomplete game feel even more incomplete.

    The pace was also a pain. For a game that's an hour and a half long, you would think the padding would be at a minimum but no. Moving around is slow. It takes a while to walk anywhere, and driving requires moving through winding roads and is also slow. At one point you ride a rail cart and guess what, it's slow. The house you need to visit has a zigzag path for no apparent reason other than to make you click a few more times and wait. You would think the lethargic pace up to this point would be enough, but your character twists his ankle and has to drag his foot in a now completely apathetic pace. The game has about 15 minutes of content and 75 minutes of waddling to your destination.

    The other reviewers seem to find everything creepy. But the story is so short it hardly gave me a chance to be creeped out. There's just not much here. I could spoil every detail in the game in about four sentences. The amount of plot that takes place in the game would barely cover a post it note. You find out about the history of a mine, you find out about the past and problems of two sisters, and you find out the old job of some guy you meet. THAT IS IT. That's the plot. The creepy parts come in with some ghostly things happening and the background audio. But it's all so thinly veiled, I was expecting creepier things to come later, but they never did. If you are looking for creepy, play Year Walk.

    The sense of mystery is also non-exist, likely caused by the lack of motivation. You play as a delivery man that's out in the middle of no where looking for a non-existent address. Your character is told to go to another house to get directions. But the directions aren't quite right, so you explore a mine. Then you go to a bait shop, you wonder around for a bit, back to the gas station, then back to the house. Why you did any of this makes no sense. The game seems like it is aiming for a Twin Peaks style, but falls extremely short. If the game wasn't segmented into tiny parts I might of been able to find something I liked.

    So there is a few take aways from this review. Don't approach Kentucky Route Zero like a game, it's more of a book that can crash if you don't turn to the right page. Second, be prepared for an extremely short game, shorter than portal, shorter than the Stanley Parable, shorter than Mario Bros when you take that warp pipe to world 8. It's short. Finally, for the most enjoyable experience, just watch a video of someone else playing, because, as some one who has already played it, the player will only get in the way of the story development.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 3, 2013
    5
    Kentucky Route Zero is certainly a memorable experience but I simply cannot overlook how absurdly expensive it is. It's a five-act game where the first act can be completed in an hour, and that's if you take your time and explore absolutely everything, so it would be reasonable to assume that you're paying 18 euros for five hours of gameplay and you don't even get all five hours at once. And I'm not sure if the term "gameplay" is even correct here since this is very much an interactive story and it's not obvious if your dialogue choices affect anything at all. It's a fascinating start to what might turn out to be a truly memorable story, but I'd strongly advise waiting until the game is complete and the price is much, much lower. Or you can watch someone else play it and have pretty much the same experience. Full Review »