Kentucky Route Zero is a point-and-click adventure game that I’ve been excited for, mostly due to its cult-level fame in the PC community. The announcement of the TV version coming to Switch and other consoles got me excited, so I was happy to finally check it out for the first time at PSX 2017 on PS4. Unfortunately, I walked away unimpressed.
This is mainly due to the lack of any context whatsoever. My short demo took place during the Town of Nothing (Un Pueblo de Nada) section of Kentucky Route Zero. What little I’ve seen from it previously was a traditional 2D adventure game, but this took place in a 3D space similar to a Telltale game. Despite that change, I really liked the artstyle and its unique, handdrawn aesthetic.
The troubled parts of this section of Kentucky Route Zero begin with its control scheme. Coming directly from PC where it’s easy to select everything with your mouse, it didn’t surprise me that it doesn’t translate super well to using the thumbsticks on PS4. Various objects you can select are clearly marked onscreen and when you navigate close to one, it will automatically gravitate towards it.
This causes selections to be way too finicky, as you can very easily overshoot the object you’re trying to select and make it more frustrating than necessary. Beyond that, this demo left me with more questions than answers as to what Kentucky Route Zero is actually about.
In the Town of Nothing section, you play as a woman that works at a TV studio in a small town. My overall objective for the short 10 minute demo was making sure the late night news show went well by fixing tedious problems and making sure each person was doing their job.
However, it dealt with none of the mystery and story elements that have made Kentucky Route Zero so loved. It seemed like an odd and boring place to show it off; not doing it justice in the process. I’m still hopeful for the TV edition, but this mixed preview has me more skeptical than I was before.