Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space Review (Xbox One)

Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space Review (Xbox One)
Review Score:

So my fellow gamers, I know it’s been a long time since I last did this, but I have a brand new question to ask you. Who here among us has yearned greatly to play a video game of the classic science fiction variety?

And when I speak of said “classic sci-fi”, I’m not referring to the likes of say, Star Wars. I’m talking more like those B-movie cult classics that you could easily find on ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who fondly remembers that show.) Well, one can be almost certain that’s what Fabrizio Zagaglia (a.k.a. Z4G0) had in mind when creating and developing “Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space” — which saw the console light of day early this year, after a 2014 release on Steam.

The beginning of A: EFOS’s story introduces us to a fellow named John Longy, who just so happens to be a night-watchman at a secret research facility called JUPITER. During one of his regular nightly shifts — and on this night in particular, in which he seems to be a bit intoxicated — John is knocked out cold from a massive explosion nearby. Upon coming to in the facility’s basement, he first notices the big gaping hole in the ceiling, and then the very mysterious aliens that now roam the place. And this is where it’s now up to the player to not only aid John in escaping the hellish nightmare of a facility, but to also find out who (or better yet, what these aliens are and what are they doing at JUPITER in the first place).

Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space

While A: EFOS is obviously influenced by pulp sci-fi from the 1960’s, there’s not much of a story here to get engrossed in. A good portion of the game is riddled — pardon the pun — with puzzles which appear to be more in tune with those classic games from the LucasArts days (“Maniac Mansion” or “Day Of The Tentacle” anyone?) than your ordinary first-person adventure.

I say this, because basically each room that you enter is scattered with objects that either must be used in the room in order to plan some kind of an escape method, or must be kept in your inventory in order to be used later on in a future room. To add insult to the wound, the majority of the puzzles in A: EFOS are quite logic-heavy, which then tends to make them either simple or absolutely infuriating; and be prepared to put some MacGyver-ish skills to good use, too. I won’t mention any spoilers here; I’ll just advise that you better pick up every item that you locate in the game, because it’s guaranteed to be of use in some shape or form later.

The graphics in A: EFOS aren’t quite exactly what I was expecting for an XBox One title, but I do think it captures that B-movie look. The dark, muddled graphics do make it rather difficult to find practically every common household appliance and item known to man in order to advance in the game, but when in an area that’s more well lit, that’s when you’ll get a good bit of color (and the game’s personality) just pops.

Albedo Eyes from Outer Space

There’s not much to be said as far as sounds go; I’m not saying that to be harsh, there just honestly isn’t much there worth mentioning. All that your eardrums really get treated to is John’s horrible commentary. His voice sounds like he’s just reading from a script, without emotion. And it doesn’t help any when you’re stuck on a particular puzzle and John simply says, “I see something…”. My personal favorite though was, “I need to put out this fire”. Thanks a bunch for pointing that out, Captain Obvious.

The controls here seem simple enough once you get used to them, but the aiming leaves much to be desired, whether it be hand-to-hand combat with an eyeball monster or interacting with objects. The aiming and hit detection just feels off — way off.

Which now leads us to the million dollar question of, “So how’s the overall gameplay?” One thing that I liked was the game’s UI. It took a little while at first to get used to navigating the in-game menus, but you’ll be scrolling through them in no time. Another plus with the UI is, say that you’re trying to use one item with another item in order to try and solve a particular puzzle. The UI will let you know if that won’t work or can’t be done at that time.

 

Albedo Eyes From Outer Space

 

A helpful feature within the game is that depending on what difficulty level you’re playing the game — which you can adjust at any time to your liking — you can opt for having visual clues as to what items that you need to pick up, use, or interact with in the room you’re currently in. To help ease the frustrating progress some, A: EFOS has an auto-save feature along with being able to save at any time. Oh, and let’s not forget achievements to unlock; this game boasts 30 of them.

Despite what I actually liked about A: EFOS, it just wasn’t enough to outweigh what I didn’t like about it. This game left me feeling largely disappointed because it didn’t come close to delivering the premise that it had for such a promising game. However, since I was left with wanting more, I’m hoping that Z4G0’s next effort will bring much more bang for the buck.

Sean Boley
Platform: XBox One
Developer: Z4G0
Publisher: Merge Games Ltd.
ESRB: T (Teen) — Blood, Use Of Alcohol, Violence
Price: $13.99

Review Score
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Average at best, but they do capture that campy sci-fi look.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
All I'll say is, thank goodness for volume control.
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Sub-par plot 'n infuriating puzzles 'n awful combat, oh my....
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
For a title that had lots of promise, I expected much more.
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