Back in 2013 BeautiFun Games made their name with the indie puzzle platformer Nihilumbra. BeautiFun Games is back with their third game Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets. As I have always been a fan of puzzle games, I am always interested in trying out a new game in the genre especially when it has an interesting premise. In Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets you have to solve puzzles in order to avoid being eaten by dangerous creatures. As a fan of puzzle games and sci-fi I was excited to try our Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets. Combining clever out of the box puzzles with flexible difficulty, Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is a fun and engaging sci-fi puzzle adventure.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank BeautiFun Games for the review copy of Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
In Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets you play as the man aptly named “Intern”. You work for Professor Lupo. Professor Lupo has traveled throughout the galaxy to gather the most impressive collection of aliens that he refers to as his pets. At first these creatures appear harmless and cute, but they are far from it. These creatures are killing machines that Professor Lupo is planning to sell off as weapons to the highest bidder. His auction goes awry though when the space station, that houses all of the pets along with you, is attacked. Due to the damage to the space station all of the creatures have been released from their pens. Your job for Professor Lupo has always been to act as bait for the creatures. Now you must use that skill to help escape the space station or you will become food for the pets. While trying to escape the station you might discover some secrets about the station, the creatures and maybe yourself as well.
Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is a puzzle game at its core. The entire game is built on a grid system even though you and the creatures move fluidly between spaces instead of just teleporting between them. In the game you take control of Intern. The goal of each level is to try to get him to the marked spot in the level so he can escape and reach the next level. You use your mouse to click on a grid space and Intern will walk to the space you click on (if it the path to the space isn’t currently blocked off). In addition to walking around, there are various doors that you must interact with. You can open and close some of them by clicking on them with your mouse. Other doors are opened and closed when Intern interacts with the corresponding monitor. There are also monitors that control flamethrowers, gas dispensers, and other devices.
This all seems pretty simple until you mix in the creatures. Throughout the game you will encounter various types of creatures (around seven) who all have their own attack patterns. You must evade or kill these creatures as you make your way towards the exit. Most of the gameplay in Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets comes from these creatures. In order to succeed in the game you need to get a hang of the creatures’ different patterns and figure out how to manipulate them. For example one creature can detect you from a couple spaces away and will head towards your location. The creature is kind of stupid though so you can either get it to run into walls with its long body (which stops its attack), or you can take a path that lets you circle around it. Another creature will pinpoint your current location when it first notices you. It will then roll towards that space and won’t adjust to your new position until it stops rolling. You need to use this against the creature to walk past it or trap it in a room where it can’t escape. Another creature shoots its long tongue in a straight line and can cover a large area in a short period of time. This forces you to regularly alter your path so you don’t walk in a straight line. This is just an illustration of a couple of the creatures in the game.
Being a fan of puzzle games I was interested in trying out Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets because it had an interesting take on the puzzle genre. For the most part I think the game does a really good job as I had quite a bit of fun playing the game. Based on how I have described the game it might seem like Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is a turn based puzzle game. The game is played in real time without the ability to pause the puzzle to figure out how you are going to approach the puzzle. There are also quite a few puzzles that require timing and quick reactions to solve them. Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is still a puzzle game though as the gameplay revolves around how to maneuver Intern to get past the creatures. If you have never really cared for puzzle games, Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is not going to be for you. People who like puzzle games though should really enjoy Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets.
The main reason I enjoyed Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is due to the puzzle design. The puzzle design is quite clever. The game doesn’t have a lot of mechanics, but it uses them really well. Basically all you can do is move Intern, open doors, and interact with a couple other gadgets. Despite this the game does a really good job designing puzzles around these mechanics. This is mostly due to the creatures themselves. The game does a really good job mixing and matching the different creatures to force you to think outside the box. Some of the puzzles are pretty straightforward, but a lot require you to not choose the most obvious solution. The puzzles are clever where you feel a sense of accomplishment when you are able to solve the most difficult puzzles.
