Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space on PC
It’s not often that I find myself completely blown away by a game that I’m reviewing. Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space struck me almost immediately with its impressive visuals and slick interface, and only added to this as I began to explore the world and find out just what I was in store for. A first-person adventure game with a dark science-fiction theme, Albedo is like a twisted love child born of Myst and BioShock, full of complex puzzles and dangerous creatures that can’t always be faced head-on.
From the onset, players are thrown into a dark, rich world full of threats, mysteries, and absolutely gorgeous scenery that stands out not only in the sea of indie games available now on Steam, but among modern games as a whole in its own right.
Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space is not a game for the faint of heart, or for those who don’t like solving puzzles, or using trial-and-error methods of problem solving. With each new room discovered, new challenges arise, bringing intricate puzzle mechanics and tons of obstacles to overcome. In one early area, for instance, players must find a way to reattach the chain to a dumb-waiter so that a toolbox with some much-needed equipment can be retrieved.
This simple-sounding task ends up requiring uncovering the contents of a drawer with a false bottom, picking a lock with a paper clip, and more, all just to accomplish the straightforward task of collecting an elevator key to move on. If this sounds complicated, it’s actually an example of some of the simpler tasks that players will come across as they try to make their way through the twisting, broken-down complex that makes up the game’s world.
As players move through Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space, they encounter a number of the alien creatures that give the game its bizarre title. The smaller of these are pretty easily dispatched, provided players can find a weapon of some kind. For the early going, I relied heavily on a hefty wrench to do most of my eye-bashing, though of course, that’s not all this tool is useful for. In fact, nearly every item you come across has multiple functions, either being useful to solve puzzles, fight off enemies, or even simply serve as a distraction to keep the larger foes busy while players make a mad scramble to safety.
The game’s control interface is one of the more interesting I’ve seen, relying mostly on scrolling through inventory to select an object, and then scrolling through the available use options such as ‘throw’, ‘fight’, or ‘use with’. A click of the mouse wheel will also help reveal all objects in the environment that can be interacted with or picked up, making things a bit easier than if you had to rely on your ability to scan the dark corners for useful items, but without revealing too much about which items might be more important or how they can be used.
Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space does a great job of mixing in suspense, critical-thinking puzzles, and bizarre mystery that only seems to deepen the further players progress. While the plot unfolds without much beyond the player’s own discoveries, the drive for survival in a world that seems to have gone mad presents a great atmosphere made all the better by the fantastic graphic design, smooth play, and non-invasive HUD. It creates a great, immersive experience that keeps play interesting even when players run up against complicated puzzles that take time and skill to get past.
While this certainly isn’t a game for the action-oriented or impatient, those who have been looking for the next great first-person adventure may not need to look much further. As a longtime fan of this sometimes-maligned genre, I definitely found myself drawn in and intensely interested to see what challenges, whether deadly or deceptive, would await as I tried to repair malfunctioning machinery, hack computer-secured doors, and crawl through water-filled sewer pipes along the game’s winding, complex pathways.
While I can’t say that Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space is something I’d recommend to just anyone, it’s a phenomenal entry in the adventure genre that provides plenty of unique content, brain-twisting puzzles, and a fantastic aesthetic and theme all its own. With the incredible detail to the graphics and relatively intuitive mechanics, there’s not a lot for fans of the genre not to love. Attempting to get to the bottom of the bizarre events that have torn the facility apart presents a great story that’s told not by narration or dialogue, but by direct interaction with the environment as it stands before you.
Even more impressive, according to one of the game’s trailers, is that the whole affair is the work of one-man developer Ivan Venturi. Fetching a neat $14.99 on Steam, there’s plenty here for adventure fans to sink their teeth into, and I’d heartily make the recommendation to anyone with interest in the genre or looking for a well-made, entirely unique experience that’s unlike anything else I’ve played. For those who prefer more action in their games, or don’t like spending time with occasionally obtuse puzzles that may be frustrating, I’d say to keep away. While it’s a great addition to the genre, it’s nothing likely to convince those who don’t already like the style to change their minds — and in this age, a $15 investment is a pretty big leap for an unsure thing on Steam.
[+]Incredibly detailed, gorgeous visuals
[+] Great, intuitive mechanics
[+] Unique and interesting story and world
[+] Complex critical-thinking puzzles to overcome
[-] Not for those who aren’t already genre fans
This game was reviewed for PC