Enter the lost world of Kairo. Explore vast abandoned monuments. Bring strange and ancient machinery back to life. Slowly uncover the true purpose of Kairo and fulfil a great destiny. Kairo is an atmospheric 3D exploration and puzzle solving game.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (776 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 24, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"A wonderful piece of explorable, challenging artistry, a stunning collection of esoteric architecture, and a delightfully peculiar journey."
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Reviews

Kairo is mysterious and elegant and powerfully distinct. Like Fez and Minecraft, it will work its way into your dreams if you're not careful.
8/10 – Eurogamer

It's such a beautiful world to explore, such captivating, simple mechanics, and such a lasting impression.
8/10 – GamesTM

The world of Kairo is like a playable, explorable tone poem.
4.5/5 – Touch Arcade

About This Game

Enter the lost world of Kairo. Explore vast abandoned monuments. Bring strange and ancient machinery back to life. Slowly uncover the true purpose of Kairo and fulfil a great destiny.


Kairo is an atmospheric 3D exploration and puzzle solving game. Developed by Richard Perrin the creator of the white chamber with music by Wounds (Bartosz Szturgiewicz).

Key Features


  • Exploration - Travel through a strange world full of abstract architecture. Each room is unique so there's always something new to find.
  • Puzzle Solving - Repair ancient forgotten machinery to slowly bring the world back to life.
  • Enviromental Storytelling - Exposition without the traditional dialogue or text. The story of Kairo is told through the world itself. The things you find will slowly help you unravel the true purpose of this mysterious land.
  • Atmospheric Soundtrack - The music helps shape the land and will fill you with an equal measure of wonder and dread.
  • Oculus Rift Support - Fully immerse yourself within the world of Kairo using the Oculus Rift VR headset. (PC & Mac only)

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS:Windows XP
    • Processor:2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Shader Model 3.0
    • Hard Drive:1 GB HD space
    Minimum:
    • OS:OSX 10.6
    • Processor:2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Shader Model 3.0
    • Hard Drive:1 GB HD space
    Minimum:
    • OS:Ubuntu 10.10
    • Processor:2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Shader Model 3.0
    • Hard Drive:1 GB HD space
Helpful customer reviews
120 of 134 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 10, 2014
I am alone.

As with most places in this desolate world I find myself in, the room is almost entirely monochromatic. Green, but not a green like living plants, but a green like something sickly and dying. Rotten. Slimy. It is a long corridor, and unlike the other places I have visited, it is somewhat claustrophobic. Large caskets line the sides of the corridor, and as I walk slowly along, looking for something I am expected to do, I stop and investigate one.

There is a monitor on each casket. Some are broken, some flicker with static, but this one shows an image, though of what, I cannot see. I stand there for awhile, longer maybe than I should, waiting for something to appear on that monitor, but if the image changes, it is perhaps only my imagination. Or my reflection.

Kairo is a strange, ominous world. There are great monoliths to explore, machines that reach up to the heavens, and cramped corridors to wander through. Some rooms have puzzles, some are just desolate walkways, hanging out over an abyss.

I feel I am in purgatory. The very first action this game asks you to take is a leap of faith. This is what the game expects of you- perhaps not to understand, but to experience.

Visually, this game is a treat of abstract, bold art. Simple, yes, but the limited pallette serves to build the abandoned atmosphere of the game, and Kairo is more than capable of providing small details mixed in amongst the enormous structures. The appearance of the game almost looks somewhat grainy, like an old photograph.

The sound is just the howl of empty wind in enormous rooms. Rocks grind and scrape over surfaces as you move puzzles into place. There is some music, but it did not stand out to me in comparison to the rooms that whistle with loneliness.

Kairo is, for the most part, a puzzle game. You manipulate these great structures, these old, broken runes, to find your way through. Some of the puzzles are simple, some of them seem to make little sense, requiring simple trial and error. Kairo does provide 'hints' for each level, but they are otiose at best, perhaps deliberately. Still, there is a sense of accomplishment at defeating these particular puzzles, and a continual drive to see what might be next keeps you going.

