Albino Lullaby: Episode 1
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2016-03-05 PC Survival/Horror T (Teen) Ape Law

I wasn't too sure about wanting to play Albino Lullaby. I didn't request a copy, but a Steam key appeared in my email anyway, so I checked it out. At best, I was intrigued by how it looked and the psychological horror description, but ended up having one of the most strangely interesting experiences of my gaming years.

Without much to start me on my journey in terms of story, I'm going to assume that my character had a car accident and this is all taking place in his head while unconscious or in a coma or something. Because there is nothing really to say how I got here. Car crash, weird house, funny colors... and that's how we begin.

Albino Lullaby is technically an adventure game. Lots of exploration to be done, some puzzles to be solved, and a stealth component since you have to sneak around to avoid these... things.

My first attempt at the game was a very disoriented one, to say the least. There are some basic instructions in terms of commands, but other than that, you are on your own. You will randomly find some notes here and there with strange and disturbing messages, not exactly clues. You will also find buttons which can have unexpected effects, as I found out 7 minutes into my game. "Oops! Let's remember that for next time...", I thought, and yes, this is one of those games where you learn from your own mistakes. Unless you're looking at a walkthrough, which I have tried to avoid not to spoil the fun. And by fun I mean the creepy feeling of the experience.

Because Albino Lullaby does creepy really, really well.

This isn't about jump scare tactics or violent imagery, it's about how you fill in the blanks when you find another little note to read and pay attention to your surroundings. The vibe I got from the first area of the game was a bit like concentration camp meets torture and brainwashing, for kids. With an audience. And that was enough to make me cringe.

And it gets weirder from there on. Once you get past the initial area, things get a lot more complex and hazardous, since stealth becomes an active part of the gameplay. The psychedelic Victorian town is inhabited by these awkward creatures who aren't exactly scary. In fact, they seem a bit nonsensic with their finger/worm/weiner shape and nothing but an evil face. But when you are trying to avoid them and stop to listen to their ramblings, they can get a little bit... disturbing. And sometimes, a lot.

Sneaking, activating switches, finding keys or a certain precious item that helps keep these creatures (they're actually called the Grandchildren) at bay can seem like easy tasks, until you unexpectedly find yourself surrounded and with no way to escape. And there is no escaping them once you get too close, you will black out in a seconds.

Albino Lullaby truly shines at setting the perfect atmosphere with sound and voice. With surround sound, it's even more of a treat since the closeness and positioning of where voices or sounds are coming from are top notch. I was really pleased with the level of immersion I got from this experience, especially when the strange creatures came into play. The music is equally excellent and fitting, even if sometimes it's just barely there.

I'm quite fond of the look of the game as well, as the environments seem taken out of a sketch book, like someone has hand drawn and colored everything around you. The surreal scenery and bright colors contradict what is usually expected from a horror game, but it definitely works. Everything comes together to form one of the most unique game experiences I've had.

If you are into exploration, psychological horror and enjoy a good dose of "WTF?!", make sure to give Albino Lullaby a try. You'll end up pleasantly yet uncomfortably surprised.

For more videos of Albino Lullaby, watch the playlist below: