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Albatroz is a Latin American backpacking RPG with glorious views in which you search for a walking mountain

(and also, your missing brother)

A view of wide blue cloudy skies in backpacking RPG Albatroz with a yellow car and hiker in the bottom left
Image credit: SOEDESCO

Albatroz is a "backpacking adventure RPG" that takes place in The Forbidden Lands, a photogenic wilderness "where two worlds converge". You are jaded city worker Isla, and you are here to search for your missing brother, who was himself searching for the mystical mountain of Albatroz - locally known as "the walking mountain", for reasons that you will never guess. There's no combat, and no enemies that I can see - instead, you'll occupy yourself with equipment management, repairing your dinky car, and improving your hiking skills using points earned by doing favours for villagers along the way.

This, truly, is a combination of elements precision-tooled to entice the long-haul open world fan burned out on the likes of Elden Ring. It's a game of verdant valleys and big skies, whose otherworldly elements are kept in check by the practicalities of travel and survival. It's on show at Gamescom Latam 2024 at the São Paulo Expo centre - the first Latin American edition of Gamescom - and they've released a new trailer below.

Watch on YouTube

Speaking as somebody who can't finish a workday without wanting to hurry Bilbo Baggins-style out the door and straight into the nearest moderately-sized national park, I am dead keen on the "backpacking RPG" getup. I am considerably less keen on the game's being presented as a big vibrant metaphor for wrestling with loss and the process of self-discovery.

The trailer dialogue is so on the nose it gives me a nosebleed, and well, when is heading off into the wilderness not some variation on the act of letting go in order to find yourself? I'm probably being very condescending and unkind to developers Among Giants, here. I'm sure the sentiments are heartfelt. But I'm fervently hoping the full version involves much less poignant self-reflection and philosophising, and a lot more silent hiking and beholding.

The writing isn't all monuments to mortality. There are those villages, each of which has its history and spread of personalities. Providing these trips into town are appropriately spread out, I can imagine them being a nice change from the isolation of hiking - it depends how "vast" the environments are in practice. As for the survival elements, you can pass out if you run out of supplies, but it doesn't look like you'll be limping back to town with broken ankles and a case of dysentry. This feels much closer to Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons than The Revenant.

Albatroz is out this year. There's a demo on Steam, which I'll be trying out later, unless I do succumb to the call of the open road, in which case I'll probably get as far as the local Dominos before heading back home to watch House Of The Dragon. If you enjoy going for long walks but would prefer a bit more friction, why not go for a stroll in Sons Of The Forest? Alice O (RPS in peace) says it's lovely in there and she has yet to lie to my face.

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