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Professor Lupo: Ocean Indie Video Game Review

Around a year and a half ago I took a look at Professor Lupo and His Horrible Pets. For those unfamiliar with the game it was a puzzle game where the basic objective was to reach a designated space on a grid. The catch was that there were killer creatures standing between you and the exit. You needed to use doors, switches, gadgets, and knowledge of the creatures’ attack patterns in order to find a safe path past them to the exit. I enjoyed the original game as I thought it did a really good job utilizing its mechanics to create challenging and satisfying puzzles. I enjoyed the game and was curious if it would eventually get a sequel. A little over two months ago Professor Lupo: Ocean was released on PC and today the game made its debut on Nintendo Switch. As I enjoyed the original game, I was excited to see what the sequel had in store. Professor Lupo: Ocean is basically what you would expect from a sequel as it expands on what made the original game great while also adding in a few interesting new twists.

Professor Lupo: Ocean takes place a number of years after the events of Professor Lupo and His Horrible Pets. In the game you wake up as a young woman who has lost all of her memories. She must act quickly though as she is on a spaceship that is quickly taking on water. Along with the ship’s A.I. and a stranger’s voice over her comms she must find a way to prevent further damage to the ship while also escaping herself. Standing in her way though are a number of creatures who have adapted over the years to their new environment.

For those of you who have played the original game, Professor Lupo: Ocean should be quite familiar to you. The game was built around the same mechanics as the original game since the basic gameplay hasn’t really changed. The objective is still to try and find a way to the exit which involves finding a way around the killer creatures that stand in your way. Some of these creatures are the same as the original game while others have evolved in the time between the two games. Basically each level comprises a grid of interconnected rooms. You will move your character around the stage opening doors, activating switches, and manipulating how the creatures react to you in order to open a path for you to the exit. If you want more of a challenge you can also try to complete some of the optional objectives which mostly involve picking up objects.

The one major addition to Professor Lupo: Ocean comes from the fact that your ship is submerged in water. This adds a few twists to the game. Whenever you open up a door that has water behind it, the water will come pouring out in a stream which will push you or any creatures it runs into in a straight path. This will continue until water completely fills up the room. Thus all of the rooms in the game will be in one of two states: filled with water or dry. Creatures will react to these different states in different ways. You will need to use these different states in order to further manipulate the movement of the creatures.

At this point it should be pretty clear to people who have played Professor Lupo and His Horrible Pets that the sequel is very similar. In fact those who played the original game should already have a pretty good idea of whether they will enjoy the sequel. If you enjoyed the original game I see no reason why you won’t like the sequel. The game maintains everything that I enjoyed about the original game while also adding in the water mechanics. I thought the water mechanics were a really nice addition as they add some really interesting ideas for new types of puzzles. The puzzle designers did a good job figuring out ways to utilize the mechanics as well. Those that didn’t care for the original game probably won’t care for the sequel either. I thought the water mechanics were good additions, but the game is still very similar to the original game where those who didn’t enjoy it the first time likely won’t enjoy it now either.

Lets move onto those people who haven’t played the original game. Basically your opinion of game is likely going to depend on whether you are a fan of puzzle games. If you have never cared for puzzle games I don’t really see Professor Lupo: Ocean appealing to you. The game isn’t particularly action packed. There are some puzzles that rely on somewhat precise timing, but your success will usually depend on whether you can figure out the solution that the level designers came up with. This sometimes relies on some trial and error, but it usually involves figuring out how to manipulate the movement patterns of the various creatures. If this sounds interesting to you, I think you will really enjoy the game.

People who haven’t played the original game are probably curious about whether they need to play the original game before checking out the sequel. For the most part I would say no. The game’s story does take place after the first game so it does reference things that happened in the first game. The game does utilize flashbacks to give players the information they need to know so they can follow the story. Not playing the original game will take away some of the emotional impact of the story though. As for the gameplay, having played the first game will give you a head start as some of the creatures are the same and it gets you into the right frame of mind to solve the puzzles. Basically I would say that you should be fine playing the sequel without having played the first game. As I thought the original game was really good though, I personally would recommend checking out both games.

As for Professor Lupo: Ocean’s difficulty, the game is comparable to the original game. Like the original game it does a really good job finding the right balance for all players. Each level consists of the main objective and some optional objectives. The main objective of each level is to just reach the exit. For most of the levels this is usually pretty easy. There were a few levels that were somewhat difficult, but I would say that I figured out most of the main objectives pretty quickly. The optional objectives are considerably more difficult though. Some are kind of easy, but I would say that you have to think quite a bit out of the box for most of them. I really like this breakdown between main and optional objectives. The main objectives should be easy enough for most players, while the optional objectives bring quite a bit of challenge to the game for those that want it. Because of this I think the game will work well for people who play a lot of puzzle games as well as those who are newcomers to the genre.

Before wrapping up one thing that I wanted to talk about was Professor Lupo: Ocean’s length. The game is a standalone game as you don’t need the original game. In a way though it kind of feels like an expansion of the original game. I mostly say this because the game is considerably shorter than the original game. The original had around 100 levels while Professor Lupo: Ocean has 40 levels. I can’t give you a definitive length for the game, but I would say that it is probably around 4-6 hours. If you attempt to complete all of the optional objectives you should be able to add several more hours to the game. I kind of wish the game was longer as I could always go for more levels. I didn’t have a big issue with the shorter length though as Professor Lupo: Ocean retails for $5 which is a third of the price of the original game. For that price you are getting a lot for your money.

Professor Lupo: Ocean is pretty much exactly what you would expect from the sequel to Professor Lupo and His Horrible Pets. The sequel basically takes the original game and creates new puzzles utilizing some new creatures and mechanics. I thought it did a good job expanding on the original game. The puzzle design is still great as you have to think carefully about how to manipulate the various creatures in order to progress. The main objective for most levels are somewhat easy, but the optional challenges require some clever thinking in order to complete. The main new addition to the game is the water mechanic. I liked this addition as it adds some new elements to the game as well as giving players new ways of manipulating creatures. Professor Lupo: Ocean is considerably shorter than the original game, but it is still a good sequel to the original game.

Those who enjoyed the original Professor Lupo and His Horrible Pets should also enjoy Professor Lupo: Ocean and should really consider picking it up. Those who never played the original game but enjoy puzzle games should also consider picking it up.

Buy Professor Lupo: Ocean online: Nintendo Switch, Steam

We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank BeautiFun Games for the review copy of Professor Lupo: Ocean 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.

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