Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space Review
Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space, a first-person adventure game inspired by 60s pulp sci-fi movies. it’s the work of just one man, Fabrizio Zagaglia, a solo Italian indie developer (that’s an astonishing achievement in itself) and on the surface it looks to be a well polished game. Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space was released on the Xbox One 20th January, 2016 and is also available for the PlayStation 4 and on Steam (PC/Mac/Steam Play).
Inspired by 60s pulp sci-fi movies, Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space is a first-person adventure game. Working as a night-watchman at a partially abandoned, secret research facility, you are knocked unconscious by a nearby explosion. Waking in the complex’s basement you look up and see a gaping hole in the ceiling. Escaping the damaged building is only the start of your troubles and as you begin to explore the base you encounter strange, unearthly organisms. Is this all because of some sort of biological experiment gone wrong? You’ll need to fight for survival as you unravel the mysteries and solve the problems that lie ahead.
Just another day in the life of John T. Longy, the nightwatchman at the Space and Time labs of the secret research facility, JUPITER base – Earth, August 12, 2063 – 21:33. You’re on the job and set for the night with your feet upon the desk, comic books to hand, with an ample supply of pizza and beer to get you through the night. A scientist casually passes by and gives you the heads-up that Jefferies is still working on the boilers and asks if you’d lock up once he’s finished. After giving him the OK with a friendly farewell and thumbs-up, it’s time to look alive as you take to your feet soon realizing that you’ve probably drank too much. You stumble and fall as the floor shakes to the sound of a distant explosion but before you’re able to fully stand up right a second, closer explosion knocks you unconscious.
When you come-round, amongst the disorientation, you wonder what happened and what could have caused the explosions. You’re in the basement, the gaping hole in the ceiling and debris suggests that the floor that you were on collapsed due to the explosions. You feel the need to check on Jefferies as he was still on site in the boiler room. But first you’ve got to get out of the room, the door is locked from the other side and there seems to be something monstrous hammering it from the other side.
You explore your surroundings for anything useful that could aid you in your safe escape from the basement. You find some bricks, a valve you removed from a pipe, a packet of snacks that split open attracting a rat, the rat itself, a rat trap, some used bin bags, a shaky vending machine, a tin can that has expired, a box that falls through the hole in the ceiling containing a strange tool, and a rope – what do you do? The creature on the other side of the door seems to be interested in the rat but it sounds too formidable to deal with it head on so you’re going to have to set a trap…
The first room – the basement – acts as a basic tutorial allowing you to get used to the options available when looking at different types of items and understand that not all items are useful. Also, that you can keep some items in your inventory, which isn’t limited by volume or weight and others only serve a purpose in the room you’re currently in. Some of the more frequent options include; pickup, put in inventory, drop, observe, use with, and throw.
To escape the basement you’ll use a snack with the rat trap, use the rope with the shaky vending machine and wait for nature to take it’s course. The rat will attempt to sample the delicious snack and will die in the trap making one last little squeak which sends the creature into a frenzy, giving it the incentive to batter down the door. Now for the finale of the trap of your own design – you pull the rope, tipping over the vending machine onto the creature.
You progress through the game room by room, each presenting puzzles of increased complexity that forces you to explore your surroundings and figure out the logical relationships of items to overcome whatever obstacle hinders your advancement. The story is primarily told through John’s voice and a series of cut scenes that explains much but not all…
The overall atmosphere is dark and gritty, the graphics are well detailed with environmental settings located in and around the facility, through time and space. There’s little music throughout the game but when it’s present it’s dramatic and in it’s absence during general gameplay you’re able to experience the rooms through sound – you could almost close your eyes and describe a room just from the atmospherics that have an almost ominous tone.
There are some enemies that you encounter from time to time, some you have to distract or avoid, others you’ll have to engage. Depending on the situation and whats available in the room, you’ll use aspects of the environment, items, tools, and eventually a shotgun to dispatch enemies. The combat is somewhat rudimentary but it’s not the main focus of the game, the style is suited perfectly and serves more of a narrative tool to drive the story than a “kill for killings sake” approach.
Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space is a first person adventure fueled by logic-based puzzles. Throughout the game you’ll have to apply commonsense and knowledge in a manner of different ways to overcome the challenging puzzles that are both fulfilling and entertaining. This game may not attract hardcore fans of FPS but it shouldn’t! This is first and foremost a hardcore puzzle game with some recognizable FPS elements but fans of the genre who are looking for a brain racking puzzler need look no further than Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space.
It’s a great game but it isn’t an easy puzzler by any stretch of the imagination. Those with little logic and patience, who are prone to frustration tantrums and rage quitting look else where – this game may prove too hard and press all your wrong buttons.
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