Albert & Otto: The Adventure Begins (Xbox One Review)
It’s a new year which means new puzzle games and first up on the list is Albert and Otto: The Adventure Begins, the 2D puzzle side-scrolling platformer developed by indie studio KBros Games. Albert & Otto was originally released on Steam back in 2015 but has recently been launched on consoles.
The first you’ll notice about Albert & Otto is the similar feel it has Limbo. While the aesthetic is similar, and with a similar story feel, it’s different enough that the comparisons can easily end at its appearance.
You play as Albert, a young boy who’s in a mission to find out what’s happened to his sister. The start of the first chapter sets the tone for how grim a theme KBros were going for as you start in front of what can only be presumed to be your family home, which has been set alight.
Throughout the chapters, you’ll come across shards that put together a family portrait and pictures left by your sister that explain a bit about the story with some of them occasionally hinting at how to complete a puzzle.
The feeling I get of the overarching story is that it’s set during Nazi Germany. Going by some of the pictures you find with kids wearing gas masks and part of a chapter that plays what sounds like propaganda.
The puzzles themselves are simple enough but have a high enough difficulty that you will die a high number of times before you either figure it out completely or get the timing just right. There’s nothing too difficult that will lead to rage quitting.
The music for Albert & Otto can be quite creepy but sets each area up perfectly. In the absence of any music there’ll be sound effects, like a strong wind, that makes everything that bit more eerie but it all works with each scene.
I did come across a few problems which causes a hard reset, luckily the auto save is frequent so I didn’t have to redo much. First was the occasional frame rate issue. I’m generally not fussed with a dip in framerate now and then but for a game like Albert & Otto where timing is key, a dip at anytime can be the difference of making that timed jump perfectly or missing out and having to redo the section. It didn’t happen often but enough for it to be an issue.
There were a couple of bugs that cause me to hard reset the game. There was a point after gaining a new ability where the gun Albert uses locked in one direction. The right analogue stick is used to aim the gun in a complete 360 degree circle but after gaining an ability it locked into only pointing left. Reloading the quick save from menu didn’t sort it so I had to close the game completely and restart the chapter. It didn’t happen again after that.
The last issue I had was moving platforms. There are sections were you’ll need to use a floating box to make your way down a river. These sections often come with having to time jumps over obstacles but this is made almost impossible when a bug creeps in. Instead of moving with the
box, the box moves from underneath Albert while he stays motionless. This leads to the issue of trying to keep Albert on the box and leads to mistimed jumps and restarting sections.
I only know that this is an issue as it only happened occasionally. If it happened every time, I would assume it was a game mechanic created to add some difficulty. As it stands it’s not, and all it does is add unnecessary frustration when you see Albert start to glide towards a watery death.
Apart from that, Albert & Otto is a decent puzzle game. It’s an extremely short game, taking about an hour or so to compete. I don’t think I broke the 2 hour mark but for the kind of puzzle game this is I don’t think it would do it any favours if it were to be any longer. Also The Adventure Begins is only episode 1 so there’s potentially multiple episodes heading to consoles to bring that total time up.
If you enjoyed games like Limbo or fancy a short puzzle game with a dark storyline then Albert & Otto will be right up your street. It may even distract you from the January comedown from Christmas.