Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space – A bad game
Reviewed July 31, 2016 on Xbox One
I never enjoying writing negative thoughts about a game, especially when the game comes from a small team. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find anything positive to say about Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space - nearly every facets of the game frustrates in some way, and the experience as a whole is profoundly disappointing.
Albedo is a science-fiction first-person adventure game, and it clearly draws inspiration from 1950's B-movies. That in itself is not a bad thing - a adventure game take on a schlocky-yet-entertaining B-movie could be interesting - but what Albedo provides is a tedious, frustrating slog through obtuse puzzles, and is an experience I strongly recommend avoiding.
From the outset, the voice acting sets the tone for the rest of the game. It is clunky, wooden, and completely unnatural. At one point, the main character declares "WHAT ON EARTH?! I'M LOSING MY MIND", then without so much as pausing for breath calmly delivers the room's explanatory dialogue: "I need to get access to the tunnel; I'll need to use the pumps". It's a jarring transition, yet one that happened all too often during my (thankfully short) time with the game. The lack of consistency in the main character's tone destroys any sense of immersion, and is just one of the many problems that Albedo exhibits.
Moreover, the performance of the game is poor. The frame rate frequently feels choppy, and the game completely crashed to the Xbox One dashboard at one point. After one level loaded, I was just left staring at a black screen with just background audio playing, meaning I had to restart the game. Upon restarting, my character seemingly at random declared he was losing his mind a couple of minutes after I started playing (I greatly sympathised with him at that point...). Restarting the game again due to a death finally let me see what was supposed to happen - a strange cutscene plays out, at the end of which the main character questions his sanity. Both previous attempts at that level had completely failed to show the cutscene - once due to the black screen, and once due to the level just starting without it happening.
These were not the only issues I had with the game's performance. During the game's most pivotal cutscene, a new character starting a speech "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away..." and then I was suddenly thrown back to the main menu. Reloading the game played the same cutscene, but for some reason the first line of dialogue did not play. Not only that, but during one puzzle I had to reload a save game as the game failed to recognised the completion. Doing exactly the same set of actions after reloading worked fine, but then a key item fell through a table and vanished, resulting in another reload. Seeing this number of bugs and crashes in a game that barely reaches the two-hour mark is frankly unacceptable.
Overall, Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is just tedious. The occasional combat feels bad, the puzzles are unsatisfying, and the narrative is just boring. In some ways, it reminded me of BioForge, but without the weird sort of charm nor the ambition and sense of scale that BioForge had. Without that, Albedo is just a poorly-playing, uninteresting game that I cannot recommend for any reason. It only takes about two hours to play through, but that time would be better spent doing pretty much anything else. This is a bad game.