Even a winter gremlin like myself does, occasionally, miss the sun. Fortunately, Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is offering an unseasonable dose of vitamin D with its nostalgic summer holiday. Released this week, Ustwo's latest is a sweet little island holiday filled with bird-spotting, activism, and restoring some life to this knackered old coastal town. Just mind you pack your sunscreen, kid.
Bit confused about why your wee pal there's named after the Gaelic name for bonny ol' Scotland, mind. I'm sure that'll have some plot significance when her da goes taps aff at the beach or something.
Alba's Adventure is something of a departure for Ustwo, dropping the toy-like dioramas of Monument Valley and Assemble With Care for a more ambitious, tropical open world. Off on her hols with her grandparents, Alba finds a would-be idyllic town in shambles. Alongside her friend Ines, her birdwatching grandpa and an increasing army of local volunteers, she'll be helping the town clean up the place by building bridges, cleaning up graffiti and pushing beached dolphins back out to sea.
Or, you can just wander around and soak up the vibes. Ustwo call the game a "chillectathon", and are happy to let you explore the hand-crafted island at your own pace. There's a wilderness full of creatures to catalogue, and strolling around trying to snap pictures of them all in an effort to recapture the developers' own hazy childhood summers. It might be the middle of winter, sure, but what's the harm in a little sun to brighten up a dreary December?
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is out now on Steam with a 20% launch discount at £10.79/€13.59/$13.59. Seems a fine way to spend a long, lazy afternoon, I reckon.