By Eric Chetkauskas / March 13th, 2015
One of the joys of attending events like PAX East is discovering games you wouldn’t otherwise encounter, or at least understand or appreciate as much. This year was no exception. As I wandered around the exhibit hall, I came across a game called Albert and Otto, which blew me away.
Albert and Otto is a puzzle-platformer where you play as a young boy named Albert who journeys along with his magical stuffed bunny, Otto, to find a missing girl. The visual presentation is what gets you first. The game’s graphics use an old film-noire style that adds a heavy tone to the rather standard setup for the story. Aside from Otto himself, and the red and green lights on switches, everything is colored in grayscale, leaving you with a dark and dreary world to explore.
As for the gameplay, the platforming is solid and the puzzles are well-designed and not too difficult. You can move blocks to stand on to reach high places, and step on button-like platforms to make barriers disappear. You also have the ability to double-jump, letting you get across larger gaps or tricky angular jumps. You can leave Otto behind, placing him on a button so the barrier stays open while you go through. Also, there are electrical switches, which make platforms move when activated. If you leave Otto near a switch, you can activate it from a distance. Other powers you come to possess include a type of electrical energy pulse that allows you to pull objects like blocks and boxes toward you, as well as lift them up in the air through some form of electromagnetic telekinesis. Like I said, the puzzles were not too difficult, but they presented a good challenge and got more complex as the demo went on. Solving them definitely felt rewarding.
Albert is equipped with a gun to shoot any enemies you encounter. There aren’t that many, but every now and then you see a crow or wolf sitting there waiting to attack. The crows tend to attack suddenly and can get you if you don’t act quickly enough.
The soft, ambient music really sets the tone well. It gives a sense of not just the loneliness of your adventure, but also a sort of hint that something dark and mysterious may be in store. In fact, we do get confirmation that the damsel-in-distress may not be what she seems, as we run into her at one point of the journey. When Albert tells her he’s been looking for her, she claims to not understand and then disappears into a cloud of black smoke like a scene out of Lost.
Albert and Otto has already been Greenlit on Steam, and will be available for PC, Mac and Linux. There is currently a Kickstarter campaign with a meager $15,000 goal to help expedite the game’s completion. You can try the game for yourself by requesting a download key for the demo from the official website. This is easily one of the best games I played at PAX and I cannot wait for this game to be released.
Albert and OttoPAX East 2015