Albert and Otto
By Saki Diaz | 14 Feb 2018
A 2D puzzle platformer that creates an ominous aura. Albert & Otto is a throwback to Limbo and Inside. Albert, a young boy, goes in search of his missing sister, but not everything is as it appears. The shadows hide their secrets, as the player uncovers what really happened to Albertís sister and the dark side of a twisted nightmare.
A Young Boy Looking for His Big Sister
The game takes place with Albertís sister crossing the woods with her stuffed bunny Otto. As night descends upon the forest, Albertís sister travels farther than she should and mysteriously disappears. Armed with only a toy gun and coming across Otto, Albert races to find his sister. Albert must jump, avoid spikes and gaps in order to come close to the truth of how the world is. The story heavily relies on the player inference as to what is going on -- it can definitely be confusing to players who donít look carefully. I even had troubles grasping certain points of the story and was left with a sense of unfulfillment. I hadnít thought the game was going to be episodic and thought it was a full game until I reached the end of what appeared to be episode one.
The world in which Albert & Otto takes place is reminiscent of Limbo and Inside. The similarity between the two games in almost too big to go unnoticed. The dark atmosphere and monotone colouring keeps things simple, yet artistically appealing. The times Iíve dropped down into spikes or getting captured by a crow include great sound effects that make me imagine the blood dripping from the wounds -- a bit graphic it may be, but effective it is. The only colour in the game is Otto. Otto is a special character, that not only was a comfort to Albertís sister, but a key to solving puzzles which will be explained in a bit.
The sounds in the game donít stop with the effects. The background atmosphere in the game is both haunting and dreamlike. The creepy wind sounds the game creates makes a player feel as if they are in those very woods. A good headset will really put that perspective on the forefront, and maintain the visuals throughout the game. Probably my favourite thing about the game is that itís straight to the point yet the player will doubt everything. I donít mean ďIs this real?Ē type doubting. I mean the type of doubt that occurs when you want to know the whole story, but it can backfire on you if you donít step carefully.
A Fearless Boy with a Special Friend
Otto is more than just a stuffed bunny. His character design is simple with the exception of his colour. Bright red. Albert has a white tone to him, keeping to the monotone environment, but Otto is the only character that is completely red. He looks so cute yet that red shading hides a secret. Something sinister perhaps?
What players do know for sure when meeting Otto he is the key to solving many of the puzzles the player will face. Otto is a character with life.
He is heavy enough to activate switches, panels, and even help with boss fights. Otto can help Albert double jump, allowing new ways to reach high places to grab the collectables. The shards are part of a memory that reveals the circumstance of both Albert and his sister. Otto can also generate static electricity that helps move objects from a distance. The key to mastering these controls is difficult though. As a side-scrolling 2D platformer the game was built for PC. The game has that feel to it. On PS4 though, it was very resistant. I sometimes missed jumps because of a couple control glitches, which made it harder for me to figure out puzzles and try to get an idea how they work.
Most of the puzzles though are really easy to figure out. The key lies in the envelopes found throughout the game in mailboxes. The envelopes contain pictures that Albertís sister left behind. Some reveal a clue in how to conquer a boss and some reveal a feeling or experience Albertís sister is feeling. I thought this was fitting for the scenery and the mysteriousness and enjoy referring back to them when I had to figure out the puzzles.
Accomplishments Easy to Acquire
The fun part about the game was the accomplishments behind it. Most of these are easy to acquire, especially since the game, on a first-time playthrough, takes no more than an hour. Most of the trophies acquired are found by completing simple objectives while others are found by pure coincidence. A couple of trophies that I acquired I have to look up the trophy details in order to have an idea. But it is still an enjoyable experience. Itís also super easy to refer back to where that trophy is since players can choose to go back into a chapter.
As an overall experience, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I did find the controls to be resistant and frustrating. The story was alright, with a couple of confusing points that werenít really an issue as a whole. But it did throw me off a couple of times. I do wish they kept the ending as is though since the game did feel like a whole. If the whole game was based on the players' interpretation the ending should be as well. I love the uneasy atmosphere and enjoyed the sound effects the game gave off. The use of colour as well is something that has to be praised. It keeps things focused and gives a sense of doubt when a brighter colour comes into play. I highly recommend gamers that enjoy platformers such as Limbo and Inside to play this game. Itís also a game that can cater to everyone!
A nostalgic feeling, reminding of Limbo/Inside.
Use of color and monotone atmosphere.
Sound effects are on point and chilling.
Controls were frustrating and odd.
Story is confusing and didn't feel whole.