Posted: September 10, 2014
I am alone.
As with most places in this desolate world I find myself in, the room is almost entirely monochromatic. Green, but not a green like living plants, but a green like something sickly and dying. Rotten. Slimy. It is a long corridor, and unlike the other places I have visited, it is somewhat claustrophobic. Large caskets line the sides of the corridor, and as I walk slowly along, looking for something I am expected to do, I stop and investigate one.
There is a monitor on each casket. Some are broken, some flicker with static, but this one shows an image, though of what, I cannot see. I stand there for awhile, longer maybe than I should, waiting for something to appear on that monitor, but if the image changes, it is perhaps only my imagination. Or my reflection.
Kairo is a strange, ominous world. There are great monoliths to explore, machines that reach up to the heavens, and cramped corridors to wander through. Some rooms have puzzles, some are just desolate walkways, hanging out over an abyss.
I feel I am in purgatory. The very first action this game asks you to take is a leap of faith. This is what the game expects of you- perhaps not to understand, but to experience.
Visually, this game is a treat of abstract, bold art. Simple, yes, but the limited pallette serves to build the abandoned atmosphere of the game, and Kairo is more than capable of providing small details mixed in amongst the enormous structures. The appearance of the game almost looks somewhat grainy, like an old photograph.
The sound is just the howl of empty wind in enormous rooms. Rocks grind and scrape over surfaces as you move puzzles into place. There is some music, but it did not stand out to me in comparison to the rooms that whistle with loneliness.
Kairo is, for the most part, a puzzle game. You manipulate these great structures, these old, broken runes, to find your way through. Some of the puzzles are simple, some of them seem to make little sense, requiring simple trial and error. Kairo does provide 'hints' for each level, but they are otiose at best, perhaps deliberately. Still, there is a sense of accomplishment at defeating these particular puzzles, and a continual drive to see what might be next keeps you going.
Do I understand what is going on? I feel I do. But at the same time, I feel that there are many right answers.
So, come. Walk with me for awhile.