By Mento 0 Comments
- Game: Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space
- Source: Bundle Stars's Killer Bundle
- Start: 10/12
Yeah, I'm not sure about Albedo just yet. I should've checked before playing it, but it's currently in Early Access, so this will be a short one. What it appears to be is a first-person shooter/adventure game with physics puzzles and a rather intense blurry filter over everything. It's going for a certain retro zeerust 50s/60s sci-fi B-movie feel, as evinced by the marquee title screen, but I'm not sure that whatever filter they're using to make it seem all VHS-quality is necessarily working. Honestly, it just makes me feel queasy and disoriented, and that's from someone who's played swishy and swooshy first-person games for years without issue.
The first room of the game sets up some elaborate puzzle that presumably sets the bar for the many adventures to come. I believe the game eventually becomes a shooter as well, but I can sense that it wants to impart a certain necessity for resourcefulness onto the player in lieu of striding into every enemy encounter guns-akimbo. Perhaps a bit more your Alien: Isolation than Doom, I'm surmising. Anyway, this puzzle requires that you find a temporal widget that reveals what each room should look like post-puzzle as a form of hint--as in, giving you an idea of what you ought to be working towards--which in this case is the corpse of a big alien bug monster in the middle of the room. From using objects in the vicinity (clicking the mouse wheel helpfully highlights all interactable objects with a green sheen), you're meant to smash a nearby vending machine with a brick, find a rat in a packet of snacks taken from the machine (what?), trap the rat with a rat trap close to the machine, tie the vending machine to a rope and then let the alien that then breaks down the door to get to the rat chase after it, while you drop the vending machine on top of it. Voila, big dead bug alien monster in the middle of the room; the future refused to change.
Even so, the nausea-causing swimmy visuals and arbitrary obtuseness so far means it's a little too rough for me right now. Maybe once it's passed through the Early Access process, I'll give it another gander.
- Game: Level 22: Gary's Misadventures
- Source: Remute's Rewind Your Mind bundle (Groupees)
- Start: 10/12
- End: 10/12
Level 22 is a little more straightforward than the obfuscated (in more ways than one) Albedo, as it's a charming little top-down stealth game with some neat pixel visual design that recalls that Tested "Blockhead" T-shirt or the isometric pixel art of eBoy. Like with Braveland a few days ago, there's a distinct feeling that I'm playing an up-rezzed iOS/Android game, in part due to the graphics (the stretching of pixels to fit a resolution worthy of a monitor can be very noticeable, and I say this as someone who frequently uploads enlarged 8-bit and 16-bit images as header images for our wiki) and the fact it was over in a few hours. Honestly, though? I didn't mind its length at all. It knew precisely when to end before wearing out its welcome.
The threadbare plot of the game is to get Gary, who is once again late for work and is one misdemeanor away from losing his job, to his office on the 22nd floor of a corporate skyscraper. Each floor is filled with co-workers, all of which are quick to rat Gary out to the boss despite presumably not knowing who he is or where he's working, as well as numerous other unusual obstacles like conveyor belts and androids. It's one of those games where you tell your protagonist where to go with cursor placements, rather than controlling them directly. You can also command Gary to pick up items or hide in lockers and the like. The goal of every stage is to simply reach the stairs up.
The game gets a little more complex than that, of course. There's collectibles to find, a secret safety deposit lockbox on each floor that requires a six digit code gleaned from background details scattered around the stage you're on (though some are frighteningly abstruse, and can require the use of the Periodic Table or knowing the Ancient Greek alphabet), to give you something other to do than to make a beeline for the stairs. it also has a goofy sense of humor, though one seems a little too eager to break the fourth-wall early and often. The previously-fired best friend character, who gives Gary most of his worst ideas via his phone, kind of reminds me of Stu from The Life & Times of Tim, which also kinda fits the "office drone in peril" theme here. Man, I miss that show.
Level 22 has its problems, though not many. It gets particularly brutal later on, the pathfinding can often take you on odd and disastrous routes as it maneuvers around angular level geometry, and the safety deposit clues can require a little too much lateral thinking at times. All the same, the stealth is very fair, and you're given a few seconds to escape the gaze of a co-worker if you're just far enough away. If you're right on top of them when they turn around, however, that's pretty much an instant game over. It also checkpoints frequently enough though, generally whenever you've made progress (acquired an item needed to move on, let's say) and are in a safe spot. Its rules are simple to grasp and it never puts you in a position where you need lightning fast reflexes, though a few boss fights can be touch and go. Literally, if you're playing on a mobile device with a touchscreen.
It's hardly GOTY material, but it's an enjoyable breezy game that seems to be the norm for Steam Indies, and those that were originally iOS games in particular. Maybe buy it for a buck on your handheld communication device of choice and give it a whirl.