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. Developed by Cardboard Computer (Jake Elliott and Tamas Kemenczy), the game features an original score by Ben Babbitt, along with a suite of old hymns and bluegrass standards recorded by...
User reviews:
Recent:
Mixed (20 reviews) - 65% of the 20 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (1,172 reviews) - 87% of the 1,172 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 22, 2013

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All Five Episodes of Ketucky Route Zero will be automatically available upon their release

 

Reviews

"Smart, thoughtful, sweet and incredibly well crafted – it’s the perfect game to play in the small hours of a lonely night. Be warned though; it’ll leave you hungry for unknown roads and longing for an invitation to the blues."
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

"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."

9.5 - Destructoid

"However you respond to its ethereal imagery, this is a game which makes a rare suggestion: who a player is may be more important than what they do."

84/100 - PC Gamer

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About This Game

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.

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

The game is split into five acts. Acts I, II and III are available now. The remaining two acts will be released as they're completed. Taken as a whole, Kentucky Route Zero is roughly the length of a summer night.

Key Features

  • A focus on characterization, atmosphere and storytelling rather than clever puzzles or challenges of skill.
  • A unique art treatment inspired by theatrical set design.
  • A haunting score accompanies the ambient sounds of the bluegrass state.
  • Wander the highways of Kentucky.
  • Make some friends before morning.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS:Windows 7
    • Processor:1 GHz
    • Memory:512 MB RAM
    • Graphics:Directx 9.0c compatible video card
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:250 MB HD space
    • Sound:Sound card
    Recommended:
    • OS:Windows 7
    • Processor:1 GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Directx 9.0c compatible video card
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:250 MB HD space
    • Sound:Sound card
    Minimum:
    • OS:OSX 10.5 Leopard
    • Processor:1 GHz CPU
    • Memory:512 MB RAM
    • Graphics:OpenGL 3.0+ compatible video card
    • Hard Drive:250 MB HD space
    • Sound:Sound card
    Minimum:
    • Processor:1 GHz CPU
    • Memory:512 MB RAM
    • Graphics:OpenGL 3.0+ compatible video card
    • Hard Drive:250 MB HD space
    • Sound:Sound card
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Mixed (20 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (1,172 reviews)
Recently Posted
Red Roberto
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 2
Still not finished huh? BOOOOO!!!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Zaalbar - 愛の戦士
( 6.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 2
Surreal magical-realist adventure with fantastic atmosphere and writing. Note that it is currently missing two chapters and they are rather slow in coming out, but still worth experiencing. One of my favorite indie games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Yohei
( 5.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 1
This is one of the few games that I have played that has stuck with me in my idle thoughts over the years. If you can endure the wait for the finished game, or pick it up when it is completely out, well worth it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
lesarch
( 5.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
Mysterious. Like where's-act-4? mysterious
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Bonzilla
( 1.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 20
It's taking forever for episode 4 and 5, but I still haven't even played 2 yet because of how badly I never want this series to end. I think that about sums it up. Truly phenominal and haunting.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Basiden
( 0.8 hrs on record )
Posted: April 19
We will likely colonize Mars before this game gets close to complete. It's been 5 months since the developers said Act 4 was "almost done" and almost two years since the last act was released. I get that they're a tiny studio, but this game is dead in the water, and I really regret spending money on it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
_E.J.ED_
( 3.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 18
REALLY GOOOD/ 10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
.Adriansun - Iris wanted
( 8.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 16
The graphics. The art. The special effects. The sound. The soundtrack. The story.

Wow.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
jointhesaga
( 27.9 hrs on record )
Posted: April 15
Quite enjoyed this artful narrative experience, but eager to see the next installment!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
STuNNin
( 14.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 13
I have to agree with some prior reviews, playing this game is like dreaming, it's interesting making so much sense and no sense, so as-a-matter-of-factly that you can't help but continue the story. You craft it and it happpens in the past, present, and future simultaneously. Brilliantly done. I put this down and picked it up to play it WHEN THE TIME SUITED. There is no need to rush through this game at all, in fact it's deliberately fast and slow when it needs to be, but to truely enjoy this game, play it when you feel between things or overwhlemed. It's a calming, intriguing experience. Yeah it has only 3 of the 5 Acts supposedly out, but to be honest, with a game like this, I kind of don't need closure because the experience is in the journey and the state thats achieved with the first 3 Acts. Dreams don't have definitive beginnings or ends, there's really just what you get out of what you did know you experienced, right?

