“Kentucky Route Zero Act 4 is nearly done,” we proclaimed back in November of last year. The statement was made entirely in good faith, but “nearly done” proved to be a somewhat flexible term, as was the promise that it would be released “soon,” which I think we can all agree was last seen receding in our rear view mirror shortly after the new year. But better late than never, as they say.
Kentucky Route Zero, as developer Cardboard Computer describes it, “is a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it.” It's a point-and-clicker, but unlike most other games in the genre it follows a meandering but fairly linear path on a journey filled with choices rather than goals: You poke around, you discover, you maybe see something unexpected, and you move on. Dialog is sparse, the visual style is striking, and the audio is something close to perfect.
The release of Act 4 is notable not only because KRZ is such a remarkable game, but because it's taken so long to get here. The first act was released in January 2013; act two game in May of that year, and act three in May 2014, more than two years ago. Cardboard Computer acknowledged the long wait last summer when it assured supporters that the game “is not abandoned, canceled, a 'scam,' a performance art piece(?), or anything else but a work-in-progress.” But it also warned that, despite the longer-than-expected wait, its “process” would not change.
Which is fine with me. Good things are worth waiting for, as people like to say, and Kentucky Route Zero is very good indeed. Find out more at kentuckyroutezero.com.