Altero is a beautiful and dark puzzle platformer that fans of the genre are likely to love.
Altero’s Tim Burton-esque art and design make the game shine in a distinct way that’s likely to stick with anyone who plays it. The music has the pleasant mix of Danny Elfman’s whimsicality mingled with the darker and more sinister tones. It lends the game a pleasantly unsettling atmosphere that simultaneously implies both hope and innocence, mixed with the warning that things aren’t safe in the greater world. Those of you who’ve read any of my other reviews know that I’m a sucker for a good score, and Altero really nails it for me.
The art similarly has that Corpse Bride or Nightmare Before Christmas style – the large eyes and bulbous heads that are meant to be charming, while the rest of the art is looming, dark, and stylized toward the sinister. Your character is clearly meant to show a bit of innocence in the oppressive atmosphere that surrounds him. If you’re a current or former goth, scene, or spooky kid, you’re probably going to appreciate this one quite a lot.
The platforming itself is rather floaty, but it’s generally forgiving – it’s more about timing, as opposed to pixel-perfect landings, at least for the mandatory aspects of the game. The game eases you into these-your first few obstacles are just switch and lever type affairs. Eventually, however, you’ll find puzzles that force you to die, either to navigate to a new spawn point via your now-free soul, or by using your ghost and a voodoo doll body to complete puzzles that would otherwise require two people.
Along the way, you’re encouraged to rescue souls you find, in an effort to bring you to true redemption.
There’s also optional harder puzzles for those of you who really enjoy the game, or who are completionists.
That being said, the game isn’t flawless. Like a lot of puzzle games, you’re almost certain to encounter a section (or two…or more) which cause you to bang your head against the wall as you try and figure out what the game precisely is expecting you to do. The game at times reminds me of the Oddworld series – the atmosphere is outstanding, but at times, the gameplay quickly grows frustrating. Don’t get me wrong; I still like the game. It just sometimes gets to be a bit much. I also encountered a couple of glitches in the game that totally prevented me from progressing, which makes me feel like there could have been a bit more QA testing going on here.
The understandable use of checkpoints magnifies the glitches. I understand why we can’t save anywhere here, but when I’m losing chunks of time, it’s extremely frustrating. One glitch was obvious -I got stuck between a moveable block and a wall, and couldn’t move. The other, however, literally prevented a pair of columns from moving when I pulled the corresponding lever. I spent quite awhile trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, or what I wasn’t seeing, only to find out that it was simply a glitch. Needless to say, I stopped playing for a bit after that, because I was not having a good time. Glitches like these are borderline unforgivable for players, and it’s literally why I’m not giving the game an A rating. I understand that sometimes things go wrong, but this is absolutely the one time they should NOT.
Overall though, this is an easy game to recommend, so long as any potential buyers realize that they might run into a glitch here or there, and also might lose chunks of playtime because of it. This is a game with loads of character and charm, and worth your time if you enjoy puzzles in your platformers.
At $20 USD, it feels like a very fair price for the obvious love that’s gone into the game, and Altero is definitely a worthy addition to any indie gamer’s library.
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE ALTERO ON STEAM.
The Chuck is a lifelong gamer who was born in Ohio, but now lives in much closer proximity to Mickey Mouse.
The Chuck has found his life to be a series of improbable and almost unbelievable events, starting when he was twenty and caught the bubonic plague from a prairie dog. He was as surprised as anyone when he found out that's something that can happen.
When he isn't gaming, The Chuck can be found enjoying baseball, (American) football, pro wrestling, and horror movies. He is most commonly seen in the company of one or more cats.
Reclusive by nature, The Chuck is (like most semi-feral creatures) reward-driven. Approach with caution and some form of treat.