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.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (47 reviews) - 85% of the 47 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (1,295 reviews) - 85% of the 1,295 user reviews for this game are positive.
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

 

Recent updates View all (1)

July 20

Act IV Available Now!



Howdy!

We’re happy (and more than a little relieved) to let you know that Act IV is done & ready to play. This has been a challenging process for us, but we’re excited about the work and eager to share it with you.

Here’s an observational trailer for Act IV.

49 comments Read more

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

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.

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.

The game is split into five acts. Acts I, II, III, and IV are available now. The remaining act will be released when it's 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:
Very Positive (47 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (1,295 reviews)
Recently Posted
Super Roxxapo
1.7 hrs
Posted: August 24
Played first chapter, liked it. Not gonna play the rest until chapter 5 (the final chapter) is released.
I liked it but I don't want to forget all the previous parts of the game by the time 5 is out so I'm gonna wait to pass full judgement on the game.

Chapter one is a 10/10 though.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
crecente
2.1 hrs
Posted: August 24
I've just finished two chapters and wish I could stay right where I am: fascinated - intrigued - puzzled - pleased.

I have so many thoughts about where we are going and want to hold onto those potential outcomes. But there is so much to appreciate that I have to move ahead.

This game highlights how much more video games can be compared to other forms of media.

Brilliant.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
La Tyrant Yet Pry
9.0 hrs
Posted: August 22
Experiencing Kentucky Route Zero is like watching a dream when you're wide awake, the odd shapes and combonation of muted and vibrant colors along with the interesting characters you'll meet have a habit of making the rest of the world fade away leaving only Kentucky Route Zero in you're attention.

I bought what i consider to be an interactive novel at full price and have no regretted it once so far, however i need to make this clear that i did have several crashes but they've been very far and few between.

I would recommend going into this journey with a slow and meticulous attitude as this is by no means a fast paced adventure.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
muVor
3.5 hrs
Posted: August 20
Best narrative driven game ever, won't fit everyone but this has to be one of my favorites!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Nikagor
0.4 hrs
Posted: August 20
I can't get into this game, I like games with story, heck I loved day of the tentacle and the telltale games, the dig, there are a bunch of, sadly msotly older, point and click adventures out there that makes you hunger for more, but this game is simply..boring.

For example the first guy you meet you can randomly ask him if he likes poetry, that makes no sense at this stage of the conversation, however later one you find out he uses peotry as a password, the longest password in the existance of mankind I guess, nothing you do or say seems to change the outcome either, sure you can give your dog a name and gender, but it has no impact on what is happening, sure you can create your "own" story along, but I still have the feeeling that nothing matters.

What is worse is that I have the feeling this game is the classic "you were dead all along" you can visit a crashsite if you drive were you came from and your character even muses about how "atleast it wasn't us" then people disappearing in seconds, the hard cuts that take away all immersion just to potray another titlecard to show you a new act began.

The game doesn't have the draw for me, I have the feeling at the end its just going to be a boring cliche ending, because I do not trust the writters to come up with something original and because of that I'm simply not willing to invest more time into it.
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carlphudson
4.1 hrs
Posted: August 19
Because this game is a point and click, it pretty much relies entirely on its presentation and its story. The former is great mix of Americana and a sort of modernized 16-bit-ish art style. The story though--honestly, it isn't good. It isn't coherent. There are some great set pieces, but four acts in, the game keeps adding new plotlines without resolving things that were brought up in any of the previous acts. There is a chance that Act 5 will tie things up, or that a full playthrough would make easier to understand, but at this point I'm not going to hold my breath on it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
henrywiddas
14.4 hrs
Posted: August 19
slightly haunting and sad but i'll be damned if i know why

