It's a rare thing these days when a game takes you out of the familiar and chucks you head first into the unknown. I remember buying games from market stalls back in the days of Atari ST and Amiga, with nothing to go off but the name on the disc. Another World was one such game that I played for the first time knowing literally nothing, what an incredible journey that was. I think that when we find a game that is a complete mystery we should embrace the unfamiliar and let the experience lead us into a true adventure.
I saw Kentucky Route Zero a few months ago on Steam and the visuals immediately caught my attention, having something of an obsession with old America it I immediately added it to my wish list. So now I've played it what can I tell you about Kentucky Route Zero (KRZ). Well given that much of the magic that makes this game so good is exactly what a standard game review would tell you, then why bother at all? I shall, however, endeavour to tantalise you with as little information as possible.
The game made an immediate good impression with me in terms of visuals and how your character (Conway) makes his way around the scenes. 'Abstract' is how I would describe the look of this title, with bold shapes and cell shading throughout. Even the moving parts while well animated are almost impressionist in nature which gives the title an old school feel and look. However just when you think you have a good bead on how this game works it will throw a curve ball. In one scene the entire view shifts in three dimensions opening up news paths of exploration
The game is currently split into four acts which are subsequently split into smaller parts (usually by location). As you enter each new space you are given contextual icons which open up as you approach them. As dialogue and text scroll down you choose between various options on how the story of the characters unfold, it's almost like one of them old adventure books that had various paths by turning to different pages. It is fair to say that there is quite a good deal of reading to do and if that is not your thing this game may not be for you. Most of the writing is good but there are scenes that do seem a little flat, with little relevance other than to disorientate the player. However, the story as a whole does feel compelling and does a fine job of drawing the player further into the game world.
What really makes me admire this game more than anything else is that it is truly unique and is not afraid to go in its own direction. Some scenes will truly surprise you and if you have the patience to observe the beautiful beats of culture running in the undercurrent this title will not disappoint.
Well, I promised to be brief so I will stop there as there really isn't much more I can tell you without running the risk of spoiling it. If you like a good story with plenty of mystery and intrigue then Kentucky Route Zero might be just up your alley. If you are still not sure just take a look at my captures in the shooting gallery to get an idea of what the game looks like or check out some footage on YouTube.