Do I understand what is going on? I feel I do. But at the same time, I feel that there are many right answers.

So, come. Walk with me for awhile.
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84 of 85 people (99%) found this review helpful
168.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 7, 2014
There are many, many able reviews of this game so I'll just add some short remarks.

I find Kairo haunting and beautiful. Every time I reach the final goal, and the credits roll, and the music plays I think of creator Richard Perrin and his father — and the loss of my own — but it’s hopeful and optimistic. Still the entire experience exhibits a sense of loss and recapitulates same. For me the game is an expression that I enjoy somewhat plaintively in its context.

I play it often enough at my three-year-old's insistent request. He has none of this context! But he still wants to come back again and again. He finds it mesmerizing as he instructs me where to go and what to inspect next — the first time, his eyes wide in amazement. I think at his age he's captivated by the geometry and the color (children's entertainment is generally far from this). “Go see where the blocks are painted!”, “Go to the black moon!”, “Go in the elevator!”, “Show me the dinosaur!”, “Fly into the sky!” He’s still surprised when the environment springs to life. I’m surprised to see we’ve wandered around Kairo for over 150 hours in the last year or so.

In short, a moving experience for a parent, and a curious adventure for a child. Play it together. Appreciate the time you have together.

So really, this is a thank you note. Thank you, Richard Perrin and the rest that made Kairo possible.
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38 of 40 people (95%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 11, 2014
Kairo is one of thise gems amongst the steam garbage I seem to keep running into. After playing antichamber, I absoultely had to play Kairo.

Kairo is a game in which you appear to be embarking into the depths of an ancient egypt-like machine that either uses magic or technology too far beyond you to understand. Either way, Kairo is one of those games that doesn't explain anything to you (though you have the option of hints, which don't help much) so it requires a lot of problem solving and logistics on your part.
Most of the puzzles are self-explanitory, and the ones that aren't normally are supplied with a stone or wall you have to look at. Once you find those, you then proceed to facepalm realizing how simple the complex-looking puzzle really is. Even so, the puzzles really are challanging, to the point where I actually had to look up a walkthrough for one of them because it didn't seem to be based on any rhyme or reason (and that I couldn't find any stones or walls to explain it) I'm sure you'll identify the one I'm talking about if you play this game.
The story is widely open to interpretation though. There were points in the story that sent a legit chill down my spine. Other moments had me scratching my head wondering what just happened. In order to understand it, you're required to fill in a lot of blanks.
Overall, despite it's cheap graphics and oddly slippery controls, Kairo is a game that you'll enjoy figuring out for yourself, and then be proud to finish.
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31 of 37 people (84%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 6, 2014
I'm not a huge fan of Kairo. It's a puzzle game, but you never get those satisfying "ah-ha!"moments from a puzzle successfully solved. The puzzles are often frustrating, esoteric and are rarely particularly logical. There's thankfully a built-in hint system, but that doesn't really make it any more satisfying. You end up with a more "Oh, that's what they wanted me to do? Huh, okay." than anything. The (very) minimal graphics, sound and story don't do much to entice you to slog through the rest of the game.

If you want a surreal, minimalist walking simulator, NaissencE is a much better game. If you want surreal first-person puzzling in a clean white-washed environment, go for Antichamber or even something like QUBE.

I enjoy surreal/minimalist walking simulators and first-person puzzlers, but this game just doesn't do it for me.
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29 of 36 people (81%) found this review helpful
5.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 14, 2014
I previously mentioned this game in my Antichamber review of some time ago for anyone who missed it, so here's my thoughts about Kairo.

Kairo is a minimalist abstract puzzle-exploration game, and when I say "minimalist", chances are what I'm talking about really is. Ever since the Minecraft craze, we've seen many other cube worlds around inspired by retro classics (Fez comes to mind) and Kairo is no exception to the rule, making everything look like it's made of technicolor limestone with some film grain thrown in for good measure and why not, ancient ruins from a timeless age. Basically, a highly geometrical version of the areas in Ico for those old enough to remember it.

