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Parents' Guide to

Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Story-driven quest has no combat, some drug and alcohol use.

Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Is It Any Good?

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Is it a game, or is it art? That's the question that Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition will leave many players pondering. There's no failing, succeeding, or even really changing how things play out. You can control character movement, pick where to go next, and make dialogue choices, but really you're just along for the ride, taking in the images and dialogue that the game's designers intend for you to see. Best to think of it as an interactive version of your favorite surreal TV show -- think Twin Peaks, or The Prisoner -- but with themes and ideas that are a bit more comprehensible and relatable. Kentucky Route Zero is, at its heart, a story about the American condition. It's about people getting along in a world that, at best, seems to have forgotten or ignored them, or, at worst, is out to slowly crush them. It's about people withering under debt, traditional livelihoods being threatened by progress, and people remembering the past, for better and worse.

To get the most out of this compelling, imaginatively told tale, it's best to go in without expectations. Don't go looking for conflicts and challenges, because you won't find them. At least not in the traditional sense. It's better to allow yourself to be enveloped by the game's mood and mystery, facilitated by a haunting soundtrack that transitions between banjo blues and creepy rhythms, and a dark, minimalist visual presentation where areas hidden by shadow are often as striking and memorable as those bathed in light. Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition is a game designed to make players think about their lives and those of the people around them, the psychological and emotional obstacles we all face and the direction in which we're headed. It doesn't pretend to have any answers, but it does show people enduring and persisting, and perhaps that's a start.

Game Details

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