Can...wait for the next Acts.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
real human pleb
( 4.8 hrs on record )
Posted: April 10
dream is a destiny

so is krz.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
louis_mallow
( 5.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 7
It's a pity the last two chapters are extremely unlikely to appear now. I paid full price and only feel slightly put out, and that only because the first three chapter are so very good. Buy it regardless, dim the lights and play it with headphones on.

This game has given me some of the best moments in my gaming. It actually manages to capture that dream state where the world is magical and urgent and panicky, and you run in circles after an errand that keeps getting in its own way, and the world sort of makes sense if you don't examine it closely, but isn't your daily world at all. That's the best I can describe the feeling - this game makes you experience it.

Every so often some little set piece just takes your breath away, then you look around and realise you were really *gone*: zoned out. It's beautiful.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sonja
( 6.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 4
Hi there! I absolutely adore KR0, and I want to lend any of you that are on the fence some clarity on things people are saying, some advice, and lastly, my thoughts.

1. Acts Taking A Long Time To Put Out - Yes, this is a thing that's happening, and we all really hate waiting. However, KR0 is detailed, complex, and very thorough, so I'd imagine it would take a very long time to produce something of its caliber. As well, Cardboard Computer supplies fans with material proving they're working hard on their Twitter, so follow them if you want to stay hyped.

2. Pacing Within Episodes - I'm a really impatient person. That's just who I am. So, when I first played through, there were days when KR0 got on my nerves for being so wordy. What did I do? I closed the game, played something else, and then when I felt more patient and peaceful, I opened it back up and really enjoyed a complete, immersive experience.

3. Things I Like - The music is pretty darn great. Three thumbs up out of two. Writing, of course, is poetic and enchanting. Atmosphere blends emotional response with underlying calmness. Characters are lovable as all heck. (Extra: Their names are all quite memorable, which makes things really nice and easy.) Art direction and emotion-based scenery choices are all really tasteful for the kind of story the game is telling.

4. Things I Dislike - I have a natural distaste for point-and-click games. My index finger gets tired, the sound of the clicking gets on my nerves, and it just results in me not being able to play. However, the controller integration is complete, purposeful, and well done, which made *all* the difference.

All in all, if you need an atmosphere to hang out in, or if you need escape, enchantment, enlightening, Equus Oils, or giant eagles, then I'd suggest giving this game a look. Get ready to be swept away.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
xmas.snoopy
( 19.1 hrs on record )
Posted: March 28
Way too long between episodes. Don't bother buying until they finish it. Episode III was released in 2014, and it's now several months into 2016 and episode IV is not yet out, despite being "almost complete" since the last developer update in November.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Gunzberg
( 4.4 hrs on record )
Posted: March 28
One of the most boring, pretentious and pointless "games" I have played in over 20 years of gaming. Extremely slow, dull, plodding with no valid content or point. Drags forever, has nothing to say and is a typical highly overrated arty-farty turd.

It has some nice songs, which you can listen to on Youtube but for the love of life, save your money, time and sanity and stay away from this pile of hipster dung.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
homeros
( 3.9 hrs on record )
Posted: March 24
I've finished all the episodes that were released but at this point I can't remember when I purchased or played them (feels like it's 1 or 2 years). I can't even remember the story (vaguely recall the main character) and won't bother playing if remaining episodes come out (which probably won't).
Helpful? Yes No Funny
G.Wellian
( 35.8 hrs on record )
Posted: March 23
Tried playing this game twice through. Both times hit a game breaking glitch where the storyline would not progress in Act 3. Once at the start of Act 3, and once in Act 3, Scene XII.

Besides the above, the story is free flow marginally directed story. But the story is SO convoluted that you're just spending your mental capacity trying to connect the dots. Which are so scantly connecting that it makes it almost not worth playing.

It has unique down-home comfy acoustics and visual presentation, which gave me a novel enjoyment, and why I even attempted a second playthrough... But the negatives, sadly, do not outweight the positives.

