I have said in the past that I am not too fond of horror games in general, but I think the market has become oversaturated with horror experiences that are in the first-person. Sure, games like Outlast and Alien Isolation have shown the best ways to handle these kinds of games, but it seems like there has been no real innovation thrown into this genre. However, I always like to stay optimistic, and if I see one of these types of horror games, I am sure to check it out or keep up-to-date with the game. For example, last year, I tackled five different first-person view games that were mostly horror-based, but stood out to me due to how the game looked or how the set-up was executed. One of those games was Albino Lullaby. At the SXSW 2015 gaming event, I got to see the game in action, but unfortunately, didn’t get to play it due to how popular it was. It probably helped that they brought the demo that can be played with the Oculus Rift. However, the developer of Albino Lullaby, Ape Law, sent me a playable demo to check out and write about. Before I continue, I want to thank Ape Law for this opportunity, and besides a few concerns in terms of the game’s design and the style of game Albino Lullaby is, I enjoyed my experience. Consider this article a follow-up/Thoughts On: Albino Lullaby
The plot of the game puts you in the shoes of an individual who ends up in a car accident. You then wake up in this weird mansion-like building, with rooms that will shift and change when you press certain buttons. It is up to you to find out where you are, get out, and avoid contact with the mysterious beings of the building called Albinos. The best part of this game is the setting and the atmosphere. You don’t get too much told to you about where you are, or who owns the building you are in. It reminds me of a film that Tim Burton would make when he isn’t making live-action versions of “Dumbo”, but don’t get me started on that subject.
Albino Lullaby is a first-person horror game. You can walk, run, stealth your way through sequences of the game, and interact with the world around you. From the demo I played, you don’t really get a lot of items to carry around. You can find some notes that are scattered everywhere, and about a third of the way through the game, you will find these blue matches that can light up certain lamps to distract the Albinos that will want to capture you. Yeah, how about we talk about these demonic Tiki heads? You will encounter them during one point in the demo, but they don’t really start popping up until the last third of the demo. If you have played games like Outlast or Amnesia, then you should know what to do! Run and don’t let them catch you! At the end of the demo, you get a device called Buck’s Clicker, which looks like some retro-designed remote control. Unfortunately, you only get to use it at the very end of the demo. The overall demo took about 40 minutes to complete.
Graphically, I know Albino Lullaby is still in development, but it looks pleasant. I think it stands out from other horror games with its bright colors and interesting set-up. The game’s sound design and atmosphere were really engrossing. I felt pulled into the game’s world instantly, even though everything was blocky. Even then, some of the blocky elements of the setting were charming. If you are going to make a horror game, your sound design and atmosphere better pull you in.
Now, even though I enjoyed my experience with the demo, and again, I know the game is still in development, I have some concerns. Even though the setting and the creatures are very interesting, and not the usual kinds of monsters you see in these types of games, it is still a horror game that we have seen, in terms of design. It’s first-person, you try to evade monster/monsters, and the story is not spoon-fed to you through cutscenes. Granted, I didn’t see any obvious jump scares, and they have said they won’t rely on them to produce the scares. I like that, since it seems like most horror games that are in the first-person are designed to be played by big YouTube gamers who make a living screaming at jump scares. I just like the idea, and I don’t want people to shrug this game off because of other upcoming first-person horror games like Grave and Everybody’s gone to Rapture. I also hope that the story is intriguing, since this is supposed to span three different episodes. Will I be instantly hooked due to what tidbits of the story I found? Or will I be annoyed that the story was vague at best, and not a whole lot of thought put into it? I want Albino Lullaby to do well, but I have seen so many mediocre first-person horror games that were made for a soulless intention, or using an already preexisting intellectual property like Slenderman to rest on its laurels and not have to put too much work into the overall product, like in Slender: The Arrival. My final concern is that I wonder how they are going to stretch this out for three episodes. What kind of variation can we see from the gameplay given to us in the demo? Will there be enough substance to the overall product to warrant three episodes?
As a whole, I enjoyed my time with the demo of Albino Lullaby, and I think it has a lot of potential for being a good horror experience. It might not be my cup of tea, but I am glad I at least got to try it out. If you are at all interested in trying this game out, or want to know where you can get the first episode, you can go to Ape Law’s website and you are offered a couple of different preorder specials. You can either preorder just episode one, episode two, or get all three episodes; either way, you can get access to the demo. If you love first-person horror games and want to see something different, then I would recommend checking this game out, or at the very least, keep an eye on it.