just play it and don't try to understand it to get a very worthwhile experience
Helpful? Yes No Funny
nhdkentun
8.2 hrs
Posted: August 19
This game reminds me of True Detective, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and my school days in architecture... Ah better times
Helpful? Yes No Funny
n3lm4r
0.7 hrs
Posted: August 18
A slow burning, moving and surreal story of people and journies. Beutiful visuals, stunning narration and some thoroughly believable characters make for a haunting and unforgetable adventure through the secret highways of a melancholy story. Witty, well paced and moving, this experience is absolutely worth your time.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
$W49000
10.0 hrs
Posted: August 17
Not that I hate this game: but holy crap is it a slog (maybe that's the point?). Don't get me wrong, maybe it's worth playing: I mean it's gorgeous and it has some really great moments (Lynette breakfast, Cate almost dying from a m---------e, robots singing in b-r) but the rest is like a boring co-worker non sequitir stories at me (also, maybe the point). Dunno, maybe I'm just dumb... maybe it will win me over with the next act?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 30
This review covers Acts I-IV.
KRZ is a strange game that seems to break normal convention for games, that is, making a choice to then experience consquences later down the line. In this way it doesn't feel very game-y. In fact it makes me feel rather helpless compared to, let's say, when I'm playing Deus Ex. I'm not sure if my choices matter all that much but playing this game has taught me to be more okay with just letting things be.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
14.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
A dream-like text-heavy adventure with art unlike anything I've seen in a game, audio that takes you to another place and poetic choose-your-own-adventure-esque writing.

I, for one, am thrilled at the gap between episodes. Great work, games especially, take time and nothing good comes from rushing it.
Plus, if it were out and over two years ago I wouldn't have the pleasure of coming back to the world of KRZ every year or so.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
27.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
Kentucky Route Zero is the most bewitching, intriguing, thought-provoking, and simply beautiful piece of interactive media I've come across in years. Many criticisms have been levelled against the protracted development time, which is both a weakness (unclear communication) and strength (opportunity to revisit, the release of interludes) of the episodic nature of the game. Now that 4 out of the 5 planned Acts have been released, it's a perfect time to pick it up and dig in. With the recent release of Act IV, it's clear how much care and detail has been put into each successive release - including a major revamping of the engine. Small choices and decisions from each Act carry through in unexpected ways, combining exponentially to create both subtle and major changes in each playthrough. The writing is simply great, too - probably the finest example of Telltale-style narrative choice out there. Every option you don't pick adds flavor to the world, its characters, and their motivations.

The game opens up a few times each Act, letting you explore the roads of Kentucky and the mysterious roads & rivers beneath it. Tons of hidden encounters and locations can be found in these parts, completely missable if you choose to rush through. Many places can be revisited, with some surprising changes to be found. It's really a joy to replay and uncover these secrets, choose different paths in conversations, pick up on new threads and connections each time. The game's themes of memory, loss, debt, place, identity...are really embedded everywhere you look. I get a kick out of all of the references and influences, too: historical, architectural, artistic, early poetic computation, stagecraft and set design - not pretentious, just added depth & flavor.

A Few Situations You Might Encounter Playing Kentucky Route Zero:
- Performing recorded found sounds at a theremin concert on a houseboat.
- Playing a text adventure simulating the creation of the archaic supercomputer you're playing it on.
- Picking mushrooms on an artificial island of cypress trees.
- Exploring a museum of domeciles, mostly inhabited.
- Touring a subterranean whiskey distillery underneath a church burial ground.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
31.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 6
The game has a great score thanks to its composer and performer Ben Babbitt and his friends. It's really one of the nicest scores i've ever heard, I even enjoy listening to most ambient pieces seperately from the game. What make it better are some nice covers of classic bluegrass songs. I've rarely heard this type of music before, but I still find it pleasing to listen to and to understand it via the context of Kenucky Route Zero themes.
I think, at this point Kentucky Route Zero is worth its price just for its music alone.

I don't see much point in mentioning such things as narrative and quality of writing, lore, art style and locations, random things and details and the way gameplay works, since I can't add anything worthwhile to what other people already said. Overall, Kentucky Route Zero is a great package. I keep returning to it, exploring it from the beginning once each new act is released, and I always find new details about its story and lore and new awesome scenes, locations, etc. Even if the fifth act won't be ever released, I still feel like I've got more from it than I paid for.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
When I first started playing this game I was kind of thiking, wtf is going on. You have a truck driver and his dog looking for a mysterious highway that seems to be a portal for all things strange. Along the way he meets some odd characters with even odder stories.

