Nov 23, 2013I 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.… Expand
May 13, 2013Kentucky 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]
May 7, 2013Inspired 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]
May 6, 2013If 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.