March 2, 2015

First Impressions: Kentucky Route Zero


I'll start it off here: I dislike point-and-click games with a burning passion. Especially when I was playing on my Mac, clicking on everything to try and figure one little fact out was the most aggravating thing - it as well obstructed my creative forces. When it came to games like To the Moon and Syberia, which are both nice games for their story, I'd much rather watch on YouTube, because no matter what, I was convinced I'd never try a point-and-click ever again...

...and then I met Kentucky Route Zero.



In Kentucky, my - playing as Conway - dog's name is Blue. She's a rascally old mutt, a little someone I found on the side of the road and decided to take with me. Besides, what else was there to do? Both of our nights were miserable, but at least I could make hers warm.

I at least consider my character a good man. It has dawned upon me, however, that goodness equates not to the interactions of others in your favor. I learned that the hard way when I stumbled into Equus Oils, a lonely service station on the side of the road. Though its lights were out, it shone in the moonlight and puddles like a beacon of well-deserved light. The attendant, gruff and unclear, sent me into his basement, where I'm most sure I encountered the strangest delusions...I am starting to doubt their intangibility, however, with the die in my side pocket.

I had the option to leave the die behind. When I had entered the basement, my steps light as an elephant's, I immediately heard light talking. I shoved my lantern forward, squinting into the darkness to try and pick up whatever was there. The light reflected off of a cello, and I saw the silhouettes of three people who simply wouldn't stop talking. It soon occurred to me that these people were playing D&D. I tried to approach them in several different ways, but it was no use simply because I never had the right options. Personally, I would have flipped the table until they paid attention, but that wasn't any choice to begin with.. Then again, I feel that if I had done so, they still wouldn't have paid attention.

They all disappeared in a matter of seconds, anyways.



I spent the rest of the time flipping through dialogue until I felt that I had no more options. They had lost a glow-in-the-dark d20 on the ground, but nobody was looking for it. I had a feeling I would have to, but kept flipping through the dialogue. I went back outside for a thinker and went back down cluelessly. I then noticed a small symbol at the bottom of my screen, and realized that was how I would toggle my lantern, simply because when I turned my lantern off, a beacon of light was in the place of the glow-ion-the-dark game piece.

Something I really like about this point-and-click is simply that the movement is smooth and entertaining. The player selects a place to move, and it appears like a ring is tossed onto a little stick of light in front of wherever the player is going, giving a good movement targeting system that's both appealing and interesting. Like in To the Moon, one can choose their actions and how they talk in the game. They can choose to stay in a location for a while or drive off. They can choose what to say, when to say it, and many things like it. Even Blue's name was one of the options. As soon as I started making choices, I began to craft an elaborate personality for Conway, and he - as well as the rest of the cast - have won their ways into my heart.


In Kentucky Route Zero, players have so much freedom in what looks to be an restricted game simply because of its label. The reason why I had bought Kentucky was that it was on sale and had been on my wishlist; I'd completely forgotten that it was a point-and-click. I cringed at the dark and sighed with the characters, but most importantly, found a way to kind of let go of predispositions and let a game take me on a little adventure. And as of yet, Kentucky Route Zero takes the lead in something...spellbinding.

TL;DR - 10/10 Failed CHA check in the basement

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