I'm a huge fan of strange and random stories, and this plays out similar to a Douglas Adams novel. A lot of it isn't going to make sense, but who cares? Its fun and does at times make you think about abstract ideas. The graphics aren't reviting, but its really an art form in itself with shadows and some intense music. That scene with Junebug at the bar singing was amazing. I really hope that is implemented again (I haven't played Act 4 because I want to do a full playthrough again).

I don't often like replaying games, but I will make an exception for this game. I love the idea behind it and will definetly support any games in the future by Cardboard Computer (what an appropriate name for the makers of this game). The only thing that upsets me is having to wait another couple years for the last act. So sad. I will have to replay YouTube videos of Junebug singing in the meanwhile.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
16.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
I dont say this lightly, but Kentucky Route Zero is the best point and click adventure game of all time.

This is the kind of game that transcends everything that has come before it in its genre to create something truly special and poignant.
And it does it with such confidence and creativity in itself, that it doesnt even require gameplay mechanics like puzzles, branching story paths or platforming and combat segments to somehow justify it being a videogame.

And make no mistake, this is a videogame, something that cant be achieved in any other medium, and dont let anyone try to tell you otherwise.

Boasting a gorgeous artstyle and aestethic, Kentucky is transformed into a feverish purgatory Lynchian dream dealing with themes of loss, grief, nostalgia, regret, memory and longing, creating one of the most mature and well written stories I have had the pleasure to experience.

I know im being very vague about this game, but thats because I want you to go into this game fully blind as I did, and be surprised by what you find.
Take your time with it, explore every nook and cranny, and let yourself immerse in this beautiful tour de force.

And dont get dissuaded by the people angry that the episodes are taking more time to be released than what was promised initially. Once you play it, you will understand perfectly why these devs take their precious time with each episode.
I have no problem with waiting for another episode if it will be of the calibre of the 4 before it, and I now wait patiently for the final resolution of this amazing experience.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 13
This game is beyond amazing. The updates have been a bit slow as other people have mentioned - and it saddens me that some would not recommend the game because of this - but are well worth it! They're just making sure that it's done right. And, let me tell you, the game is an absolute master piece. Wonderfully weird and meandering with an ever expanding cast of characters with their own stories and losses coming together and coming apart and coming together again (sometimes.) It is one of those games that is more a visual novel than anything. (Though I would say it's more than that, it's an entire experience.) There are a million little stories told through the characters. Bizarre stories always, sad stories most of the time, always feeling like they're maybe on the edge of some deep meaning. And the dialogue options allow you to take a part in this story telling and guide what happened to the characters. The latest chapter especially allows more freedom, I think, in what happens and what scenarios you experience that gives a greater sense of freedom that the other chapters. I enjoyed this change. It makes a difference if I can decide if my characters are making a mushroom stew or playing cards. Honestly, I wish I could convince everyone to play this game with an open mind, but if I can convince even one person to play who might fall in love with it then I will be very happy.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
12.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 6
Act IV of Kentucky Route Zero is a more linear and seemingly more grounded experience compared to Acts II and III (I personally find Act I to be a not-so-abstract-or-confusing introduction to the game, similar to Act IV). It actually now feels like a game with a -- relatively -- clear storyline that you can wrap your head around, rather than the almost nonsensical or random (and even downright boring) string of events that you had to follow before.

I would definitely recommend playing Act IV at least twice, since there will be parts that you'll have missed out on during your first playthrough (decrepit Civil War battleship filled with cats, anyone?).

Act IV has almost made me forgive the devs for the long delays between the acts. Almost.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
Nothing has ever moved me so greatly.

That's really the only way I can put it. It's as much self-exploration as it is a game, if you're willing to let it be.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
I love the way the game teaches lessons and demonstrates character through storytelling. Perspective helps tell the story as much as the dialogue and that's something I can resonate with.
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