There’s a brace of games from Playdead that if you’re into games in any way whatsoever, you’ll know that they are called Limbo and Inside. Two very distinct, disturbing and beautifully crafted games, with their own sinister and thought provoking tones. Side scrolling platform games with some small puzzles thrown in for good measure make these immensely playable, and have received critical praise from many a gamer. Coming into the fold with a game that’s strikingly familiar, is K Bros Games, with their first venture into Xbox One with Albert & Otto.
The game is set during the outbreak of WWII in 1939, and as Playdead’s games, it focuses less on adding a generous colour palette, and more on atmosphere, leaving much to the imagination as there is no narrative spoken or text. What you do get however, is mailboxes with some quite sinister looking drawings and shards that form the collectibles of Albert & Otto. Whether this is intentional or not isn’t something that I’m aware of, yet at the same time I do appreciate that it leaves the goings on up to the gamers imagination.
Gameplay mechanics whilst functional, can be a bit awkward from time to time, and can be frustrating to say the least. Especially when you encounter the bug that prevents the aim mechanics from working, which results in the reload checkpoint option being used and leaving you to replay a scene you’ve just completed. There’s a couple of abilities that you acquire early on in the game. One of which is the double jump, which is gained by finding Otto. A little red rabbit that you can drop and pick up whenever you need to solve a puzzle. Secondly, there’s a levitation ability which, if I’m honest is highly annoying at times. When you’re trying to stack boxes and the physics decide to play havoc with you, it won’t prevent you from advancing, but it will leave you mumbling as you try to place your levitation items exactly where you want them.
Bugs and issues aside now, and playing through an ambiguous game such as Albert & Otto may seem a daunting task at first, but fear not. It’s actually a very short affair, and if you’re quick enough and don’t die frequently, you could have this wrapped up anywhere between one and two hours. It’s not hard in terms of difficulty, and allows you to progress at a steady pace. The price may seem off putting for some, and those who really want to play it may end up waiting for a sale. I’d like to find out more of this story, and who Albert is following. Even after the end sequence, it feels like there’s unfinished business.
Yes there is some obvious issues that present themselves during the course of play, and this may be a deal breaker for some. A patch to fix some of these issues would be welcome and go a long way to convincing people to part with there he’s earned cash. So naturally we talk about the price now, and for your £10 it does seem a bit high due to the short amount of time you’ll get from it, and if you’re on the fence, then it’s a sale you’ll be waiting for.
Time to talk about the puzzle elements now, and while Limbo and Inside have puzzles that are enjoyable and well structured, Albert and Otto does very little in terms of effort. They’re easy to be honest, and offer no trouble as you glide through the game with ease. That coupled with little to no narrative about why, who and what you’re doing and where you’re going numb the game down a bit. To create a game that has no dialogue and story that’s obvious to the eye, takes a great deal of work, and more so to immerse the gamer into the universe you have created. It’s not to say that I didn’t like Albert and Otto, in fact I did enjoy my experience with it. But playing from start to finish a second time made it al the more noticeable for me, and I was able to spot a few bugs here and there. Especially when floating down stream on a wooden crate. Sometimes I would just slide off for no reason at all, or I’d get stuck in scenery. Or what bugged me the most, and that was my aim got stuck in one position which required me to reload the checkpoint until it fixed itself.
As a product, Albert and Otto is of genuine interest to me, and I did enjoy running through it, albeit the first time was far better as it was new at that point. The story may continue if there’s enough genuine interest from the community, and I sincerely hope so as I want to find out more regarding Albert. But the creepy photos only hint at what there is in terms of a story to tell. The shards form a picture which leaves me feeling confused. All about personal interpretations here.
Would I recommend it? Yes. But be sure that you know what you’re getting into first. I’ve already seen many conflicting opinions about it, and saying it’s “marmite” is the best way to describe it. It won’t appeal to everyone, but those who possess an open mind and ready to find out more, may well enjoy it. My final score has dropped due to the bugs, but nonetheless, I liked Albert and Otto, a young child and his rather creepy red rabbit.
Overall Score 7/10
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
Release Date: 9th January 2018
File Size: 631MB