Albino Lullaby is Ape Law’s first game, and they have created a pretty interesting, creepy and atmospheric world in which you can explore, interact with, sneak through and of course ‘panic-run’ through as you would expect from a psychological horror game. The architecture within the game is quite unique, as rooms will rotate and literally turn the world upside down, this will have you exploring the various areas in an attempt to proceed onwards, and try to get your head around what is actually happening. Who are you? What are these horrible ‘grandchildren’ creatures? And who is the Grandmother? I was intrigued for a while during my playtime, but that ultimately faded away towards the end.
They hit the nail on the head with the art style, very similar to the Telltale Games, the environments have hand-drawn effects, especially the shading, and combined with Unreal Engine 4 this creates a gorgeous atmosphere for this strange, creepy world. The game seems to take place in and around a set of buildings, with well-designed rooms and nice textures it’s great to look at, although sometimes it can be a bit too dark, but that adds to the whole horror feel regardless. More notably, the ‘grandchildren’ creatures that you will encounter plenty of, are creepy as hell, I won’t spoil the story behind them, but just think if a slug could crawl upright, that’s what you’ll have chasing you for a large portion of the game, and they don’t give up easily! This part of the game I found to be near spot on.
The story itself can be left open to interpretation, as not a whole amount is explained, I only seemed to learn the bare minimum whilst playing, I am trapped in this area with these other grandchildren and I need to explore and escape somehow. In fairness you get a major answer to one part of the story right at the end of the game, but apart from that there are more questions than answers. There are however plenty of notes left around for you to find and read, some of which offer an insight into what happens in this world and who those awful creatures are. It’s worth noting that this is going to be an episodic series of three planned games, so they’ll be expanding upon the story and hopefully answering these remaining questions in the next two episodes.
My experience with the gameplay was both negative and positive, throughout the game in order to progress there are what seems to be puzzles for you to complete, in the form of explore everywhere until you have found all the correct items and pushed all the buttons. Initially this was quite fun and I enjoyed it, after a while though it does get repetitive, especially in the later stages when I was being chased constantly. This brings up another important issue, the AI confused me a lot, sometimes I was able to sneak past them all, even getting a few feet close to them without them noticing me, and in other places they spotted me immediately, even when looking the other way, this can get annoying when there is no save or quick save function (the game relies on auto-saves, which are very wide apart). It detracts from the fun, especially when you will suddenly die for no apparent reason, (I started walking down a plank of wood and just died). The game is designed for you to try and spend as much time as possible not being spotted, so sneak as much as you can, and when you’re eventually spotted, run like hell, although it’s not always clear where you should be running too, a lot of the time you will find something which looks like you can jump over it, but you will hit an invisible wall or just die. I also had large framerate drops in the final part of the game, but everywhere else was fine.
Overall Albino Lullaby is a very atmospheric and creepy game, with fantastic voice acting it will immerse you for a time, the environments have been brilliantly created, but it falls a bit short on the technical side. Frequent and sudden deaths will occur, combined with the very few auto saves you could be replaying a large portion of the game over and over which becomes very tedious. An interesting psychological game, but falling short on the gameplay side. This could be worth a shot at if you have some money to spare or when it goes on sale.
Pros: Atmosphere, good voice acting, fantastic environments.
Cons: Gameplay, sneak mechanic, no manual saves.