Your Good Buddy KZ
One of the most cliche concepts in sci-fi is the AI in control of a spaceship, be it rogue or otherwise. Event follows this trend and has you interacting with an AI named Kaizen, KZ for short, in order to search around a derelict spacecraft. The beginning of the game you find yourself hurtling towards a spacecraft and board it. You're quickly introduced to KZ in the spaceships lobby. Every interaction with KZ is facilitated by terminals in the room your currently in. The terminals are well placed and are prevalent enough so you don't have to travel long distance to ask KZ to do something for you; likewise they aren't crowding the ship and don't feel out of place.
KZ has a personality, something that is evident when you first arrive through the way he introduces yourself and the spacecraft. He doesn't talk in a robot like diction but his tone is obviously robotic. The game also has you enter your name which the game does a fairly good job of pronouncing. With most of the early interactions, I found I was finding more about KZ, the ship, it's crew and the situation surrounding them. Most of the time the parsing works fairly well and KZ responds with something that makes sense if you are using key words hes fed you. For instance if he mentions a tea kettle and you say "tell me about the kettle", he most likely will. Something that is a little spotty is the use of pronouns. Using the above example if I replaced "kettle" with "it" KZ might respond logically or feed me random line. This seemed to vary a lot for different objects and for no apparent reason. You can also engage in small talk with KZ which works very well for the most part and is essential if you want to be on his good side. Ocassionally the system breaks down because you can't account for everything someone will type. If you try to ask about something broad or that hasn't been mentioned by a log or KZ it will most likely get you a response that doesn't make sense or KZ will say he doesn't understand. Very rarely you will ask about something from a log and KZ will act befuddled but this only happened to me once.
Besides the interactions with KZ, the gameplay revolves around puzzling out how to progress to the next area using the information you learn from Kaizen or the logs kept on each terminal. The gleaning of information surrounding your progression and the backstory of KZ and his home are all very well put together. It never proved to obtuse or to bland. There was never any obtrusive backtracking expect in one portion where I found that it wasn't clear what I could have KZ do. It's also worth mentioning that if you find yourself lost, don't no what you can turn on, or interact with you can always ask KZ which is helpful and ties back into the uniqueness of your interactions with your buddy.
The interactions with KZ may seem to be fairly bare bones at first if you simply have him open doors and just use him to get where you need to go, but if you just strike up a conversation with him the game becomes much more interesting. It's also fairly essential to keep him in a good mood as I mentioned earlier because you need him to progress. Part of the your interactions with KZ is asking him to let you look at logs that the previous crew kept. Here I learned about the interactions with KZ and the crew and I actually started ending requests with "thank you, KZ" and "thank you, buddy" after learning that one of the crew refereed to him as such. Some of the intricacies of the way you talk to Kaizen make there effects evident while are others are more subtle. For example after I started saying thank you to kaizen he would start replying with "I'm always happy to help" but progressed to things like "your welcome, buddy". Whether this was just coincidence or the result of my actions I can't be sure but it helped solidify Kaizen as a "living" thing.
One of my Favorite interactions with KZ was when i got lazy and stopped using punctuation. Quickly after he asked me to start using proper punctuation.
That said, I sometimes found it easy to get stuck in a rut if kaizen started bits of dialogue that where unique. If he started to explain something in order for the story to progress but I asked a question he couldn't quite parse, the discussion easily got derailed as he jumped away from the progression. In these instances it was hard to tell how I could get him back on track and I often just left that area and came back shortly after to see if would restart with that topic. It was fairly hit or miss and I couldn't quite figure out whether there was just an event which spawned these discussions or if it was somewhat random. In the ending I found this to be a large problem as it happened there and I couldn't figure out how to get him to progress. I would ask questions that were fairly different or state things that were unrelated and would get the same response. It fit somewhat in the moment but for me it was a largely negative strike against game.
The ship itself is very well crafted and is small enough for you to get place to place quickly. The detail of the ship and the space outside look great and have that retro sci-fi feel. All the environments feel unique and are littered with little details which give context to the logs you read. The sound design is also very well done; the music is fairly minimal save for a few moments where a repeating song is used.
Despite the occasional parsing hiccups the game is very well put together and KZ is a memorable companion in your exploration of the spacecraft. The game is fairly short, I beat it in 2 hours, but is worth the price of admission if you enjoy exploration games or found games like facade. If your on the fence I would recommend checking it out as it does what it aims to do very well.
The keyboards are also super clicky, which is a plus in my book.