[Review] Professor Lupo And His Horrible Pets – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: BeautiFun Games
  • Publisher: BeautiFun Games
  • Release Date: 11/07/2019
  • Price: £13.49/$14.99
  • Review code provided by: BeautiFun Games

Intern wanted / Idiots preferred

BeautiFul Games, a game developer from Spain, made themselves quite a name on the Switch with the game Nihilumbra. With Professor Lupo And His Horrible Pets, they enter the realm of story-driven puzzle adventure games.

Imagine yourself to be the intern of a famous professor. This Professor Lupo travels through space to collect specimens of aliens to bring them back to earth. “For science!” I hear you say. Well, not quite. The dear professor plans to auction the aliens off to the highest bidders among the warlords who have divided up what’s left of the earth in the future. Your job, dear intern, is normally two-fold: clean the cages of the aliens and serve as bait to trap them or move them from one part of the Aurora space station to another. You must have done that for quite some time, as you are a middle-aged balding guy by now. But, hey, at least you get to wear a lab coat. Life could be so beautiful, but when a secret organisation attacks the space station on its way back to earth, one more task is thrown upon your shoulders: survive!

It’s an alien eats intern space station

Surviving sounds easy, but only on paper. All of the aliens on the space ship are cute. But only as long as they don’t sense a human being in their vicinity. Once they do, they turn into very hungry aliens and are out for intern meat. Oh, and they can all move faster than you, too. Therefore you have to be very clever and plan the best route from your starting point to your destination in each level. There are locks that need to be opened or closed. Some can be opened from a distance with your control pad, some need terminals. Some will move directly, some will only move after a countdown timer. Add to this the different abilities and behaviours of the aliens around you and you end up with a puzzle game that can make you scream. (No one will hear you scream in space, though.) And I haven’t even started mentioning the poison gas or the flame-throwers, yet. Or the 4th wall breaking AI of the Aurora space station, called Plato, which after a while also wants to see you dead. Luckily, you have a manual which records all the different behaviours of the aliens you encounter. It’s a good idea to check it regularly because you might find a hint of how to progress when you’re stuck between two different alien species. Perhaps one of them is the preferred food of the other?

Well, to survive all that, simply direct your intern to the exit of the level with the left control stick or d-pad. If you play docked, gyro controls are also available. In case you prefer playing handheld, there is touch screen support: Simply tap on the place your intern should go to and he will move there. Tapping frenetically on a place will not make your intern move faster, though.

There is only one gameplay mode: Survival. The game itself is divided into 5 chapters with 20 levels each, giving you 100 levels of ever-increasing brain twisters. If you are out to 100% the game, there are up to three collectables to be obtained in each level. Very seldom they are in your path, most of the time they aren’t and getting them exposes you to alien teeth. So there is a lot of replayability in the death and carnage to get those sweet trophies.

Move efficiently or get eaten

With the game taking place on a space station, you can expect stellar backgrounds. And you get them, too. The levels themselves are presented in a top-down perspective that fits well to the game. You can both plan your escape and enjoy the fluid animations of aliens and intern. Professor Lupo And His Horrible Pets features a comic art style with a lot of dark and heavy colours. It’s very suited to the story and gets the job done.

The same can be said about the music and sound effects. The background music is nice but does not distract you too much. You need to focus on survival in any case. The sound effects are mostly limited to the opening and closing of locks as well as on the different sounds made by the predators out for your hide. They’re ok and luckily no disturbance.

You can teach old aliens new tricks

With the control options, Professor Lupo And His Horrible Pets offers, this game holds up perfectly on the Nintendo Switch. It plays without any problems both handheld and docked. The only trouble I had was the gyro controls. They were too confusing to me, but might be right up your alley. I couldn’t get used to them when using the pro controller and switched them off after a few minutes. What surprised me, though, was the fact that the intern was easiest to control with the left stick and not with the d-pad, even if you can move him only in four directions. Using the d-pad, the unlucky intern got eaten quite a few times because he wouldn’t move in the right direction. I don’t think it was my pro controller because it happened with the joycons and an 8bitdo controller as well.

Conclusion

Professor Lupo And His Horrible Pets is great. It is an addictive game that will make you play just one more level until you finally realise that it’s already 6 o’clock and you can somehow manage to show up at work on time. The funny story full of quirky dialogue will keep you as entertained as the sometimes ridiculously devilish levels. Luckily you can get some help after dying in the respective levels a lot.

Pro’s

  • Funny story with an unlikely hero
  • Level design and help options
  • Resurrection points within the levels so that you don’t lose your complete progress when you die

Con’s

  • Some really hard levels that rely on very precise timing
  • No way to play couch co-op

Verdict

If you have even a little interest in puzzle games, getting Professor Lupo … should be a no-brainer. It is a very polished game that will keep you entertained for a long time, especially if you plan to 100% it. The only thing I’m missing is some form of couch co-op. I would have loved to play as the space station AI and try to finish off the intern played by a friend. That said, go and get it before the aliens get you!

4/5

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