Starting by the gameplay, it's as stripped down as it can possibly be: you can only walk around the areas through the arrow keys and you can, indeed, jump with the spacebar. That's it. And that's all you need to get across the levels. The puzzle design is made in a way to never lean too much on trial-and-error and moon logic solutions, although there may be a few instances where this happens. It is, however, not the rule in this game fortunately and you generally won't need a walkthrough to finish the experience (you may need it for only a couple of puzzles at best). As mentioned before, exploration plays an important role not only as a medium of conveying certain moods but also to give a sense of structure to this abstract maze.

One of the biggest drawbacks of Kairo, in my opinion, is the huge amount of unused potential. The sound design, while soothing at times and as minimal as it can get, I think still fails to deliver an immersive atmosphere, relying only on very simple loops that could have been better layered and more varied. Yes, even Ambient music can reach a certain level of depth so much to give some personality and identity to a scenario, rewarding close listeners with a satisfying ambiance and helping setting the mood while staying relatively background. A soundtrack made only of a few environmental sounds, very repetitive sound effects (that freaking stone rumbling) and a bunch of droning loops don't make enough of a rewarding sonic experience to me.

But it's not just the soundtrack, it's pretty much about how this game made me wish for more the more I ran through the puzzles and areas suspended on a blank white/any primary color void for no apparent reason. I noticed newer versions of Kairo introduced some sort of achievement system and even Steam trading cards as an eye candy, but honestly, there isn't much to achieve in this game if not collecting a sequence of unexplained symbols or glyphs throughout the experience and just finish it. Those symbols are not enough of a clue to figure out a bigger, possibly even more mysterious puzzle behind, and this is a problem I encounter in most "art" games that leap in the industry by stripping away what makes an experience enjoyable and memorable marketing it as "different". This game does indeed set a playable base for a "different" experience but it's not enough and it feels unfinished, as it fails to capture the player in the bigger picture behind the world of Kairo.

If you just think of the possibilities this game could have used and then get back at the final product... It's kinda depressing and disappointing. Minimalism doesn't just mean cutting away those same elements that make an experience interesting in the first place. It means using a few of them that are already perfect on their own and sticking to those for adding depth to a complex, but never complicated concept. If you fail to tell a story through your design, it's just a pale portrait of your original idea.

In conclusion, you may give this game a chance and try it out on your own, but I personally find it easily forgettable and mediocre. If artsy exploration games with confusing mechanics aren't exactly your thing, you may skip this entirely and move to other titles.
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19 of 23 people (83%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2014
Exploration based chillout game. if you want an experiance.. buy this game. relax enjoy. excellent music. atmosphere are every corner. and peace. discover the mystery of an ancient alien ruin.. and in doing so find a lost piece of yourself. Inde AA. Dava
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17 of 20 people (85%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 15, 2014
This was an interesting game. I got this one in a bundle at some point and decided to play it today. I will say this...the game is incredibly difficult. There is a good chance you will wander without any idea what the hell you are doing and may quit as a result. That is actually a knock on this game. There is no such thing as obvious, with a couple exceptions. The game doesnt teach you anything really, and you are left to your own devices to sort out what you are supposed to do and the proper order in which to do so.
So....use a guide. This is one game where a guide is almost a necessity. You may be the sort of person who can figure out a game like this, but most people who play this wont finish it without the help of a guide. However, if you do, it doesnt detract from the experience at all, and the experience is really what this game is all about. For all that puzzles are the biggest challenge in this game, the sense of exploration and the different scenery is what makes this game stand out. I didnt get the sense of an overall story except:

SPOILERS

That this is maybe a galactic museum of sorts, or a museum at the end of the world, or something like that, and the last curator died, after which it fell into disrepair. You are basically fixing it and getting it up and running again.

SPOILER END

So, points off for not being very accessible at all, but points in its favor for being pretty unique and uniquely challenging. Pus, that secret ending was pretty funny when taking the rest of the game into consideration.

