Imagine waking up dazed and confused after your spaceship has crumbled around you, but also you’re underwater. There are no other people around to provide any sort of reassurance. With only the cynical personality of the AI computer system and the conspicuous voice from your collar, it becomes your mission to regain the memory of who you are.
So what is it?
Professor Lupo: Ocean is a 2D grid-based puzzle adventure from BeautiFun. Featuring 40 challenging levels aided by an engaging story line, this game does not fall short of joyfully frustrating content.
Following the story of Professor Lupo and his horrible pets, it is a great play for any fans of the original. Combining use of the touchscreen and joystick it’s as if the game mimics the essence of space travel. You are granted an exciting hands on approach to puzzles which allows you to feel completely in control.
Meeting the team.
Each character you come into contact with is fully voiced and well acted, and dialogue between them is often amusing. The AI computer system (Plato) is set to help you and ensures that you learn to utilize the destruction in order to progress. The interactions between characters is charming and I definitely found myself laughing at the witty exchange from time to time.
Puzzles to make your brain ache.
As you progress through levels the difficulty steadily increases. Instead of just controlling water flow to avoid fatality, you have to avoid alien lifeforms and eventually complete a variety of puzzles under time constraint. After the simplicity of the first few puzzles, these more challenging tasks provided a refreshing new test. They often left me feeling as if I needed to put my switch down for a second to breathe.
Additionally, there is extensive research available to read about the alien lifeforms you come across. I found this to be one of the most engaging elements since you learn about all their strengths and weaknesses. Most of the time this information came in handy when trying to complete a particularly challenging puzzle. I was constantly going back to these documents to complete puzzles and found it hugely useful to have them on hand.
On several occasions I caught myself holding my breath whilst being chased down by unknown creatures, vigorously tapping my screen trying to unlock the next area. The fear of getting caught and killed was thrilling, yet terrifying. I did appreciate the consistent reference to the protagonist as ‘clone’ so rather than feeling the guilty when dying, I felt as if another clone was reproduced as soon as one… ahem… Malfunctioned.
Slow and steady…
Regarding how the game actually feels whilst playing I can’t help but think the controls were a little bit clunky. Since it is a grid based puzzle game, your character can only move in one of four ways. The lagging controls ended up letting the game down to a certain extent. Especially since you move at an extremely slow pace.
Upon receiving the news that your ship is flooding and you must run. The music increases to a heavy, fast beat – yet ‘clone’ still moves so slowly. Rather than enhancing the gameplay it just encourages frustration. You want to get tasks done and you just feel held back. More often than not, you’ll end up taking an extra step forward or two and end up face to face with an enemy.
As a whole Professor Lupo: Ocean is easy to pick up and can be enjoyed without prior experience with the first game. The game is well designed and the concept is engaging, however the slow movement and heavy controls let it down. I can see myself picking it up and completing a few levels at a time, but I’ll admit there wasn’t enough to keep me invested in the story to play for hours. It’s a short game, so it is definitely one worth playing to pass the time. I’d definitely recommend it for that.
Available on Steam https://store.steampowered.com/app/1292980/Professor_Lupo_Ocean/ and Nintendo Switch via eStore.