Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

I’m concerned that Monument Valley may have been the creative peak for Ustwo Games. Its sequel was given a free additional chapter called The Lost Forest that was basically an atmospheric PSA on nature conservation, and Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is cut from the same cloth. Unfortunately, atmosphere and good intentions alone don’t make for a decent video game. Alba is extremely similar to A Short Hike in premise and structure, but whereas that game supported itself with a clever approach to open-world gameplay, a unique aesthetic, and superb writing, this one’s only selling point is its cozy island setting. Its aesthetics are competent but unremarkable, and its writing treats the audience like children – not in the fun “constant stimulation” way, but the frustrating “constantly being talked down to” way.

It’s tempting to compare the game to an open-world Pokémon Snap, but that comparison requires removing much of what would make such a product enjoyable. And it’s not even that it’s no longer fantastical; I’d play the hell out of an open-world Pokémon Snap that starred real animals, as long as it remembered that Pokémon Snap had actual game mechanics besides pointing a camera and pressing the button. There’s no depth to photography in Alba. As long as the animal occupies more than three pixels in the centre of the frame, it’s as good a shot as any other. And the tasks required to make new animals appear are just boring contextual button prompts. Even when the perspective shifts in a late-game segment (which incidentally is when the pedestrian story briefly comes alive), there’s simply nothing interesting to do.

4.5/10
4.5/10

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *