Game: Professor Lupo: Ocean
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (Steam)
Developers | Publishers: BeautiFun Games | VicariousPR
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US E10+
Price: EU $3,99 | US $4.99 | UK £3.99
Release Date: December 28th, 2020
Review code used, with many thanks to VicariousPR
Professor Lupo: Ocean is the epilogue and standalone sequel to Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets which was previously released for the Switch.
Aurora Space Station
The game opens to a foreboding sight, the Aurora Space Station has crashed into an ocean of an unknown planet. Pieces of the station slowly break off as the time passes and you get the view of the inside. You see one pod currently occupied sliding down into the water. As it falls deeper into the ocean, it becomes apparent that there isn’t a safety mechanism in place to keep the pod closed. It slides open without much resistance, dooming the poor girl inside to drowning. As luck would have it a strange alien saves her by giving her a wired collar that will let her breathe underwater.
You take on the role of the girl, who has lost her memory and doesn’t remember anything, not even her name. The ship’s computer Al Plato keeps giving you never-ending tasks to repair the ship along with some backchat. But most worrying of all: the computer is saying you’re a… Clone??
It’s not long before you’re contacted by a mysterious female voice telling you to not listen to Plato. Throughout the game, you’ll need to find what has happened. Why is the Aurora space station is in water and who is the mysterious voice contacting you, and what caused Aurora’s terrible fate!
Grid Based Puzzles
This is a sequel to the previous game but I don’t think, like myself, you need to have played the first game. The game utilises flashbacks to give you the information you need to know so you can follow the story. Each level is a 2D grid-based puzzle that you have to solve and navigate through safely to an illuminated square. Professor Lupo: Ocean implements water as a key element you’ll need to use to overcome obstacles and dangerous alien creatures to find your way off the ship.
Open Doors with the Collar
You move the Clone through the grid, and you click on certain doors to open and close them anytime, while some doors require you to go to a control panel. Some control panels unleash a torrent of water that will flood the area. When this happens the water will push you or any alien creatures it runs into to a straight path. This will continue until the water fills up the room.
This means that all of the rooms in the game will be in one of two states, filled with water or dry. It also means when you get caught in the torrent you end up being rammed into a wall of sharp coral. When that happens it’s death to the clone and all doors are reset.
Avoid the Alien Creatures
Working out the path through the level also involves avoiding alien creatures. When you come across a creature for the first time, Plato will give you an entry to learn more about them if you don’t want to figure it out as you go.
Many of the creatures look quite harmless at first, but you’ll notice they fast transform into killing machines. I found it takes a while to learn how to avoid them, but once you get the hang of their patterns it’s easy enough to avoid most of them.
Hunt the Hologram
You’ll also have the option to find book holograms hidden scattered around the ship that gives tidbits of information. Of course, holograms are usually found in dangerous spots, such as right next to sharp coral or at dead ends in rooms with fast enemies. Retrieving them does help flesh out this mysterious world even further, but be prepared for a little more frustration and challenge when you are trying to collect them!
Visuals and Controls
Professor Lupo: Ocean carries it futuristic feel of the story into its visuals. The characters and environments are well designed. I was quite surprised to find that the game is fully voice acted throughout and it’s not bad.
Controls are by the joy-cons or the touchscreen, and for the most part they work fine. But the clone, when moving, feels very slow and sluggish to control. This results in unnecessary deaths especially in some of the timed sections of the game. For me the controls were the most frustrating part of playing the game, the clone’s movement could be speeded up or at least the developers could give the player an option to move faster by pressing a button.
Professor Lupo: Ocean is a fun puzzle game overall. There is a nice logic that goes into the puzzles and the levels are fairly well designed.
For new newcomers and those returning to the series you’ll find engaging puzzle gameplay if you can forgive the frustrating controls.
Final Verdict: I Like It