'Magical realist adventure' Kentucky Route Zero launches first act

By Jeff Mattas, Jan 07, 2013 4:15pm PST

Indie developer Cardboard Computer (A House in California, Hummingbird Mind) has just released the first act of its new episodic adventure game called Kentucky Route Zero. For adventure game fans, a cursory look at the newly-released trailer is almost guaranteed to intrigue, with an art-style reminiscent of the PC classic, Out of This World. The game also marks the first major paid-release collaboration between Cardboard Computer founder Jake Elliott and his partner in crime, Tamas Kemenczy.

Kentucky Route Zero

According to the official website, Kentucky Route Zero is a "magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it." The developer notes that the game plays much like a 2-D, point-and-click adventure game of yesteryear, but is "focused on characterization, atmosphere, and storytelling, rather than clever puzzles or challenges of skill." If you've ever played any of Cardboard Computer's (or founder Jake Elliott's) previous offerings, you already know that the developer excels at this sort of thing.

Kentucky Route Zero Trailer

The second bit of KRZ media is a teaser trailer for the game that we've included because it's also cool and atmospheric, and because it also highlights some of the old hymns and bluegrass standards recorded by a band called The Bedquilt Ramblers that are featured in the game. It's atypical musical fare for gaming, but seems to fit perfectly with the beautifully moody aesthetics. On a related note, the game's original electronic score comes courtesy of composer Ben Babbitt.

Act 1 of Kentucky Route Zero is now available from the game's official website for $7 via PayPal or Stripe. If you're like me and already know you want to play the whole thing, you can order all five episodes for $25 - a $10 savings. This will also net you an MP3 copy of the soundtrack, and a subscription to the exclusive newsletter. Regardless of how you buy, all copies of the game are DRM-free. PC and Mac are currently supported, and a Linux version is also on the way.

Kentucky Route Zero Teaser

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