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: Very Positive (794 reviews)
Release Date: Feb 22, 2013

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Buy Kentucky Route Zero - Season Pass

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

 

Recommended By Curators

"A powerfully evocative and beautiful subversion of point-and-click rote, but occasionally opaque and disorienting."
Read the full review here.

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

PC
Mac
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
Helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Truly incredible. Scary, smart, different. Amazing narrative. Act III was particularly remarkable. Can't wait for more.
Posted: October 17
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
I don't play many point and click games, but I really have to say that this is probably the best I've ever played. While technically barely a "game," its ability to draw emotion and bewilderment in equal amounts consistantly make it a memorable experiance-at least the first three acts have been. The soundtrack is also a must have.
Posted: October 11
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occured to you that you don't go on forever. Must have been shattering. Stamped into one's memory. And yet, I can't remember it. It never occured to me at all. We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it. Before we know that there are words. Out we come, bloodied and squawling, with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, theres only one direction. And time is its only measure.
Posted: October 17
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Great atmosphere. Interesting and silent quest.
Posted: October 5
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
6.2 hrs on record
Beautiful looking game, some interesting moments....... but ultimately pretty dull. I really enjoy adventure games, but this seems to be a case of style over substance.
Posted: October 2
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
This game is a piece of art. It makes you feel sad in a beautiful way as it wraps you up in a magical realist tale in the heart of the Bluegrass State.
Posted: October 13
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.4 hrs on record
Kentucky Route Zero takes you on a surreal journey like none that I've experienced in a long time. I especially like how the games shifts which character you control without telling you, but it always makes situational sense. This is truly an interactive story - beautifully woven narrative and some subtle and not-so-subtle imagery sprinkled throughout that makes you wonder what this story is really about. Do yourself a favor and go play it now.

Side Note: Playing this game makes me wish I had better reading comprehension skills. It's something I've struggled with my whole life, but this game in particular makes me wish I could process prose more completely. I'm absolutely certain that there are subtleties in the writing that I'm missing, but that doesn't make the game any less enjoyable.
Posted: October 1
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Maybe it's too early to write a review after playing Act 1 of 3, and more so when I'm not really sure what it was that I just played. I could compare it too Monkey Island or some other classic point and click adventure, but that wouldn't be really fair, as Kentucky Route Zero, isn't as much adventure as it seems to be a story... a story that you as the player control by making dialogue choices.
It could be the two glasses of wine, but the first act left me with a feeling of having started a game, equally fascinating and weird. Unless I make some kind of edit to this review, consider this my stamp of approval.
Posted: September 27
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
This is exactly how game could be if produced by someone like David Lynch :).

Strange, twisted, mystery and catching story with very nice atmosphere and art, both visual and sound/music.

Kind of materpiece adventure game for me.
Posted: October 24
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Buyer beware.

No matter how good reviews are for a "point & click adventure game", if that is NOT your thing...

Then you will not enjoy this game.

I really tried to like it, but you have to be in a very specific mood to be able to watch blocks move across your screen at the speed of snail. Sure, the designs are fantastic, but the dialogue is silly, and the characters are not very engaging, imo.
Posted: October 9
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Great game ...a work of art. Trying to find other games like this one.
Posted: September 30
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Captivating, mysterious, and eerie. Wasn't really sure what to expect going into this game, but was really surprised with how intrigued it left me. Would definitely recommend.
Posted: September 26
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
It's hard to call this a game, really - it's more of an interactive film. But what a film! The surreal and ever-mutable "script" reminds one of Charlie Kaufman and Neil Gaiman works without being an obvious ripoff. And the vector animation is brilliant, hearkening back to the old sega genesis classic Flashback, but far beyond it in execution. The scenes show unprecedented depth and the ambient soundtrack and fx are outstanding. It's the little things, like watching an office floor full of bears head-track your every movement, the fluid shifting of perspectives from character to character, or the subtle shimmer of every appearance of the word Zero on the screen that make this title just so damn interesting.

If you're looking for straightforward action/strategy/puzzles/etc, this title is probably not for you. On the surface, it's perhaps easy to overlook the the unspoken details of this experience - it's very light on exposition. But if you enjoy reading, indie films, and video games as I do, there's a really rewarding experience waiting for you. Let your brain be engaged in the story, and trust me, you'll love it.
Posted: September 26
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6 of 13 people (46%) found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
Really?
What an utter pile of nonsense like people gathering round a monkey painting in the tate modern and expression how spiritual this and that is and use of colour etc.
Before anyone tewlls me i shouldnt have bought this game because clearly im not clever enough or deep enough to understand it ,your right but im sure popping some LSD would help ./rant
Posted: September 26
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3 of 7 people (43%) found this review helpful
6.1 hrs on record
Sehr lange Pausen zwischen der Veröffentlichung der verschiedenen Teile. Rel. langatmig aber schönes Leveldesign.
Posted: September 27
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
there's an office building with a bear floor. what else do you need from a game, really?
Posted: September 25
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Truly it was magic when Junebug sang, the sadness of Conway and his future filled with any and all but the peace he desires most, Shannon is filled with uncertainty as to her future, perhaps without Conway. Ezra longs for the family he has lost and Jonny and Junebug just want to be their own kind of human.

You must play this, to live what they live, to see, hear, feel, and experience what they have is something never to be forgotten.

10/10
Posted: September 25
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
This whole game so far is like playing an interactive dream. Its so surreal, and has incredible depth. The story so far is intriguing as hell and also very captivating. Very much worth the price!
Posted: September 25
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Have you ever driven down a completely dark stretch of highway in the middle of the night? The entire world seems to shrink to exactly the size of your headlights illuminating the road. The nighttime is almost another country, one where it seems anything can happen.

Kentucky Route Zero takes this idea and runs with it. It evokes a sense of magical realism that permeates the game, and coupled with a fantastic, slightly-pixellated-but-not-really art style that reminds me of Sword & Sworcery, launching the game is an immersive experience, one that doesn't let up until the act is over.

You play as Conway, a deliveryman working for an antique company trying to find an address. As you might imagine, getting there isn't easy, and according to several of the characters around it requires travel on the Zero, a conceptual highway. The destination doesn't really matter in KRZ, though; as ever, it's the journey that's truly breathtaking.

Between story beats you can (and I wholeheartedly recommend) just drive around the little bit of Kentucky and explore all of the different sights, abandoned buildings with weird little encounters in them. These are where the game truly shines, the little vignettes that occur largely through text as you explore different areas. I wouldn't want to spoil any of them, but let me just say that they're not to be missed. Every time I finished one I felt this kind of Zen serenity, like I had just read a koan. Finishing an act is even more overwhelming, usually with something utterly fantastic happening, and I just had to sit for a good five to ten minutes sorting through it in my head.

I recommend Kentucky Route Zero, but only if you like a slow-paced, introspective, slightly weird experience,
Posted: September 25
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
This game is really weird and surreal, but in an interesting way. It's about death and searching for meaning in it. I think? I don't know. Give it a look.
Posted: September 26
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