July 17th, 2011 | By Emerson Smith
I’ve been watching the development of Kairo ever since Perrin first posted information about it online so after I got my hands on the alpha build I burst with excitement.
Kairo is exactly what I had hoped: this isn’t a game that gives you objectives, super powers or rules.
You simply appear in the middle of nothingness and begin to explore.
The puzzles can be hard to figure out from time to time for exactly this reason but it’s never impossible, and a helpful hint system can lead you in the right track if you have absolutely no idea what to do in the next room.
The alpha build I played was centered around a central hub. Five tar-like teleports send you to other parts of Kairo and contain their small loop of puzzles that bring you back around to the hub. As you solve puzzles the hub will be altered (for example the beam shooting upward between the rings).
You really do feel like you are bringing these machines back to life. There is a large, ominous mystery to where these monuments came from, who built them and what purpose it has which I assume will be answered in a vague, ambiguous fashion that Perrin tells the entire tale with.
And that’s just what makes Kairo so powerful. It tells a story without any dialogue or narrative — the entire journey is narrated by emotion.
Every room has a unique feeling that is joined with the overall oppressive atmosphere.
To understand Perrin’s design process before the game is released the best possible place to go, other than Perrin himself, would be to his two articles on IndieDB: The Kairo Process and Kairo: Puzzles and Obstacles.
Kairo is without a doubt a fascinating, raw indie game that deserves your attention.
To try out the alpha now, head on over to the Kairo website and preorder or get it when it’s released later this year!