All in all, a 3 out of 10 for lack of accessibility and the (IMO) necessity of using a guide, but 8 out of 10 for everything else. Try it out. See what you think of it. I think it is a relevant game that will capture your imagination.
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13 of 15 people (87%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 12, 2014
I have enjoyed every moment with this game. I haven't quite finished it yet, but I'm confident in recommending it. To be clear, if you're looking for a fast-paced game with all the latest bells and whistles, this is not the one for you. The graphics and music are quite simple, and gameplay is as slow-paced as you'd like it to be. However, I disagree with those who call this a "walking simulator." It is very much a game. There are puzzles to solve as well as a story to uncover.

The puzzles are very well-designed. There is no dialogue and no text, yet somehow it's always clear what you're expected to do. Some of the puzzles are quite simple, while others are much more complex, but I haven't found a single one I couldn't solve with a little patience and logical thought. It's not too easy, but it's not too difficult, either. There was only one puzzle I needed hints for - and those hints are provided in the game menu. There are three hints for each puzzle, starting out vague and growing more specific, so you can get exactly the amount of help you need if you ever get stuck.

The story is revealed entirely through gameplay. When I first started playing, I didn't expect there to be much of a story. I was satisfied with the beautiful abandoned abstract architecture and puzzles. The first time I uncovered an unexpected plot twist, my heart skipped a beat, and every one I've found after that has led to even more amazed moments. I'm very picky about storytelling, and this is one game that does it perfectly without ever resorting to dialogue or verbal exposition.

Overall, it's a well-crafted game. Everything in it functions well and it all comes together to form a beautiful whole. It's not for everyone, but I think most people will find it enjoyable and well worth buying.
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22 of 32 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 7
Forever Alone!!!
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13 of 18 people (72%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 10, 2014
This game made my brain make the noise a deflating tire makes.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 2, 2014
Kairo is one of the few games I've played that conveys a story without a single word. Through beautifully done, mysterious environments, and sometimes mind-bending puzzles, Kairo shines as one of the most inspired (and inspirational) games out there.
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12 of 18 people (67%) found this review helpful
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2014
Beautiful game! Great atmosphere and an intriguing mystery that's revealed silently through puzzles. Worth the five bucks for sure!
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 12
Kairo is an abstract first person puzzle/exploration game where you work your way through a geometric world to complete what are initially seemingly arbitrary tasks to accomplish a goal which is not immediately apparent. It is obtuse, but stylistically so, and easy to get lost in. I recommend walking around and exploring before diving in too deep, but when stuck in any given room, you can go into the menu and choose up to three Hints to help point you in the right direction - this is the saving grace of the game, as they progressively give more direction without telling you what exactly to do, so you're never actually LOST, it can just feel like it at times.

The controls are a little "floaty" - they don't feel as tight as most other first person games, but due to a lack of combat that's not necessarily a problem, just takes some getting used to. The graphics are simple, but very effective - the spectacle is quite impressive.

In addition to the normal gameplay goals, there are a series of 18 runes to find hidden about the game, one "go back and find later" puzzle where, after you exit an area, something secret opens up which you can find, and three exceptionally hard "did you notice that one little thing elsewhere? Interpret it in this abstract way here!" puzzles which you might need to look for external guides for.

The game doesn't take too long (aside from those harder puzzles) - 3-4 hours should probably be enough to get through it.

I had a good time with it. It's probably not up everyone's alley, but if the above sounds interesting, check it out.
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9 of 13 people (69%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 12, 2014
Probably, the strangest puzzle game I've ever played. You can find yourself in the world of amazing monumental architecture. Nobody will help you to get out of here.
7/10
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 6, 2014
It took me a while to realise it's a building and not a sword.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 13, 2014
I think I've finally achieved Nirvana...either that or my mind has just been completely blown. Kairo is jaw dropping immense game of abstract exploration. It's easy to just stop and gaze upon the minimalistic visuals and animations because they are so moving and powerful. As you solve puzzles the world around you changes to reveal things that are impossible to describe in words. The sounds and music are ominous and dramatic, yet they do not frighten and somehow even offer comfort. The puzzles provide a perfect equilibrium of not being overly complicated without solving themselves. Kairo is truly a work of art on so many levels.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2014
More of an "ehhh..." than a strict Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Yes No proposition, Kairo offers a sort of first person Myst-lite linked-chamber exploration game with simple puzzles unlocking further exploration. Lacking mechanical depth or logical difficulty (there's a lot of obvious "stand here, then touch there" stuff), the puzzles generally feel like a bit of vestigial interactivty left there to regulate progression through Kairo's strengths of envrionment and atmosphere. Each area proffers a unique bit of architecture, either a room or a monument, suspended in the void; In tandem with the monochromatic color scheme and sound design, the effect is rather evocative. Evocative of what, other than the tingly excitement of meandering through an abandoned alien kinetic sculpture garden, is a bit difficult to discern.

