Underground Metastate: Kentucky Route Zero

By Adam Smith on January 7th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Ruins was a superlative, short-form exploration game starring a dog and the chaps behind it have now released the first part of their gorgeous adventure, Kentucky Route Zero. I don’t know how well the humble canine is represented this time around but the game does include a “Civil War era battleship that ran ashore in an underground river hundreds of years ago and is now populated entirely by cats”, so look forward to that. Act I costs $7 but the remaining four acts, to be released throughout the year, can be purchased as a bundle for $25. I plan to try it this week and shall report back. In the meantime, allow your eyes to feast on this trailer.

Shades of Another World, aligned with our own world and a shimmering layer of magical realism.

Edit: I’m playing it right now. There is a very noble dog wearing a straw hat. Full WIT soon.

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23 Comments »

  1. DickSocrates says:

    Looks great. Glad to see indies starting to use 3D, too.

  2. Smashbox says:

    I was JUST thinking ‘RPS should write this one up’ about an hour ago.

  3. LimEJET says:

    I played through Ruins. Wow, what a pretentious piece of bad excuse for a game.

    • RogerioFM says:

      Ugh, that was horrible, I am always impressed on how people can release anything and call art, I know art is subjective, but from my perspective, art, tha was not.

      • Kevin Costner says:

        I’m always impressed by how some are in such a hurry to open their mouths to depreciate someone else’s work without even bothering with why or an iota of constructive criticism.

        On the other hand, a game like Ruins is maybe a different experience for each who plays it, making it a sort of barometer…

        …’cause I’m pretty sure only shitty people could hate this sweet little [free] game.

        • LimEJET says:

          It’s not a game. It’s a pretentious branching story with some (tediously slow) walking in between.

          • Ross Angus says:

            I agree with Kevin. I’m not particularly interested in the definition of what a game is. I liked the time I spent in that world.

      • pottering says:

        “… how people can release anything and call art …”

        But the devs didn’t call it “art”, they just say it is “a game about a dog chasing rabbits through a shadowy, dreamlike landscape”.

        The article above does not mention “art” either, so there.

        • LimEJET says:

          It’s not what the developers described it as either. It’s a dog walking extremely slowly, talking to a rabbit, in a tiny, ugly dream landscape put together with no effort whatsoever.

    • L. Boom says:

      Hoho, what a frightfully dull pair you two are!

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        As are the responses.

      • RogerioFM says:

        Well, it’s not always that I state my opinion with big words or a well written review, sometimes I just say stuff, but if you want to know th reason, ok, I found the game boring, they tried to tell a story with the atmosphere and the mood, but I found the game empty, the gameplay was horrible, and pointless.

        I could name a lot of games considered art that I like, and compare to it, but I don’t want to appear as pretentious because in the end, it will be nothing more than my opinioon.

        I just did not like the game, where I live, we can tell our opinions freely, if in yours my opinion hurts, then I apologize, but I really did think the game was bad. And it’s amazing you know? If I had complimented the game no one would notice, and I would not need to back my opinions. But I did think the game was bad, and I don’t think you have a shitty taste of something, you might like some amazing things, but this game, is not one of them. Have a nice one.

    • particlese says:

      Just played through Ruins once to see what this (small) fuss was about, and I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Then again, I’m in just about the perfect mood for it: Tired and ready for bed! I can certainly see how others may find it boring/awful, and I might at some other time, but it happened to be a pleasant end to my night, at least with the dialog choices I made, and despite the fact that it was trying to be sad…and as I review this post I’m writing, I notice that the game seems to have three plot threads that parallel each other, each involving the abandonment of the good and the shiny (a girl, a puppy, and classical music) once they grow “stale”. (Classical music is shiny because I say so.) Yep, probably sad, but I don’t care right now. In my sleep-deprived stupor, I’m sure I’m missing some things (and perhaps have found some things that aren’t there), but I’d give it a couple art points, and certainly some enjoyability points. Boring, perhaps, but so, too, to me, comma, are those “colored rectangles on a canvas” pieces of modern art. Those are just completely awful, really. I feel bad making the comparison…

      At any rate, the musical bits of Ruins’ story are also bizzarely relevant to me: I’ve been neglecting my MIDI piano for a couple of months, sometimes to play with Famitracker (synthesizer!), and the only piece of piano music I know how to play in full (albeit not well, though still satisfyingly to me) is Chopin’s “Raindrop” prelude that was mentioned (but not played) during my run of the game. I think I’ll go play that, now, as that piece also puts me right into sleep mode by the end.

      Thanks, Cardboard Computer, and thanks RPS readers for complaining about this game and sparking my curiosity! Now to bookmark the article and check out Kentucky Route Zero tomorrow.

  4. Hoaxfish says:

    I’m a bit surprised at the $25 price. I was honestly expecting something around the $10 mark for the “full game”… The size of each episode is probably important I guess.

  5. Synesthesia says:

    beautiful. Animation has become quite bad in most games this last years, huh? This kind of games really shed light on how shitty, rushed and uninspired mocapped stuff can look.

  6. Dimonte says:

    Just finished my first walkthrough, and it’s been absolutely magical. My only regret is that I tried to give the guitar man some money instead of just listening to him playing. Come WIT time, I’ll think of some more praise to give this game.

  7. b0rsuk says:

    Looks French.

  8. Didden says:

    I love the way gaming has now reached a point, where art, creativity and immersion are blending.

  9. mikmanner says:

    Makes me sick how good that looks.

  10. mavu says:

    “Digital download for Windows and Mac. Linux version coming soon DRM-free.”
    I think i smell a Humble Bundle around the corner…

  11. Shadrach says:

    Having played it a bit I think it looks very promising, it surely has a feeling something magical is afoot. Love the music and the graphics are lovely. Got some short moments of hair-on-neck raising too which is always a good thing.

  12. jeanjoan421 says:

    just before I looked at the receipt 4 $9705, I did not believe that…my… neighbours mother was really bringing in money part time on-line.. there sisters neighbour has done this 4 only about 17 months and at present paid the loans on there home and got a gorgeous Chrysler. this is where I went, http://www.bit90.com

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