Albert and Otto Review
Albert and Otto is a platform/puzzle game in which players take on the role of a young boy searching for his sister, with the help of an enchanted rabbit plushie. Albert, along with the stuffed rabbit, Otto, must traverse a world full of peril and dastardly puzzles in order to locate and rescue his sister. Albert and Otto was created solely by Nikola Kostic and produced by K Bros Games. It’s an episodic game, with the first episode releasing October 28th, 2015.
As Albert, players have the ability to run, jump, carry and drop Otto, as well as fire a gun. When the rabbit is in your possession, you have the ability to double jump, which becomes crucial while solving puzzles. There are plates scattered throughout the game and it’s often required to place the lifeless bunny on these to trigger certain doors to open, or other mechanical functions. Careful timing is required here, lest you end up either stuck with nowhere to go, or dying altogether.
Figuring out the best time to place the rabbit is crucial to solving puzzles. You also have the ability to push boxes, leap onto trampolines to reach higher ground, and shoot unraveling ropes to release swings or other traps. Along the way you gather glowing shards and eventually face off with larger than life bosses. Albert and Otto promises to unlock more abilities with each episode’s release.
The visuals of Albert and Otto are very nice. The stark contrast of whites, blacks, and grays have a distinct visual appeal, something akin to a graphic novel or Limbo. Some of the landscapes do have jagged edges and the polygons aren’t hard to spot, but I think it adds to the charm and simplicity of the overall game. It’s not too detailed, but has enough depth and intricacy to keep you visually entertained.
The puzzle solving in Albert and Otto is also very satisfying. Now, while I did feel like some of the puzzles were created just to make you die — and I did die over and over— discovering the solution brought a real sense of accomplishment. This isn’t a game you can simply rush through and hope to survive. It takes a considerable amount of thought.
The controls are very responsive. While aiming the gun is a bit awkward, it gets the job done, while reloading times give certain encounters a sense of urgency. Jumping has a nice bit of weight to it, and moving and platforming felt very fluid.
However, Albert and Otto, like Limbo and Super Meat Boy, is entirely based around failure and rethinking your decisions. It’s all about trial and error. There are no lives to worry about, or health bars. One hit and you’re done. You’re sent back to a checkpoint and left to think of how to better approach the situation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there were several moments in the game where I found myself in an endless loop of death, and there’s a point where it just stops being fun. Some of the puzzles require a lot of split second decisions – any slow input ends in your death. Sometimes, I knew what to do, but I just wasn’t fast enough. Which eventually becomes a serious test of patience.
Albert and Otto doesn’t hold your hand. You’re left to figure things out as you go along. Once again, not a bad thing, but there were certain items you could interact with, and certain things that were just there for decoration. It was difficult at times to tell what was important, and what wasn’t. I know this lends itself to exploration, and analyzing everything around you, but when it’s all black and gray it does get a bit frustrating when the object you need to solve the puzzle is the gray object you never thought to look at.
Albert and Otto is an interesting game with a dark story that promises to be more than what it first appears. It’s one of those games that requires a lot of dedication from the player. It’s challenging, and only quick thinking, precision, and some patience will get you through this stark world. I enjoyed Albert and Otto, and those looking for something to challenge their problem solving skills will also. You can pick up a copy of Albert and Otto on PC/Mac, Steam/Humble Store/GOG now.