Kairo exhausted my patience due to the tedium of its puzzling elements, but it could be worth exploring if you dont mind and find the screenshots compelling (if you do mind, I suggest Kairo's obverse, Antichamber- its world isn't exactly poetic, but does have a practical charm in service of the brain-bending environmental puzzling Kairo lacks.)
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 9, 2014
While Kario has some interesting puzzles, visuals, and architecture, it failed to keep me as an "explorer". After several minutes of "where do I go next" frustration while rerunning through bland empty corridors, I turned to a guide.

The pacing feels awkward/slow (even with Shift/Sprint held down), the scattered collectables are unnecessary, and puzzle satisfaction is quickly tarnished as you trudge forward (or even worse - backtrack) down long corridors to the next puzzle. Kario could still be complex and grand without the stairs, paths, and extra large rooms. The only thing which drove me to continue was my stubbornness to complete the game.
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7 of 11 people (64%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2014
Beautiful architecture and environment, sometimes incomprehensible puzzles, and real cheap even at full price. Not perfect but certainly worth your time.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 3, 2014
If the words minimalistic abstraction ever had to be used to describe a game, then Kairo, developed by British Richard Perrin, would be the most appropriate game. I originally purchased and installed the game without quite knowing what to expect – or what not to expect for that matter. Kairo starts in medias res; something which naturally leaves the player with a fair amount of uncertainty and second-guesses as to what they are meant to do. Unlike most other games however, the uncertainty gradually increases as you progress through the first few stages of the game – a very unusual, yet intriguing, experience. Unfortunately this also represents the barrier where players either decide to delve into this unique and captivating piece of content, or quit. It is important to stress that Kairo is not like any other game – and it may even be discussed whether labelling as it as puzzle exploration rather than game is more appropriate.

The fact that Kairo manages to distance itself from most other games within the first few minutes of gameplay is an accomplishment alone though, and perhaps the word distinct is a keyword when it comes to describing the game as a whole. There is no tutorial, no introduction to the story and no explanation to why you find yourself on top of an ancient stone construction. Alone.

The exploration begins psychedelically as you wander into thin air in an adventurous attempt to make it to the next construction. It is evident that exploration indeed is a big part of Kairo – both to complete the individual rooms, but also to locate the correct path(s). It moreover turns out that mastering scrutinizing for close to every sub-dimensional room is crucial and highly rewarding as players will find hidden runes and unlock achievements for collecting these.

As more rooms are unlocked and more puzzles are solved, the player starts to wonder what the purpose of Kairo is, not to mention what Kairo itself is – if anything at all. It is evident that the player is reactivating – and sometimes literally fixing – ancient mechanisms within the ruins. At times short glimpses of modern- and present-times are shown, which yet again questions the story. Is Kairo a new beginning, or is it a desperate attempt to fix what has been lost and destroyed – or something completely else?

Kairo is not a game for everyone, and it is a game which requires determination and a genuine interest in solving brainteasing puzzles. The environment and story (or, rather, lack of story given your point of view) can be very appealing, but that alone is not a reason to purchase and enjoy the game. A strong interest in puzzles is essential, but if a genuine interest is present then Kairo does offer some extremely complex, unique and intriguing puzzles which, without a guide, easily can take longer than eight hours to complete. Kairo is thus strongly recommendable for those seeking a unique and brainteasing puzzler with an interesting plot, but should be avoided by those who prefer more traditional puzzle-games.

Read my full review here: http://212fahrenheit.reviews/?p=67.
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