Certain events cause the lines between reality to blur. As if it were a phone that could only connect to a single number. Like the phone number on the TripAdvisor page for Echo River in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park, given as a phone number.
Just like that message you receive when you ring that number, which plays the words, “If you don’t remember dialing this number at all, press 5,” before you delve into a sequence of facts that all appear to be urban legends in disguise.
This web of ephemera, which stretches from our world to the one on the other side of the screen, appears to be the work of a major corporation, much like the alternate reality game that accompanied Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and sent 11 million people all over the world looking for the Joker.
What binds all of these strands together is considerably smaller: Kentucky Route Zero is an independent made by just three friends that is also, at long last, the finest game of 2020, after over ten years of development and occasional partial releases.
There are no weapons, skill trees, collectibles, or customizable characters in Kentucky Route Zero, and there is no open world. Your only task is to point and click. It’s the same as with useful psn gift card. Just make the purchase and play without waiting!
Characters are animated so simply that they nearly appear 2D, can move from place to place by following the cursor, either on a set stage or via a black-and-white map, and sometimes participate in the discussion.
There aren’t any more complexities to the gameplay, yet the many elements—art, narrative, and music—combine to create an unsettling, memorable experience.
Over the last decade, Cardboard Computer creators Jake Elliott, Tamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbitt have been piecing Kentucky Route Zero together piece by piece. Yet, despite its seeming simplicity, the game offers a trenchant and astonishingly personal narrative about modern Americana, intergenerational mining pain and the ins and outs of platonic, sexual, and family love to produce a work that would make any Triple-A publisher envy.
The “extra” that most frequently distinguishes modern gaming is found in what it has to say rather than in the game’s features. For example, the game’s conclusion is almost elegy-like rather than a spectacular climax or boss encounter.
Conway, a truck driver looking for a mysterious Kentucky roadway known as “the Zero” to fulfill his final delivery, is the first character you encounter in Kentucky Route Zero. The goal and how to do it appear straightforward: talk to people to find out what they know, then run a few errands to get a bit more data. Point and click.
Those clicks, on the other hand, add up. Some debt or loss plagues every character you encounter, and this theme is mirrored in every area you visit: a foreclosed farm, a mine abandoned after a fatal flood caused by the corporation in charge’s irresponsibility.
With cameos from sentient robots and talking skeletons, Cardboard Computer’s version of Kentucky grows weirder as you keep on expand as some of those characters become playable and more essential to the plot.
However, the game’s strange and fascinating locations are still prevalent in modern America. Elliott adds, “We wanted to build the game on what’s happening on where we live.” “I believe magical realism literature is always highly political as a genre because it’s so anchored in reality it’s written in. So I’ve given a lot of consideration to how I’d translate One Hundred Years of Solitude to Kentucky.
The problems at hand are self-evident. Though it seems overly simple to call Kentucky Route Zero an adversary, the greedy energy business that dominates the story leaves nothing but misery in its wake.
An abandoned mine filled with ghosts and many stories about seemingly benign contracts that have ended in debt that has lasted beyond the dead has been left in the company’s wake. Its presence turns the tale into a tragedy that is expressly situated in the game’s world. “You couldn’t have an apolitical portrayal of a coal mine in Kentucky,” Elliott observes.
The game’s magic, on the other hand, is a little more challenging to explain. The greatest parts are when the creeping infiltration of the supernatural into the tale reaches a critical mass—and moments of pure imagination emerge. The ceiling of a dive bar flies away, leaving just clouds and stars behind while a band performs in a David Lynch-esque scene.
The wood planks of a house’s walls peel away one by one in another scene, revealing the next step of the quest. These gorgeously rendered, big set pieces are all the more impressive since they’re from an independent game rather than a major company.
Even though the game’s plot is linear, there is a staggering amount of exploring to be done. Specific chat options and choices will lead you down new pathways.
If you take a wrong turn down a corridor, you’ll come across a slew of elements that add to the sense of location but don’t necessarily advance the plot. Simply, Kentucky Route Zero has so much to offer that large parts of it will undoubtedly go unnoticed—which is intentional.
“Isn’t it a world? To be alive, you have to be able to miss things.”