Kentucky Route Zero

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.
Minimum Requirements
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 Specifications
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 Requirements
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 Requirements
Processor: 1 GHz CPU
Memory: 512 MB RAM
Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ compatible video card
Hard Drive: 250 MB HD space
Sound: Sound card
  • 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.

  • A splendidly surreal experience, with astounding narrative and visual strength that can leave you repeatedly breathless in front of the screen even if it only lasts a couple of ours, tops. You don't very often see this quality of writing in videogames and you should not miss it, unless you hate these kinds of story focused experiences.

  • The best moments arise when you stop to let it all sink in. It asks for attention rather than reflexes, and serves as a reminder that so few of these experiences exist.

  • Kentucky Route Zero is a beautiful and artistic piece of of work and I haven’t felt so strongly about a game since Silent Hill 2. After The Walking Dead made a case for powerful episodic narratives I found myself wanting something similar. I’m incredibly excited to see what the next four episodes will do.

  • As much a poem as it is a game, Kentucky Route Zero: Act I is the bizarre, lovely first leg of a road trip into the sad, strange heart of America.

  • Gorgeous, atmospheric and utterly intriguing, Kentucky Route Zero is a fine example of all that is good about indie game development.

  • Pelit (Finland)

    Kentucky 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]

  • The first act of Kentucky Route Zero will take you about an hour to complete. It’s well worth your time to do a second play through and a third and maybe even a fourth just to experience what it’s like to live a life on the road.

  • A powerfully evocative and beautiful subversion of point-and-click rote, but occasionally opaque and disorienting.

  • As far as a first episode goes, Kentucky Route Zero establishes the setting, tone and characters better than I could have expected. I love that I'm still thinking about what exactly happened to Conway and company, and that intrigue has left me longing for the next piece of the tale.

  • If you find yourself sometimes wondering if videogames are art, you should try Kentucky Route Zero. This adventure game gives you the reigns of the storytelling of an intriguing fantastical story.

  • While it remains to be seen if this level of quality can keep up over its five acts, Act I of Kentucky Route Zero is a beautiful, melancholy start to what should be a fantastic series.

  • Kentucky Route Zero Act I is a marvelous travel between the future and the past of a strange man, with stunning visuals and an inspired OST. Many AAA developers could learn something about storytelling, playing this modern tale.

  • Edge Magazine

    This first segment is potent. [March 2013, p.106]

  • The graphics ooze style, and the tentative use of sound and music throughout the game is excellent. The story, while lacking in strong details, intrigued me to the point that I did not mind the lack of actual game to be found.

  • Kentucky Route Zero is gorgeous, haunting and effecting. It's the kind of experience that's difficult to get out of your head once you've had it, and I'm hoping to go through and try different choices and paths for a chance to squeeze a little more out of this little chunk of the world.

  • PC PowerPlay

    If the first episode is a fair indicator for the rest of the season, this could very well be 2013's The Walking Dead. [March 2013, p.88]

  • While puzzles are almost non-existent, that's fine since the momentum of the adventure isn't interrupted. It's also only an hour long, and at this stage after just one act, it's tough to predict if the subsequent pay-off will be worth the initial investment.

  • This is a unique and atmospheric experience. I highly recommend it, but be aware that you need to give it your full attention to get the most out of the game.

  • A fascinating experiment in alternative storytelling, filled with bold new ideas and some stunning visuals and music.

  • Its narrative is compelling, its writing thoughtful. The mechanics may be little more that a delivery mechanism for its story but Kentucky Route Zero's mysteries leave you wanting more. Fortunately, there's more to come.

  • I will end my review the same way I started it: Kentucky Route Zero is a very strange game. Although I did not enjoy it very much, I can see how it is a compelling piece of software. It is very artsy, very avant-garde, very surreal, and a very acquired taste.

  • What starts as a classic point-and-click adventure soon becomes a surreal reading-trip for friends of the paradox.

  • PC Master (Greece)

    This is not a pure-blooded adventure game with strong puzzles and great challenges. Kentucky Route Zero can be best described as a well-written novel, with strong narrative elements, offering a different gaming experience. [February 2013]

  • Kentucky Route Zero is a pleasure to look at and interact with, brimming with anxious memories and begging you to peer into the distance. And yet it also comes across as a bit underdeveloped.

  • It's not easy to score Kentucky Route Zero's first act. It's not an isolated product, as it sees itself as exposition to a much bigger narrative. Even though it succeeds marvelously in opening up the game, we don't know anything about where this "Lost Highway" will take us. Who didn't fall in love with this on first sight, should rather wait for the next few acts to come around before he decides if this is something for him. If you did though, get it. It may not have a lot of gameplay substance, but its atmosphere will suck you in quite like nothing else.

  • CD-Action

    Inspired 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]

  • If 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.

Kentucky Route Zero
$24.99 $8.75
Title: Kentucky Route Zero
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Released: 22 February 2013
Developer: Cardboard Computer
Publisher: Cardboard Computer
  • Single-player
  • Full controller support
UI Audio Subs
English
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