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Game Review #358: Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Steven Green

Developer: BeautiFun Games

Publisher: BeautiFun Games

Category: Puzzle/Adventure

Release Date: 07.11.2019

Price (at time of review): $14.99

Buy Professor Lupo and His Horrible Pets from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Jurassic Park in Space

Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is a strategic puzzle adventure in which you play through stages with difficult puzzles while maneuvering in order to avoid the monsters that are loose on the ship you are trying to escape. Have you ever built a zoo in Zoo Tycoon or another simulator like that, filled it up with guests, and then broke down the lion cages? That is basically the plot of this game with an interesting sci-fi/space twist and a quirky story that will allow for a great time in the newest addition to the puzzle genre.

International Monster Dealer

You are a lowly intern whose job is to be bait for the unique set of monsters that Professor Lupo has gathered on his ship, the Aurora Space Station, and your job sucks. You are meant to lead the creatures around, and basically just do whatever the good professor says when it comes to his experiments. You are all on your way back to Earth in order to sell these horrible beasts to the highest bidder when the ship is attacked by a rebel faction from Earth, and you are left to try to avoid the beasts you have been working with so closely in order to get to the escape pods and return to Earth. As you progress through the levels you discover more and more to this story and meet interesting characters along the way. Discover yourself and what lies underneath the surface of the Aurora Space Station.

The story for this title is a serious bright spot and brings something to the puzzle genre that is usually not present at all or is something that won’t give you much thought. You have a well thought-out and built-up story with really cool characters that will make you want to progress from level to level, not only for the satisfaction of beating each stage, but also so you can discover what is coming next.

Settle In

Another thing that sets this title apart from most puzzle titles is its length. Most games like this you will come across tend to either be never-ending, but devoid of anything interesting outside of the puzzles themselves or have such a short story that the game itself ends very quickly. This title will not disappoint those looking to take some time to play it, as you have a ton of content here. The game itself takes around 10 hours to complete, and thus takes a page out of the adventure game book. You also can complete each level in different ways and can collect items on each stage that you can choose to avoid or go for to increase the difficulty of each puzzle.

Avoidance Tactics

Most of your time will be spent moving through the stages themselves and trying to solve each puzzle. The mechanics themselves consist of going through a map of broken-down hallways and electronic doors that are littered with different creatures. You must learn the tendencies of each beast so that you can properly avoid them and get to the end of each stage. Some creatures just give chase and sense your movement, others move only in straight lines, and some can even destroy the only protection you have which is the doors you can shut between yourselves and the “pets”. Beyond just running from these monsters you also will open and shut doors to maneuver yourself and the creatures to where you need them, as well as using other mechanics like flamethrowers in order to best the beasts. You also have some more complex changes to the puzzle gameplay later on in the game, but in order to avoid story spoilers I will stay discreet; however, I will say I never got bored playing through the puzzles, as the monotony was superbly broken up by new mechanics trickling in slowly throughout.

The puzzles themselves are fun to traverse and allow for a good amount of difficulty while never getting unfair. The game isn’t trying to break you, and if you want to pump things up you have the collectibles you can chase, but I appreciate being able to choose how hard I want the levels to be without setting a slider. I also was quite fond of how the controls worked, after a slight scare. The game starts out with you using motion controls in order to click on the doors you open and close, while also clicking on the tiles you want to move to. As someone who tries to always use a pro controller, I was surprised to see these mechanics present with the device but was bummed this was how the game would be played through such a long campaign. However, I was delighted when during the tutorial a puzzle or two later you were taught you can use a “Focus Mode” to just click the door closest to you with A, bumpers for changing between doors, and the analog or D-Pad to move. I have never been so delighted to have these options available, so kudos to the developers for this player-friendly option. And, for those who like motion controls you have that option as well.

Cuddly Creatures

The art style in this game is superb, and the effects done throughout are really something that was nice to see in a genre that usually goes with a pretty low graphical fidelity in general. Creature designs are super cute, which is amazing considering how dangerous they are when you get too close. The game also features fully voice acted dialogue, which is something that needs to be in more games across the board. Bravo!

In closing…

Professor Lupo and this Horrible Pets is a blissful addition to the puzzle genre, and really takes a full deep dive into its adventure game roots. I was expecting a little more when it came to actual adventure game mechanics but was not disappointed with this game’s decision to be a straight puzzle game that adds some great sugar and spice to its recipe. A long campaign, tons of replay value with collectible hunting, player-friendly controls and difficulty scheme, a unique story with great character development, and at the end of the day some masterfully crafted puzzles make for another diamond in the rough from the makers of Nihilumbra! If you like puzzle games this is a must-own, and for anyone else this is a game you should take a serious look at, as I would bet it won’t disappoint most from the Switch community!

Score: 8.5/10

Buy Professor Lupo and His Horrible Pets from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Beautifun Games

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