One of the most pleasing sensations I can have while gaming is giving a try to a game I’ve never even heard about and finding out that’s actually great. That’s what the term hidden gem stands for. Games that aren’t well-known by the public but that turn out surprisingly enjoyable. I love finding those “hidden gems” myself so whenever I’m faced with an obscure title that intrigues me even a little bit I have to try it and that’s what I did with Albedo.
Was the game a diamond or was it a lowly rock? Read the review to find out.
Albedo is a 3D first person puzzle game with a pulpy old-school sci-fi horror atmosphere. The game also has some action, but that’s relegated to a secondary role being the puzzles the main challenge you’ll be facing in the game.
The game certainly isn’t a narrative driven experience. At the beginning you get a 30 second cutscene that sets things straight. You are the security at a scientific laboratory, there’s a big explosion and now everything’s gone to hell. There are big-eyed monsters all over the place and you have to sort things out. That’s all you get and that’s really enough for a game of this kind.
Gameplay-wise the game could remind you of portal. You get into a room and you want to go to the next one but you’ll need to solve puzzles to do so. Those challenges are obviously the highlight of the game. They’re quite varied. Some just require using common sense but others will make you think outside of the box. Some make use of physics, others need mathematical thinking and some even feel like jigsaw puzzles.
I’d recommend sticking to the easier difficulty settings though as they would highlight the important objects within each room, saving you the effort of roaming around aimlessly in every room trying to find whichever objects you can interact with. Believe me, the puzzles are challenging enough on their own.
As for the action… it’s not good. Props to the developer for trying to broaden the gaming experience adding a new layer of gameplay apart from just the puzzle-solving but the action in albedo just isn’t fun.
The technical aspects of this game aren’t very impressive. There’s been care designing every location and the pulpy B movie atmosphere of the game is quite cool but the graphics are a little on the ugly side. For an indie downloadable title they’re fine though.
The sound however needs some work. The music overshadows the dialog and the sound mixing of the SFX is all over the place. A small leak of water on a pipe across the room will usually sound louder than your own footsteps.
Things I liked
- The puzzles: What I liked the most is how varied they are. The creator came up with very interesting ideas to block your progress and inventive solutions to solve them.
Things I didn’t
- Clunky: I already mentioned that the fighting in this game isn’t good and it certainly feels clunky but the real offender here is the user interface. This game was clearly designed for PC and then ported to ps4 because the way the UI works doesn’t translate well to a dualshock controller and it really hampers your experience.
- Sound: It may not seem such a big of a deal but uneven volume levels creates a strange mix in your headphones that sounds completely alien and it really annoyed me. It could be patched in a future update though and I hope the developer does.
Who’d like this?
If you’re such a huge fan of puzzle games that you feel like you have to play them all you’ll probably enjoy albedo because the puzzles here are quite good and you’ll be able to forgive the flaws in this game.
However, I would still recommend picking up the PC version and be able to play with a keyboard + mouse so you don’t have to deal with cumbersome UI with a dualshock 4.