The Saturday Review: Albert & Otto

Nov
28

The Saturday Review: Albert & Otto

Albert & Otto: The Adventure Begins is an episodic puzzle platformer developed by Nikola Kostic and published by Kbros Games. I recently gave the first episode a try and will be reviewing it here. Below you will find a more detailed review for the game, but if you don’t want to read through all of that, there will be a summary at the end followed by a video and the various scores.

Albert & Otto puts you in the role of Albert whose sister appears to have been kidnapped by a sinister darkness. With your gun in hand, you travel to find her, and soon stumble across her beloved stuffed bunny, Otto. However, Otto is no mere stuffed animal and having him with you greatly increases your own abilities, and soon after Otto also shares his own magical abilities to help you on your journey. You have to be smart to solve most of the puzzles and challenges that get in your way, but time is of the essence, and in many instances you will have to move fast if you want to be able to make it through.

I will start by reviewing the graphics for Albert & Otto. The game’s style was inspired by Tim Burton’s style, especially his early stop motion films. The game definitely gives off a similar vibe, and the look certainly lends to the creepier parts of the story. As you fight through wolves, crows, and mechanized monster, it all fits together very well. I’d give the graphics, an 8/10.

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Next up is the music. The music in Albert & Otto does a good job of setting the mood. It is all instrumental, and every piece seems appropriate to the scene it is a part of. The scene that stands out the best in my mind is when you pass near a specific building you start to hear a girl singing very creepily. With the story you should have been able to glean up to this point, it makes the scene even creepier to walk through. So, thanks to a little girl’s singing, they get an 8/10 for music.

Now, onto the widely controversial part, the story. Albert & Otto is set in pre WWII Germany, which may not be explicit in the game but there are many hints to it. The story itself is shown through a few cut scenes, and the background is given through a series of pictures that Albert’s sister has drawn. The pictures are found in mailboxes through the levels, and are crudely drawn but give you a good sense of what happened. This is the first part of a series, so it is expected that this story seems to do more to set everything in the world up. Another part that shows what is going on is just how easy it is for Albert to commit to doing things that many people would find unsettling. Especially when it has to do with sheep. It’s almost like he has a vendetta against the sheep and can leave none of them alive. –spoiler alert- It is interesting to note that Albert’s sister drew him a picture of her sleeping with sheep floating above her head, and he finds this in the middle of torturing sheep in various ways, such as burning them alive. The story was mostly implied, but had some good cut scenes, which gave you more of a feel of what was happening. So for story Albert & Otto gets a 9/10.

Now onto the content of Albert & Otto itself. The game is pretty short, but it advertises itself as the first in a series, and with its low price should be obvious that it is not going to last a really long time. There are letters you can find to explain your sister’s back story better, and there are shards of a picture that you can find. The game is short, and is made longer by having challenging puzzles that you have to get your timing just right on. There is some replayability for perfectionists, because a lot of the achievements involve either not dying at all, or only dying a little bit. However, this gets Albert & Otto an 8/10.

albert-and-otto-screenshot1

Now for the lifeblood that can break even a great game, the controls. Albert & Otto’s controls are very simple. You can move side-to-side, jump, send out electrical currents, shoot, pull items toward you, and drop Otto. These controls are very responsive, and when you miss a platform and drown you’ll know that it’s because of your own skill, not the game’s interface, which is very important. The controls also aren’t bogged down with a lot of options, which is good. You see, with how much you already have to multitask in this game, if they added more controls you’d have more that you would have to do at the same time. So for responsive controls that thankfully are not overly complicated Albert & Otto gets yet another 8/10.

As for the gameplay in Albert & Otto. First of all, the game’s puzzles are definitely some very good ones. Not only do you have to set down the magical stuffed bunny Otto at times, but also whenever you do, you lose a large number of your abilities. This makes you have to think more before you just charge in, unless you want to die. Another good thing about the puzzles is that they mix up things you have already used in the game to keep things interesting. The game will take something you did in the first puzzle, and then use it in a new way in the third puzzle. There are also many times when you have to solve puzzles on the fly or you won’t be able to keep up with a moving platform you need to stay on. Another positive for the game is how there aren’t set levels. Each puzzle flows into the next through a hallway or something similar, but there is never an indication of a save point or that you’re in the next level. Except maybe when you pass by a certain gated building surrounded by the creepy singing of a little girl. That scene has no puzzles and feels like it is just there to really cement the world as being real. So, the game has a lot of good things going for it, but, due to its length, it stops almost abruptly. I was left wanting more, but from what I’ve seen in this game, all of the episodes together should provide a lot of entertainment and value. So for gameplay Albert & Otto gets a 9/10.

 

SUMMARY

To wrap it all together, Albert & Otto: The Adventure Begins is an exciting game. The puzzles stick to similar ideas but reuse them in ways that not only keep you on your toes, but also keeps things fresh. The game has a very good look, and does a good job following its inspiration of Tim Burton. The music is also very good and does a good job setting the tone for the game, and providing a chilling atmosphere at several key points in the game. The controls are responsive and thankfully work like it feels like they should. The story may be mostly hidden within the game and left up to the player to decide, but there is more then enough there to show the player what is really happening, or at least to hint at it. Albert & Otto is currently available on Steam, and if you have a little bit of money to spend I would definitely recommend giving Albert & Otto a try. Below there will be a breakdown of the numbers underneath the video.

Graphics 8/10 (very good)

Music 8/10 (very good)

Story 9/10 (great)

Content 8/10 (very good)

Controls 8/10 (very good)

Gameplay 9/10 (great)

Overall 83/100 (very good)

Written by Spencer Havens, contact me at spencerhavens@yahoo.com, or fill out the contact form on the website if you want me to review your game, or even if you just want to ask me to write up an article about it.

About Spencer Havens

Spencer is a writer and a gamer always looking for that next game to envelop his life.

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