Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes Review

Screenshot from Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Somebody set us up the bomb

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Steel Crate Games
  • Publisher: Steel Crate Games
  • Release Date: 9 Oct 2015
  • Time played: 0.5 hours

What is it

Steel Crate Games are a small indie development studio from Canada that formed in 2014. After developing a bomb defusal game for the Global Game Jam 2014, Ben Kane (of DLC Quest and Loot Box Quest fame), Brian Fetter and Allen Pestaluky decided to develop the concept into a fully-fledged game: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes was released a year later in 2015.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a simple game to pick up but a hard one to master. The game is usually played with two players: one player is the "defuser" and is responsible for defusing a bomb while the other player is the “"expert" responsible for reading a manual and providing instructions to the defuser on how to defuse the bomb. Sounds simple, right? Well, it's easier said than done since to play the game properly, the defuser isn't allowed to see the manual and the expert isn't allowed to see the bomb: they will have to use the good ol' fashioned art of talking in order to communicate with each other. The manual isn't the simplest document in the world to read, either, not to mention some modules on the bomb require you to remember buttons you've pressed previously.

The game is well received on Steam with an overall rating of "Overwhelmingly Positive" where 98% of the 4,592 reviews are positive.

How I got it

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is one of the highest rated games on Steam and it also happens to be a game that my friends have played and highly recommend. So, when it was going for under $5 USD in July last year, I felt it was time to check it out.

Despite not having played the game for very long (only half an hour) I think I've got the general gist of the game so it's time for a review.

Screenshot from Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Details such as serial numbers can be critical in identifying the right type of module

What I like:


I like the fact that a weird hobby of mine (i.e. reading manuals) is actually useful in this game! However, it's no use being able to read the manual if you can't communicate, which brings me to my next point…

Communication is key

This game shows the importance of good communications. The defuser has to correctly describe what he or she sees and can't leave any details (e.g. serial numbers, number of batteries, etc.) since incorrectly identifying the bomb or module can have disastrous consequences. The expert also has a tough job in deciphering the manual into a format that is easy for the defuser to understand. The most successful teams are the ones that are able to communicate effectively and understand one another (and in that regard, the game becomes a bit like the board game Pictionary).

Fun party game

The game is an ideal party game since (a) it's easy to learn the controls for the game (the challenge comes in figuring out what to defuse) and (b) it's an entertaining game for spectators.

Procedurally generated bombs

While there are only a limited number of default modules, each bomb and module is procedurally generated so it's very unlikely you'll get the same bomb twice in a row and there should be enough combinations to keep the game fresh for a while.

Only the defuser needs to own the game

The person who defuses the bomb is the only one that needs to own a copy of the game since the bomb defusal manual is available free online.

Steam Workshop

The game gives you the ability to download mods through Steam Workshop (e.g. Minesweeper modules) and for the particularly creative, you can design your own mods and share them with the world!

Steam Achievements and Leaderboards

There are 10 Steam Achievements you can earn in this game and there are also Steam Leaderboards (so you can compete with your friends and the public with respect to bomb defusal times). The game has no Trading Cards.

Screen grab from the bomb manual for Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
The bomb manual can sometimes be hard to decipher and this is what the "expert" reads

What I dislike:

You need a friend

Just like many board games or party games, you'll require a friend to play since there always needs to be one defuser and one "expert" (who reads the bomb defusal manual).

Score – 9/10 (Fantastic)

I tried really hard to think of faults for this game but besides the obvious (i.e. you need a friend in order to be effective) there's not really much I can think of. I'm quite comfortable saying Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is the best bomb defusal game I've ever played (take that Counter-Strike and your feeble de_dust! 😉); it's also one of the best two-player co-op games you can get on PC where communication is key and where only one player is required to own a copy of the game.

Is the game worth $21.50 AUD?: Yes, but only just. Around $20 is a fair price for the game considering the bombs are procedurally generated and you can mod the game through the Steam Workshop.

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[ LINK: Official Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes Website ]