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Kentucky Route Zero's Postmodern update makes it more readable on the Steam Deck

Poetry on the bus (or in bed)

The opening scene of Kentucky Route Zero sees a truck parked at the edge of a gas station named Equus Oils, which is absolutely dominated by the giant statue head of a horse just behind it.
Image credit: Cardboard Computer

Developer Cardboard Computer sporadically released their poetic adventure game, Kentucky Route Zero, in acts spread across multiple years. It was a teasing release schedule that only aided the game’s surreal mystery, so it’s no surprise that the studio have dropped the game’s first major update three years after the fifth and final chapter wrapped things up. The aptly named Postmodern Update overhauls the game’s user interface with a new Modern mode, alongside a host of bug fixes and more language options.

“The new ‘Modern’ interface is designed to be more flexible and readable on a wider variety of devices, including tablets and the Steam Deck,” the studio wrote in a recent Steam blog. Kentucky Route Zero’s smaller acts and text-based nature make it almost perfect for on-the-go devices, although I’m more interested in using the game as bedtime reading instead, as someone who regrettably bounced off of it in the early acts. “We've also overhauled and improved the ‘Classic’ interface from the original release, and its lo-fi companion, ‘Retro,’” the studio also wrote.

The update also lets you “zoom in on details in the scene,” which sounds handy for smaller screens. New translations now support Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Thai, Swedish, Turkish, and Brazilian Portuguese, too.

I adored my short time with Kentucky Route Zero, but as a then-student who was already forced to think too hard, I was probably distracted by another game that required less attention. While the game itself is great, my love for Kentucky Route Zero actually comes from the brilliant writing it's inspired over the years on various websites, including this one (RPS). In 2015, Hannah Nicklin wrote about how geography affects game design while talking to the game’s writer, Jake Elliott. More recently, Rebecca Jones (RPS in peace) revisited our 2013 GOTY with the benefit of hindsight.

Should you want to return to the weird road trip too, Kentucky Route Zero is currently 70% off (£5.70/$7.50) on Steam and for the next few days. The game also got a fancy next-gen update on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 last week.

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