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Kujlevka's budget production values belie a clever first contact tale


A silhouette in the doorway of a spaceship that has crashed into a front room in Kujlevka
Image credit: RPS, Callback, Crytivo

Kujlevka is a strange, clever game about an ageing village bureaucrat already troubled by political upheaval and dreams about death and trauma, suddenly given responsibility for communicating with and controlling access to what appears to be humanity's first contact with an alien intelligence.

All those themes suggest a heavy, self-serious game. But Kujlevka's great strength is its levity. While not particularly funny, its consistent wry humour perfectly counterbalances all the talk of political chaos, existential futility, and petty greed. Its opening should have been a clue, really, considering you hang out with skeletons while drinking and commenting on the food on a train in outer space.

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