Albert and Otto: The Adventure Begins
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 7

Albert and Otto offers stylish visuals, interesting puzzles and platforming sections that will leave even veterans with sweaty palms. The story is a little vague, but traversing the bleak, trap-filled gameworld is a lot of fun. The game is a little on the short side, but makes up for it with a low price and with three more episodes to come there is a lot to look forward to.

Gameplay: Quite challenging in places, but conquering the tricky parts is immensely satisfying.

Graphics: The bleak, monochrome art direction is nothing new, but still looks very stylish.

Sound: No speech, but features a suitably eerie soundtrack

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Albert and Otto: The Adventure Begins

Developer: Nikola Kostic | Publisher: KBros Games | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Indie / Platformer / Puzzle | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Armed with a gun and a stuffed bunny named Otto, Albert is a boy on a mission. His mission appears to be tracking down a mysterious girl with rabbit ears who has been kidnapped. To find the girl Albert must make his way across the bleak landscape of 1939 Germany while avoiding the myriad of pitfalls everywhere. Numerous puzzle based obstacles also bars his way, but thanks to the seemingly magical powers of his stuffed companion there is no stopping Albert. In fact, Albert is not above sacrificing a couple of sheep along the way if it helps him to get closer to his goal.

Based on looks alone it is easy to dismiss Albert and Otto as another Limbo clone, but despite the visual similarities it feels fresh enough to stand on its own. This is mostly thanks to Otto, the stuffed bunny that is a lot more useful than most of his kind. Albert finds Otto close to the start of his adventure and with the bunny in his possession is able to perform a nifty double-jump. Eventually Otto also grants Albert the ability to levitate small objects, but as soon as the bunny is dropped Albert loses all these powers. Obviously the game delights in forcing you to drop Otto in order to solve certain puzzles involving pressure plates and switches, causing you to feel very vulnerable until reunited with the bunny.

Albert and Otto features a healthy mix of platforming and puzzle solving thanks to its inhospitable gameworld. Pits filled with spikes are found everywhere and Albert also has to put his gun to good use to dispose of large, hostile birds. Since Albert cannot hang from platform ledges you need to be accurate with your jumping, something that can be tricky during the gauntlet sequences. For the most part the game has a slow, laid back feeling, but there are a couple of sections that throws a boatload of challenges at you in succession. Make one misstep and it is back to the nearest checkpoint, which is all too often right at the start of the challenge. This is undoubtedly frustrating, but immensely satisfying when eventually mastered. Players who are not very good at platformers will probably have a hard time with these sections as a bit of finger dexterity is required to survive. Albert doesn’t have a health bar or hit point, so touching water, fire or spikes means instant death.

When the game isn’t trying its best to kill you it also taxes the grey matter with some nifty puzzles. Although the switches and pressure plates are nothing we haven’t seen before in games there are still a couple of sections that inject some originality into the formula. Sheep in particular have a tough time in this game as you are frequently required to feed them to wolves and piranhas as distractions, and in one particularly cruel segment, set them on fire to be used a light source in a dark cave. If the thought of using a dead sheep as a floatation device to cross a river fills you with horror then this is probably not the game for you. Albert might be armed with a gun, but don’t think you’ll be able to blast your way past the two bosses you’ll encounter. Both of the mechanical monstrosities requires a more creative approach to defeat although trial-and-error also plays a big role.

The monochrome visuals of the game paints a very stark picture, which definitely adds to the creepy atmosphere. Dark forests soon give way to underground caverns and industrial backgrounds as you guide Albert and Otto across the landscape. Along with the black, white and shades of grey there are also occasional splashes of red, most noticeably the crimson hue used for Otto. The game doesn’t feature any voice acting or even text to advance the story, but instead you find childish drawings presumably left behind by the kidnapped girl. By the time the end credits rolled we were still somewhat confused about what exactly is happening, but three more games are planned to round out the story. The game ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so we are eager to see where Albert’s adventure will take him next.

Considering how unforgiving this title is the soundtrack is actually very mellow, but the tunes are a good match for the desolate atmosphere of the game. The sound effects are unremarkable, but decent although the bleats from the burning sheep will haunt our dreams. Controlling Albert is easy enough using either a keyboard and mouse or controller, but aiming the gun feels a bit sluggish.

Veteran platform fans should have no trouble completing Albert and Otto in an hour or two, but can expect plenty of deaths along the way. Players who are not very proficient with the genre are in for a tough time as certain segments leave very little room for error. This is made worse by the spacing of the check points in some areas. The fact that this is only the first part of a planned four part series also always comes with the risk that the story is never completed.

We would have liked a clearer picture of where the story was headed, but as the first title in the series Albert And Otto already makes a good impression. The puzzles won’t leave players stumped for too long, but the platforming sections can be very challenging. The game is also priced low enough to make it an impulse purchase.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 8 / 7
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz CPU (Dual Core recommended)
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATi Radeon HD 2400 or NVIDIA GeForce 7600 or better
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • Additional Notes: Although old machines will run the game they may cause considerable lag making progression through the game extremely difficult.
  • OS: OS X version Lion 10.7, or later.
  • Processor: Intel Mac
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M or better / ATi Radeon 2400 or better*
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Although old machines will run the game they may cause considerable lag making progression through the game extremely difficult.

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