P.S.- Note this game is not even complete as released. They are still developing the farther acts that will complete the convoluted story.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
benthedean
( 6.9 hrs on record )
Posted: March 21
This is such a strange game. The pixel art style is beautiful and the whole game has an atmosphere that you can almost taste (it tastes like bourbon and sadness). The ending (at least the one I got, I don't know if there are multiple endings) had be thinking, "WHAT?! THAT'S IT?" I might have to play the game again later and see if I can get a different outcome.

I recommend this game for anyone that likes a good story and a meandering adventure game. Oh also the music is fantastic.

EDIT: The reaction to the "ending" was after completing Act 3 out of 5 (all that was available at this point in time). I'm sure there will be more of a conclusion with ... the conclusion :)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
TristanMike
( 2.9 hrs on record )
Posted: March 20
I'm going to have to side with the "Don't buy until finished" camp. Over 3 years and still incomplete on a 5 Episode game with only 3 of the 5 released at the time of this writing. I'm not sure any game can possibly deliver a satisfying experience when leaving customers waiting so long. I must say I am very disappointed in Cardboard Computer not being much more upfront about their incredibly, insanely long development cycle. Had I known, I would have held off until the complete experience was ready. I mean, we're not talking a few months between content, we're talking almost 2 years waiting for a single episode.

Though I don't feel that Cardboard Computer are scamming people, I do feel they are slightly 'shady' and I think they should be a little more upfront with the community and provide a little more contact. I'll happily update my 'review' in 3 years when the game is finished.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Feanor
( 3.4 hrs on record )
Posted: March 17
You've got to walk
That lonesome valley
You've got to walk it by yourself
There's no one here
That can go there with you
You've got to walk it by yourself...

Let me get it out of the way that this is a very straightforward adventure game, to the point that I would call it an interactive story, rather than an adventure game. It is still phenomenal and should not be missed.

The Great Recession, from which Boomers and Millenials still bear scars, sets the stage for Kentucky Route Zero. Conway is a lone truck driver with nothing to his name but his aging dog, working one last delivery for an antique shop. The delivery goes to an address he cannot find, which requires finding the enigmatic highway, Kentucky Route Zero, which is the only highway that goes *under* the state. On the way he meets Shannon, a woman whose family has been ruined by the local coal mine closing down. Together they find the highway. And well, things get strange.

Basic polygonal artwork is used to an incredible effect, combining fog, lighting and basic visual effects to create a dark, gloomy depiction of the deep south. Music is miniumal and atmospheric, until bluegrass singers add to the mood at perfect moments. There are no voices other than the singing, and dialog is entirely text based, telling a story combining fantastical Americana with crushing tales of the American Nightmare historical and modern. A majority of the adult characters are crushed by debt and financial troubles, a recurring theme.

The story is five chapters, only three are available and the fourth is now being teased. The team is only an indie studio of two, and this deserves support. It is not long, and each chapter will leave you wanting more. Buy this, turn the lights low, enjoy the journey and think about your life while you do it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 19
We will likely colonize Mars before this game gets close to complete. It's been 5 months since the developers said Act 4 was "almost done" and almost two years since the last act was released. I get that they're a tiny studio, but this game is dead in the water, and I really regret spending money on it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 1
This is one of the few games that I have played that has stuck with me in my idle thoughts over the years. If you can endure the wait for the finished game, or pick it up when it is completely out, well worth it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
Surreal magical-realist adventure with fantastic atmosphere and writing. Note that it is currently missing two chapters and they are rather slow in coming out, but still worth experiencing. One of my favorite indie games.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
Still not finished huh? BOOOOO!!!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Recommended
27.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 15
Quite enjoyed this artful narrative experience, but eager to see the next installment!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 10
dream is a destiny

so is krz.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
14.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 13
I have to agree with some prior reviews, playing this game is like dreaming, it's interesting making so much sense and no sense, so as-a-matter-of-factly that you can't help but continue the story. You craft it and it happpens in the past, present, and future simultaneously. Brilliantly done. I put this down and picked it up to play it WHEN THE TIME SUITED. There is no need to rush through this game at all, in fact it's deliberately fast and slow when it needs to be, but to truely enjoy this game, play it when you feel between things or overwhlemed. It's a calming, intriguing experience. Yeah it has only 3 of the 5 Acts supposedly out, but to be honest, with a game like this, I kind of don't need closure because the experience is in the journey and the state thats achieved with the first 3 Acts. Dreams don't have definitive beginnings or ends, there's really just what you get out of what you did know you experienced, right?

