There’s been a resurrection of late of adventure games. Kickstarters have helped, remasters have rekindled old passions and Telltale have brought new stories based on existing IPs to a salivating audience.
Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space looks to cash in on this craze combined with the 1960 style B movie aesthetic. It’s a strange thing really, a game so heavily influenced by the 60s, looking like something from the 2000s but playing like a game from the 1990s. It knows what it wants to be but struggles with the influences of the cool kids of today.
Set in a first person type, you play John, a nightwatchman for a security facility called Jupiter. Things very quickly go wrong and John finds himself lost surrounded by creepy monsters. John has to get out of there as it’s just all a bit weird, scary and dangerous by solving a number of puzzles.
A few things jump out very quickly. Firstly, the game looks rough. As in really rough. It’s like it’s colour palette has been heavily diluted to start with, a wash with greens and blacks but a neon green heads up display doing its best to blind and dazzle you. Graphics are straight out of early Xbox 360 and PS3 days with next to no fidelity to any of it and text overlays from the original Xbox and PS2 era. Controls are all over the place although it isn’t a deal breaker as you’re mostly solving puzzles. This is the first major problem – it’s so difficult to see anything through poor lighting and a mass of green and blue and black that items you need to pick up and do anything with are camouflaged.
As you embark on your first puzzle this hurdle just grows. Picking up items is a challenge as you have to flick between a near invisible inventory text system and then rather than having multiple context button presses for activates you need to use the left stick to target something to interact with and the d-pad to select an appropriate action for your held item. Ugh. It shouldn’t be this difficult. The way to solve the puzzles are actually fairly clever with some decent interaction between objects although you do have to work hard to try and uncover the solutions – seemingly more of a failure of the game to hint you towards what you need to do rather than your own ability to find it.
John can be a bit of a chatty Cathy at times but he sounds bored as anything. He’s the sort of guy that you would try really hard to avoid talking to at a party as he’ll be telling you about his shed and following you around all night until you’ve simply had enough and have to go home. Monotone expressions lack any impact really and it’s hard to believe John is in some trouble with the monsters that follow him around.
And this is really the deal breaker – not content with being a puzzle game through and through, Albedo has to fit in and offer some first person melee and shooting sections. Make no mistake – this is absolutely dire. I can’t articulate how terrible these parts are so just imagine the earlier party situation but with an entire room full of people like John and no escape for you.
From the background of this game I understand it’s mostly the work of a single person. Kudos really is due as it’s an achievement to produce something with as much thought as has gone into it as Albedo although sadly the completed effort just isn’t up to the standard of a lot of other stuff out there these days. Ultimately despite its flaws Albedo is just a bit dull.
Reviewed on PS4