Albert and Otto finally made its way into consoles, just over 2 years after it’s initial release on Steam/PC. An independently developed and published title by KBROS games that was originally envisaged as a standalone 4 part series. An atmospheric 2D platformer that never quite made it’s sales goal at the time and it is hoped, after releasing on console that the additional sales will help fund parts 2, 3 & 4 respectively.
Reviewed on Xbox One, also available on Playstation 4 and PC
Released January 10th 2018
Developer – KBROS games
Genre – 2D Puzzle Platformer
Install size – 630mb
Our story takes place in a stylised, haunting vision of 1939 Germany as we follow our protagonist, Albert on the search for his missing sister Anna.
Along the way we find Anna’s little, stuffed toy bunny Otto. A magical, red companion that is more than meets the eye. Together the two heroes search for Anna with the story being delivered by a sequence of letters. With disturbing clues and imagery revealed as the game progresses, what seems to be an adventure to save a damsel in distress could be anything but that.
Players primarily control Albert as they traverse 1939 Germany in the search for Anna. Gameplay is a mix of light platforming and puzzle solving that is relatively straightforward. At the start of the adventure, Albert only has the use of a single Jump and a shotgun that is used to dispatch the odd enemy. These are mapped to a single button for jump and the right stick and RT for aiming and shooting the shotgun.
However, once you find Otto, you are granted special powers and gain the ability to double jump and also levitate certain objects. It’s quite a neat little mechanic, as you only get granted these additional powers when you are carrying Otto, mapped to the LB button. Some puzzles or sections will have you needing to drop our little bunny friend off, which then suddenly makes you feel vulnerable. Almost like a child would feel when they are separated from their favourite toy.
These powers or lack of powers are then used in various combinations to traverse the world and also solve puzzles and defeat bosses. It is definitely an enjoyable experience, albeit a very short one. On average it will take a player around 3 hours to complete, meaning it can feel a little bit too short, especially at its current price tag.
Its good news for Achievement/Trophy Hunters though. Barring a couple of tricky achievements for traversing sections without dying, a full 1000g/platinum can be obtained between 3-6 hours depending on skill level.
Graphics are delivered in a stylized Monochrome style, which will bring many comparisons to Playdead’s Limbo (also INSIDE devs). Both share the same 2D viewpoint but probably the biggest difference between the 2 titles is the sporadic use of colour used in Albert and Otto to give the player visual clues.
Needless to say, if you are a fan of this particular art style then you will be happy with the presentation here.
Graphics are well rendered and the camera does a good job of slightly holding the player’s hand in moving the game forward. There are a couple of bugs I encountered which tanked the framerate and caused a crash but there didn’t seem to be a reason for it. Luckily the save points are very generous so it was more of an annoyance than actually game breaking.
I really enjoyed the sound design in Albert and Otto. Composed by a single person, Robert Frost III does a great job of creating the atmosphere in the game. A mix of catchy trance, classical German folk and sinister b-movie horror really bring the player into the world. Its implemented incredibly well in that it isn’t over-bearing to the player but blends with the action on screen. It isn’t something you notice at first but something that hits you are you replay a chapter or section.
On the whole, I enjoyed my brief time with Albert and Otto. It benefits from nice, stylised visuals and great sound design that really creates an absorbing atmosphere for the player. The companion mechanic with Otto is also a really neat touch.
If you are a fan of 2D, monochrome platformers or an achievement/Trophy Hunter that wants to knock out a completion in an afternoon, then this is definitely a game to pick up. Just be aware, that in my opinion, it is currently at a high price point for the length of the game on offer.