Kentucky Route Zero has an episodic style. It has five acts in total although now, only Acts I, II and III are available. The other two will be released as soon they are completed. It tells of a mysterious highway known as Highway Zero, hidden under the caves of Kentucky and the people who travel it.
Kentucky Route Zero is a point & click narrative driven game. According to the official site, the game is described to be a magical and realist” game that focuses on atmosphere and story-telling rather than challenges or clever puzzles.
You play as Conway, a truck driver who works for an antiques store who is making a delivery. Stopping at a gas station, Conway asks for directions for Dogwood Drive. He is told that he has to take “The Zero”.
Things may or not may get bizarre after that. Or confusing for that matter.
The gameplay is traditional; clicking on area moves Conway and any objects/person that can be interacted clearly shows you the two options to interact. The two main ways Conway interacts with the world is either talking or observing. This changes when Conway is teamed up with Shannon, another character who joins you during the mines.
There are no puzzles or challenges for you to solve. This game is solely focused on the story. The story reflects on the choices you make such as the dog’s name. If you give it a name (between Homer, Blue or none), the dog will be given a name or none based on your choice during that conversation.
Each meeting in the game is memorable, and other times very bizarre. It will definitely leave you with more questions than answers.
During certain points, you will have a road map which you have to navigate to reach the next destination. If you are lost, you can always look at the notes that tells you where you need to go. I often had to look at the notes to remember which direction I had to go and the landmark before the destination.
The writing of the story is excellent, even the dog which has no lines is memorable simply because Conway will use the dog as a way to reflect on the Act’s events.
The visuals are often dark and simple, very rarely will you see see color in the visuals of Kentucky Route Zero. Yet the bleak visuals, along with the sound effects evoke a sense of sadness or regret. Some of the character even talk about their regrets. It fits with the atmosphere. Even the models of the characters are kept simple, giving enough to give them personality and little for the imagination.
Is it weird how this game almost feels like a campfire story? It is unusual and at times, unnerving. Yet I still love the story of the mysterious Kentucky Route Zero, even if it confused me at times and made me afraid, especially during the mines. Did not enjoy the creepy human figures hiding in the shadows. Looking to the last two acts and see how the story will end.