Kentucky Route Zero Episode One for Linux Review

excellent
key review info
  • Game: Kentucky Route Zero Episode One for Linux
  • Platform: Linux
  • Gamepad support: N/a
  • Reviewed on:
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Kentucky Route Zero Episode One for Linux gameplay

Gamers have a real clear understanding of what a game should be like, and most of the time it's all about a gimmick in gameplay separate titles in the same genre. We would like to say that Kentucky Route Zero is a point-and-click adventure, but the truth is it's so much more than an adventure.

Older gamers will remember that there was a time when adventure games required the complete devotion and implication of the player. This happened mostly because the entire adventure was displayed in a text mode.

The most interesting aspect of a text adventure (also called interactive fiction by people who never played them) was that fact players were experiencing the world through their minds, without the help of graphics.

A typical scene was described to the players and they had to decide what to do next. In some games, the possible actions were described by the software.

This might seem weird in a world measured by the power of the graphics cards, but text adventures were more like bridges between books and games, than games per-say.

Kentucky Route Zero is an episodic adventure that tries to mimic that kind of feeling, of reading a book and playing a game at the same time.

Installation

We installed the game in Ubuntu 12.10, using Steam for Linux. As you might expect, the installation ran flawlessly and the game started without a hitch.

Gameplay and Story

On the surface, Kentucky Route Zero is a point-and-click adventure, but this description only applies if I try to describe the way the player moves in the world.

Players control the main character with the mouse and you can click in the level to tell him (or her) were to go. Some objects and people have interactive icons, which indicate that something can be performed.

This is pretty much it. The rest of the game is just a long line of choices and amazing dialogues, all set in a gritty atmosphere. Most of the time it feels like a slasher movie that's just waiting to happen. It's a cross between Stephen King and Twin Peaks.

You shouldn't play this game and expect any action scenes. There isn't any, at least not in the first act. You will be rewarded with an amazing story and an atmosphere that is done entirely by using clever writing and level illumination.

The main character, Conway, is a delivery man that has to deliver a package on very particular address, 5 Dogwood Drive. He gets lost on the streets of Kentucky, but he finds out, right from the beginning, that the only way to get to that address is to take a road called Route Zero, which doesn't exist officially.

Revealing more would certainly spoil the game, but I can certainly say that you will never have more fun talking to a dog that's never responding. Because it's a dog and it's not supposed to.

Kentucky Route Zero is game made to be released in episodes, and the only bad thing I have to say is that it's really short. Most players will be able to go through it in just an hour or so, but there is some replay value to it.

It can be played again, just to choose a different course of action for most of the dialogues, but it has no real impact on the ending.

The Good

  • Great story
  • Powerful characters
  • Unique gameplay

The Bad

  • Too short

Conclusion

For a game that can be finished in an hour and a half, and even faster if you put your mind to it, it made quite an impression. It's fun and scary at the same time, and everything is done without giving the players any difficult puzzles or problems to solve.

This is a game about the journey and not all that much about the ending. Finding Route Zero becomes more important than getting there, and the two guys that from the Cardboard Computer studio have understood that the ending of a book is not all that important.

Kentucky Route Zero cannot be compared with anything else and that it's the best way to express how good this games is. You haven't played anything like this and the only way to experience something similar is to play the second episode.

story 10
gameplay 9
concept 10
graphics 8
audio 10
multiplayer 0
final rating 9.5
Editor's review
excellent
 
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