Z4GO is the man behind the reins of the latest Sci-fi thriller to hit Xbox One. Taking inspiration from 60s Sci-fi, Albedo Eyes from Outer Space is a peculiar game with some odd design direction but is enough of a challenge to hold your attention for around six hours.
You play as beer loving night watchman, John T. Longy, who after settling down with his favourite beverage finds himself in the basement after a loud explosion rings through the Jupiter scientific research laboratory. John must find out why and how he ended up in the basement by navigating a series of ‘escape’ rooms of varying degrees of cryptic puzzles, unfortunately the dark (and ugly) graphics makes his quest that much harder.
First impressions are everything and the basement is not the best place to start. The UX is clunky and interacting with the environment and the many objects you’ve collected isn’t very intuitive. This is topped off with a lack of accessible game options to tweak colour and brightness settings – you must exit to the main menu to tweak those – and there are no options for inverted controls either so it’s a good job you can do this via the Xbox Accessories app.
John’s inner monologue ‘helps’ as you search shelves and hidden areas for clues or useful objects, but with repetitive mumblings this became annoying rather than helpful. Often objects that seem useless need to be combined with something else that you’ve collected, and prove to be an essential part to a puzzle. Some items are needed much later in the game, fine if you like to collect and hoard as much as me, but frustrating if you missed something from an earlier room. Some things you collect can even be broken down into composite parts – it really reminded me of my recent escape room experience – and for that I really enjoyed the puzzles of Albedo, which also include several mini games like connecting a circuit, picking a lock or cracking a combination lock.
If you want to nab a healthy achievement score you have to fully explore each room, thinking outside the box and experimenting with the room objects if you want to hit 1,000GS. Some of the achievements are genius and guaranteed to give a few chuckles.
In true 60s Sci-fi form, the aliens are weird, and not nearly threatening enough. The FPS mechanics are nowhere near up to par so I’m glad that combat wasn’t at the centre of Albedo’s gameplay. I would have preferred these situations to focus on puzzles instead of wading in arms flailing or fumbling with a screwdriver, broken bottle (or later) a shotgun to kill the aliens attacking you. Thankfully these moments are few and far between.
Albedo concludes rather neatly, that is if you can keep up with the story, which is a little messy in its storytelling. Quite frankly, it’s as shoddy as some of the 60s Sci-fi I have read and although it may have been influenced by this time period, Albedo needs a heavy dose of modernising.
Albedo is an odd game with an ending to boot. The excellent puzzle escape room vibe is marred by some shoddy UX, dubious graphical presentation and some FPS combat that may as well have been plucked from a mobile FPS game. The achievements are genius, but there’s little else to rave about the Eyeballs from Outer Space!
Thanks to Xbox for their support
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