While I have always loved the puzzle game genre, too many puzzle games have a problem getting the difficulty quite right. Most puzzle games are either too easy where they aren’t challenging or too difficult where they become frustrating. Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets does a really good job finding the right balance between these two extremes most of the time. The difficulty does tend to bounce back and forth between levels, but it usually provides the right level of difficulty. I think this is due to the game cleverly allowing players to choose their own difficulty.
For the most part I would say that the basic Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets experience is moderately difficult. Some levels are pretty easy while others can be pretty difficult. Usually they are moderately challenging where you will die a couple times before you figure out the correct solution. Most of the levels have checkpoints though so you don’t have to redo the whole level once you get through a particularly difficult section. The game was really clever though by adding additional challenges and collectibles to the levels. The challenges mostly involve you approaching the level in a new way to either save or kill creatures/crew members. Collectibles are scattered around the levels and you just have to move over the space they are located on in order to pick them up. These are used to unlock an alternative ending and possibly additional levels These collectibles/challenges are totally optional, and you can ignore them entirely if you are fine with the game being moderately difficult. If you want a significant challenge though you can try to collect all of them. Some of them in particular force you to be quick on your feet or really think outside of the box. If you want a real challenge you likely won’t be disappointed as it will take some time to figure out how to get some of them.
The one complaint that I have with the gameplay is that it probably could have done a little better job explaining the different abilities of some of the creatures. It is pretty easy to figure out how to manipulate most of the creatures, but there were a couple where it took some trial and error to figure out the secret to beating them. The game usually has one or two introductory levels that give you some scenarios to give you the basics. I think the game could have done a little more with these though to make it a little more obvious how to deal with some of the creatures. You eventually figure out how to handle the creatures through trial and error. I think the game would have benefited from a little more direction though.
As far as the story is concerned, I thought it was okay. The stories for most puzzle games aren’t very good so this isn’t that big of deal. The story’s premise is actually pretty good as I am always a fan of a sci-fi story. The characters are solid but not spectacular. The creature designs are interesting and the environment is intriguing. The problem is that the story is pretty predictable. I am not going to give out spoilers, but I already had a pretty good idea of how the story was going to end pretty early in the game. Overall the story is neither great nor terrible. I wanted to know what was going to happen, but I wouldn’t say that the story is a main selling point for Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets.
I would say that Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is pretty long for an indie puzzle game. The game has a total of 100 levels (unless there are secret levels). How much time you get out of the game is going to depend on how good you are at puzzle games and how many of the challenges/collectibles you try to collect. I would say that I am pretty good at puzzle games, and I approached the collectibles/challenges where I attempted to collect them a couple times before I moved onto completing the level. With that said I would say that it took me around 8-9 hours to complete the game. If I were to go back and get all of the collectibles/challenges that I missed though, I could see it taking at least four hours to get the rest that I didn’t initially get. Therefore if you want to 100% complete the game I think it will take you at least twelve hours.
When I first saw Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets I was intrigued because it looked like an interesting sci-fi twist on the puzzle genre which is a personal favorite. After completing the game I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Basically you have to guide Intern through creature infested rooms and halls as you make your way to each level exit. You must use doors, other gadgets, and the creatures own abilities against them in order to sneak past them. Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets succeeds because of its puzzle design. The puzzle design is really clever and most of the puzzles require players to think out of the box. You feel a sense of accomplish when you solve the puzzles. The game also does a great job maintaining a good difficulty level. For the most part the game is moderately difficult with the ability to make the game hard if you want to collect all of the collectibles. The game also has quite a bit of content that should keep you busy for quite a while. It could have done a better job explaining some of the creature’s abilities though and the story is pretty average.
People who don’t really like puzzle games or don’t really care for the game’s premise probably won’t like Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets. If you are a fan of puzzle games though and think the premise sounds interesting, you should really enjoy Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets. For these people I would recommend picking up Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets.