Radiohead's Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is likely the coolest thing that I have played all year long. That might sound like a baffling statement if you're someone who has never given much attention to Radiohead, but as someone that has identified the band as their favorite of all time since middle school, this is by far one of the most enjoyable pieces of media that I have consumed in a hot minute. Not only has Radiohead crafted something with Kid A Mnesia Exhibition that I imagine every fan of the group will adore, but the experience itself continues to assert the importance of Kid A and Amnesiac musically since the turn of the century.
To best explain what Kid A Mnesia Exhibition even is, think of it like a musical museum where you get to walk about and experience different Radiohead songs as various exhibits. The entirety of the game takes place in a rather labyrinthine environment that helps guide you from one experience to the next. Each exhibit tends to feature a single track from Kid A or Amnesiac that is usually accompanied by a bizarre environment of some sort. One location could have you listening to "In Limbo" amidst a barrage of papers whirling around your head. Another area could have you floating through a large, blue tunnel while hearing "Like Spinning Plates."
One of the coolest things about Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is how it stitches together these different environments. Rather than simply walking from one room to the next and hearing a certain track from Kid A or Amnesiac, the experience often layers in different musical elements from songs to lead you along a certain path. For instance, when Kid A Mnesia Exhibition first starts off, you find yourself in a forest with no music being played. As you notice a door off in the distance and start to inch toward it, the early stages of "Everything In Its Right Place" start to creep in before eventually kicking into full gear once you cross a certain threshold. The entirety of Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is like this, too, with different sections of songs being used to lure you throughout this bizarre locale you find yourself within.
Much of Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is in some way based on the art that was done for each album and its accompanying LPs. Artist Stanley Donwood, who has been working with Radiohead since the '90s, has a ton of his own art plastered across virtually every inch of Kid A Mnesia Exhibition. Not only will much of this art be presented in still frames that you can view like you would at a real-world art museum, but other specific set pieces, such as the mountains seen on the cover of Kid A, for instance, get their own unique environments that you can explore.
Many of the creatures and critters that have also come to be associated with Radiohead over the years show up throughout Kid A Mnesia Exhibition as well. Some of these appearances would be rather frightening to see in isolation, but the way in which they're presented throughout the game instead makes them quite fun to behold. Seeing these 3D models of these creatures after previously only getting a look at them on posters, concert t-shirts, or other pieces of Radiohead iconography over the years was more exciting than I would have thought.
What surprised me more than anything about Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is that I found myself getting oddly emotional while playing it. Every song that is included in this game is one that I've heard a thousand times before either via Spotify or in-person at an actual Radiohead concert. And yet, despite this, hearing these songs broken down and being presented in an all-new manner made me feel like I was experiencing Kid A and Amnesiac for the first time.
Perhaps no other moment in the game better exemplifies this than one where you experience visual setpieces for "How to Disappear Completely," "Pyramid Song," and "You And Whose Army?" in succession. Rather than walking through a certain location while hearing these songs play around you, Kid A Mnesia Exhibition essentially removes the controls from your hands and forces you to experience a three-part visual spectacle. The result is the experience's high point and is something that I wish I could see again for the first time.
When you first boot up Kid A Mnesia Exhibition, one of the initial things that it tells you is that you need to take your time. This isn't something that you'll want to rush through or "beat" in the way that you would with a normal video game. Instead, this is something that is meant to serve as a love letter from Radiohead to fans that better shows just how these albums were created. And in that pursuit, I really can't think of anything that could have been better for the band to release to celebrate the 20th anniversary of these records.
Although it surely sounds cliche, Kid A Mnesia Exhibition really deepened my love for these albums more so than I thought possible. While Radiohead's work on Kid A and Amnesiac has always been praised, the way in which this Exhibition allows you to better appreciate each album as a whole really cannot be understated. If you're someone who has ever at any point enjoyed Radiohead, Kid A, or Amnesiac, this is nothing short of a must-play.