Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space Preview

The first impression one gets as they launch Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space and watch the introduction for the first time is of cheesy 1960s TV sci-fi horror movies. However, get past that initial impression, stick with it a little longer and give it a chance – you will find a rewarding puzzle-cum-first-person shooter type game.

As the description of the game goes: “You play as John T. Longy, a night-watchman at JUPITER, a secret base, set in an old, partially abandoned research facility in a remote countryside location. JUPITER is the main laboratory of the OLYMPUS GROUP. The scientists there are conducting research on SPACE and TIME, but perhaps there is more to the experiments than meets the eye… “

This strange tool allows you to glimpse into the future, serving as a nifty “hint” device.

The game starts off with a short cinematic in which you wave hello to a resident scientist. Seems like another uneventful night. But as you get up to leave your desk an explosion rocks the whole compound. Knocked unconscious, you eventually wake up to the sight of wreckage around you and a mysterious device tucked away into a small box. As you will soon discover, the strange contraption allows you to glimpse into the future, giving you hints as to how to overcome each challenge at hand.

For instance, in the room in which you have awakened, a vending machine stands shakily against one edge of the room. A further search of the room reviews a mouse trap, a length of rope, and some packets of snacks lying strewn upon the floor before the broken glass panel of the vending machine. Look through the mysterious time contraption and you find a ghostly manifestation of an odd creature lying dead before the vending machine, its gigantic eye dislodged and aside it. Turning on an intercom near the exit to the room, you hear the ferocious growl of some….creature….It doesn’t take much for most gamers to put two and two together and realise that the ghostly apparition must be the strange growling creature on the outside. Unwrap the snack, pop it into the mousetrap where a mouse nearby scurries into view towards the bait. Tie the rope around one leg of the vending machine, and you are rewarded with a cinematic of a monstrous one eyed monster crashing through the door into the room and towards the juicy morsel that is….the mouse? (Phew). Quickly pull the rope, and watch as the snack machine topples fatally onto the monstrous one eyed beast, killing it.

What exactly has happened here? Has some ill fated experiment at JUPITER unwittingly caused a rip in the space-time continuum, opening a portal to some otherworldly dimension? That was my first question when I witnessed the beast for the first time, and of course I couldn’t help feeling a sense of déjà vu – Can you say HALF-LIFE inspired – but in an interesting twist from the Half-life series, you are the Night-watchman who survives an alien invasion rather than a geeky egghead (Ha, Gordon Freeman, you’ve had your field day surviving the horrors of an alien invasion and watching Barney the security guard killed an upteen times over – now it’s us security guards’ turn to shine!).

Moving to the next room, you will find the corridor set ablaze and have to put the fire out using a nearby water hose. As the inferno dies to your watery onslaught, the game throws another one of those eye-creatures at you, except this one is a little smaller. Having no weapon at hand, I screamed like a little girl as I cower in one corner, flaying my fists at the blasted thing as it comes within range.

Erm… hold still while I stick this in your eye.

Another obstacle threatens to halt my progress – the electronic bulkhead door at the end of the corridor has had some electrical wires torn apart in the little earthquake at the start of the story. But look through the mysterial time device and you see a ghostly bucket of water with the two halves of the broken wire dipped into it, completing the circuit. Finding a bucket nearby, I promptly filled it up with water from the water hose plugged into a nearby tap over a trough and placed it in the exact spot I saw the ghostly outline of the bucket appeared through the device. It works – and I press the button next to the door and make my exit.

Albedo is a game in which the solution to the problem at hand may not always be apparent in the further stages, however the solutions to the puzzle all make logical sense. Well… the first two levels I have described above might have been easy, but move along a little further into the game and I found myself at a loss at times. A good way to approach this game is to scrutinise your environment carefully and make a note of things that you have yet to figure out their use at the time. Almost every object appears to have a use, and there is certainly no harm in keeping them in your inventory if the object allows you to do so. A seemingly useless looking-spring I dislodged from a pen was actually more useful than I thought as I tried to power up a safety helmet with a battery that was too small to fit into the battery compartment – pop the spring into the gap and the circuit completes – BINGO.

The look and feel of the environment, such as the computer consoles has a very 1960s sci-fi cheesy feel to it, which works well considering this is precisely what it is trying to achieve. And while I’ve encountered an odd bug with the graphics (dropping a heavy box caused me to propel into the air and into some bright white void from which I couldn’t recover from and I had to reload again) the visuals look pretty sharp and professional for a game from an Indie developer. Pretty much anything of interest in the environment can be interacted with in some way and usually serve a purpose in advancing the story in some way.

The game auto-saves whenever you transition into a new area (you can also manually save your game but the save name is automatically predetermined by the level you are on), potentially creating many save files if you repeatedly restart new games or re-attempt levels – unfortunately the game has little in the way of save-game management at this time and it appears that you won’t be able to delete any unwanted save games from within the game itself. However as the game is only in early access, expect such usability issues to be iron-ed out with time

Moving on to the game play – It’s hard not to feel a sense of satisfaction when one figures the logical solution to overcome the challenges and while I have only reasonably completed about 4 to 5 hours of uninterrupted game time, it would appear as if I have only barelyprogressed very far into the game and each time, the puzzles get a little bit more challenging, a little bit more use of the grey matter.

Overall, Albedo looks to be a promising and rewarding early access puzzle-shooter game to keep your eye on. Be sure to head over to the game’s Steam store page to give it a go.