Game Review: Kentucky Route Zero

Overall rating: 3.5/5

I got this game as part of this year’s Indie Bundle 2017. For those of you who don’t know Humble Bundle, I highly recommend that you get your games from this site. A lot of the games are DRM-free, and a portion of your purchase will go to a charity of your choice. Their bundles are great and they offer good games for a fair price.

Kentucky Route Zero, according to the Steam store page, is a magical realist adventure game about the underground caves of Kentucky. Developed by Cardboard Computer, the game is split into five acts, each contributing to an overarching story. The song features original scores by Ben Babbitt and blues music by The Bedquilt Ramblers.

What I like 

The game has a unique art style, and certainly has a one-of-a-kind design. Kentucky Route Zero is heavily focused on storytelling and atmosphere, and their unique art style certainly brings that out. A lot of their scenes were based on theatrical set design according to the Steam store page, and it shows: a lot of the background and scenes pan around like I’m participating in an interactive play. That being said, the game in its entirety is absolutely stunning.

I also really like the music. Babbitt’s score and The Bedquilt Ramblers’ music helps bring out the southern Kentucky atmosphere, and also helps me to immerse myself into the game. The scores are original and quite enjoyable to listen to.

What I didn’t like

The main reason why this got 3.5 stars instead of 4 is because of the story. I really wanted to love the story, but it was just too slow paced for me to enjoy. The first two acts were okay and fresh, but the rest started to become the same. It seemed like the same storyline, plot, and people over and over again. Plus, there doesn’t seem to be a climax, and the overarching conflict is bland at best.

Kentucky Route Zero is also pretty confusing to play at first. I didn’t know I could choose which direction a conversation was going through prompts at first, and it wasn’t until halfway through Act I did I finally understand the game mechanics.

There is just too much text. It was fun to read at first, but I found myself skipping through a lot of the dialogue later in the game.

Final verdict

If you have a problem with walking simulators, don’t buy this. If you want a laid-back game, this is the one to go. I’m more for action-packed games, so this isn’t the one for me.

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