Kentucky Route Zero (Acts I–III)


A trio traverses strange maps and scenarios.

A point-and-click throwback, the game Kentucky Route Zero dips along the dreamiest of mindwaves. A woman, a man, and a dog—who lopes in and out of the frame—cross, double, and echo their way round an alternate Kentuckian universe. The story is a series of text options that unfold along a spare score; you pick characters’ replies and deeds. The game’s best satisfactions come from everyday premises dosed with strange vibes: underground tram rides with ghostly miners, a bureaucratic office helmed by bears, and a boy whose family vanishes save his brother, Julian—who’s an eagle with a magnificent wingspan.

KRZ is meant for the grown crowd, but the combination of atmospheric marvels, the slight chance of peril, and jumpy dream logic seems a natural fit for a quiet, bookish, and weird kid. Which is to say this is the game I would’ve wanted as a child, cat-sitting for my neighbors and thumbing through their encyclopedias on the supernatural (two words, one interjection: astral projection, yes).

Adults and older kids will dig Kentucky Route Zero, as they speed toward uncertain reckonings and destinations.