GAME REVIEW: Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Title: Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Developer: Plug in Digital

Publisher: Ustwo

Release Date: June 9th, 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, iPhone, & iPad

Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch

Synopsis:

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an open-world adventure game set on two islands that promotes exploration and conservation. It begins with Alba, a young girl who visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island, where she spends the summer with her friend Ines. The summer is filled with exploring the wildlife, helping the locals, and trying to stop a corporation from destroying a wildlife sanctuary.

The game starts on a smaller island where you rescue a dolphin that has been beached. After rescuing the aquatic mammal, you get a rare glimpse at a wild Lynx. You find out that this was an event that occur in the past and it fades into a scene with a boat that is headed to the main island where the present story soon begins. You find out that the wildlife at the local sanctuary has been dwindling and that the upkeep on the facilities and accommodations have not been maintained. To make matters more difficult a company has claimed the area and starts construction on a luxury hotel. This is the foundation and story of the game.   

After a good night’s rest, Alba’s morning begins with her grandparents outside the house where she is given a phone to take pictures. From this moment Alba can bring up her phone to take pictures of the wildlife and by doing so she can catalog a total of 62 species. You will get to explore various locations, from the beach, marsh, hilltop, forest, city, plus much more. After coming across wildlife that need help from pollution Alba and Ines created a group called AIWRL, (Alba & Ines Wildlife Rescue League), to help local wildlife and their habitats.    

Throughout your time on the island, you will take pictures of the wildlife, help the locals with tasks, keep nature clean, and fight the construction of the luxury hotel by collecting signatures for a petition. Over a course of seven days, you will try and make a difference to the island you love and maybe even get glimpse of a lynx you once saw as a younger child. Preservation, perseverance, and conservation come together in this relaxing adventure. 

Analysis:

The World of Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

The fun all takes place in a wildly beautiful Island in the Mediterranean, Alba the main character is visiting her grandparents for yet another summer. Meeting up with her friend Ines they explore the offerings of the main Island as well as a smaller offshore retreat. Throughout the journey they come across all sorts of wildlife that Alba must observe, take pictures of, and catalog the animals. Alba also will help restore worn-down areas. The immersive gameplay is amplified by the sounds you hear and the encounters of the diverse, local wildlife. This immersion ramps up and heightens the world making it so lively and colorful. The exploration becomes more relaxing as you traverse the lush landscape. The game gently pushes the story forward utilizing the progression of the sun setting each day. This allows the player a proper amount of in-game time to complete the tasks that were introduced to the player that day. Each day contains new things that propel the story forward making the game fresh and enjoyable. In the end can you restore the natural beauty and life to the island and take down the intruding business? 

The Gameplay

Traversing the digital islands is straight forward and is very enjoyable allowing you freedom to explore the island. Once you get the cell phone from your grandparents’ other options open for the player. First is the camera which of course allows you to take pictures and catalog the wildlife that you come across. It was fun but also a bit frustrating to open and use. It is one of those button layouts which seemed like it was mapped to an unusual button choice, which could have been remedied with options to customize the layout. Also trying to snap a picture of a moving bird while trying to control zoom options was a bit tedious. This was really the only issue I had with the game mechanics itself. Other options within the cell phone include a map of the island that gives you your current location. A guide of the animals within each area that includes a checklist and information about these animals. Lastly it has a tasks list of what to do as well as current storyline goals. Some of the tasks required the player to restore info graphs of wildlife in a certain area by using the pictures taken. Restoration of public areas, cleaning up trash, rebuilding bird houses, and helping injured animals are also part of the task list. The gameplay is simple and yet very satisfying.

FINAL SCORE:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure left me wanting a bit more. Not that I was dissatisfied with the game, but because I liked the gameplay, story, music, and overall message. It never felt overwhelming or complicated and I felt compelled to pick up the controller and play when I could. The feeling I received was a cozy vibe coupled with a positive message and it felt great to be saturated in that aura. I do hope that we get more games from Plug in Digital and Ustwo in the near future. I recommend trying out what Alba: A Wildlife Adventure has to offer and witness for yourself all the love and care that went into its fantastic world.  

Shane Kelley is a Staff writer for Boss Rush Network, as well as a writer for Another Zelda Podcast. His favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You can find him on Twitter to talk video games, Marvel, and axe throwing.

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