Limbo and Inside helped usher in a string of Indie games that all centered around the same aesthetic: small child in a creepy environment dealing with monsters and puzzles while being viewed with high contrast colors. I loved Limbo. I loved Inside. Would I love Albert & Otto? The only way to find out was to play it.
Developed by K Bros Games and published by Digerati Distribution Albert & Otto was originally going to be a four-part narrative. Lack of funding prevented the other episodes from ever being made so they released Episode 1 – The Adventure Begins on PC and eventually Xbox One and Playstation 4. The gang at K Bros Games are hoping this new audience will help fund the rest of the episodes.
Albert & Otto stars young Albert. A boy set out to search for his sister in 1939 Germany. Right away the atmosphere is unsettling. Cold machinery and metal clanking fill the backgrounds as the wind howls. The sound design in this game really makes you feel small and insignificant in a world ravaged by war.
Adding to the atmosphere is the contrast in colors. Black, white, and shades of grey fill your screen as Albert makes his way through the world. While venturing you stumble across Otto, a bunny that used to belong to your sister. When you find Otto you gain new abilities like a double-jump. You can also place Otto down to help trigger platforms and solve puzzles.
To help combat the massive giant crows that attack you, Albert has a gun… because… why not? Honestly I am a little confused about the gun because in a platforming game with puzzles a gun seems out of place. Maybe in future episodes the gun will have a more significant role but for right now it doesn’t do much except kill birds.
Throughout the game letters from your sister are scattered about and it becomes increasingly clear that something more sinister is happening. Cryptic messages and creepy imagery appear as you progress through the game.
The controls are decent. Albert’s jumps don’t always make him land where you think he’s going to land. This lead to a lot of missed jumps which was frustrating while trying to defeat a boss. Albert can only take one hit before he dies and you have to start over from the last checkpoint. The difficulty isn’t too bad but the game is pretty repetitive. Puzzles are clever and there are some great moments where you send poor little sheep to their death. No I’m serious, you can light a sheep on fire to use it as a torch. Which I will admit, made me feel like a real jerk.
Albert & Otto is a welcome addition to the “small-child-in-a-creepy-black-and-white-world-puzzle-plattformer” genre. You just have to get used to the jumping controls.
*The reviewer was given a copy of Albert & Otto: The Adventure Begins for Xbox One