Can...wait for the next Acts.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 16
The graphics. The art. The special effects. The sound. The soundtrack. The story.

Wow.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 20
It's taking forever for episode 4 and 5, but I still haven't even played 2 yet because of how badly I never want this series to end. I think that about sums it up. Truly phenominal and haunting.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
21 of 29 people (72%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 20
I'm going to have to side with the "Don't buy until finished" camp. Over 3 years and still incomplete on a 5 Episode game with only 3 of the 5 released at the time of this writing. I'm not sure any game can possibly deliver a satisfying experience when leaving customers waiting so long. I must say I am very disappointed in Cardboard Computer not being much more upfront about their incredibly, insanely long development cycle. Had I known, I would have held off until the complete experience was ready. I mean, we're not talking a few months between content, we're talking almost 2 years waiting for a single episode.

Though I don't feel that Cardboard Computer are scamming people, I do feel they are slightly 'shady' and I think they should be a little more upfront with the community and provide a little more contact. I'll happily update my 'review' in 3 years when the game is finished.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
19 of 33 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 9
I absolutely loved this game, but this is clearly abandonware and is not worth buying a season pass at full price. Avoid it if you can.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 26
Tried to phone the company to get a refund but my antique phone only dials one number
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
35.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 23
Tried playing this game twice through. Both times hit a game breaking glitch where the storyline would not progress in Act 3. Once at the start of Act 3, and once in Act 3, Scene XII.

Besides the above, the story is free flow marginally directed story. But the story is SO convoluted that you're just spending your mental capacity trying to connect the dots. Which are so scantly connecting that it makes it almost not worth playing.

It has unique down-home comfy acoustics and visual presentation, which gave me a novel enjoyment, and why I even attempted a second playthrough... But the negatives, sadly, do not outweight the positives.

P.S.- Note this game is not even complete as released. They are still developing the farther acts that will complete the convoluted story.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
19.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 28
Way too long between episodes. Don't bother buying until they finish it. Episode III was released in 2014, and it's now several months into 2016 and episode IV is not yet out, despite being "almost complete" since the last developer update in November.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 24
I've finished all the episodes that were released but at this point I can't remember when I purchased or played them (feels like it's 1 or 2 years). I can't even remember the story (vaguely recall the main character) and won't bother playing if remaining episodes come out (which probably won't).
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 15 people (53%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 28
One of the most boring, pretentious and pointless "games" I have played in over 20 years of gaming. Extremely slow, dull, plodding with no valid content or point. Drags forever, has nothing to say and is a typical highly overrated arty-farty turd.

It has some nice songs, which you can listen to on Youtube but for the love of life, save your money, time and sanity and stay away from this pile of hipster dung.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 180 days
74 of 92 people (80%) found this review helpful
13 people found this review funny
Recommended
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2015
If Franz Kafka watched too much Twin Peaks and had a drunken dream about it, this would be it.

My suggestion is to get the game on sale and enjoy the first 3 chapters. They are incredibly well done, a rare bit of gaming art. If the other two chapters ever come out, consider it a bonus.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
51 of 68 people (75%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 23, 2015
Beautiful. Surreal. Mysterious. This is one of the kinds of games you can play after a long day of work to chill and ponder the meaning of life.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
22 of 29 people (76%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
I am utterly in love with this game. Sure the episodes are short, and sure the wait between them is long, but playing this is like dreaming, and I just don't want to wake up.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
11 of 17 people (65%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 12, 2015
There's a running argument about whether games can be art.

KR0 suggests a new argument: whether games can be literature.

There's a depth to the writing in KR0 that outshines what you usually see in games by a tremendous margin. Part of that depth is the stubborn refusal to outright explain any of its themes, a decision in stark contrast to how most games choose to make absolutely sure that the player does not miss the Important Message, no matter how little they are actually paying attention.

Almost nothing in KR0 is without purpose or meaning. Do not take anything at face value. KR0 has a very high level of difficulty, but of a kind that's not usually found in games.
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