Lurking in the dark depths of space the Aurora Space Station floats ominously, Professor Lupo, who has travelled the galaxy far and wide to collect a range of alien creatures to sell to the highest bidders has planned a demonstration for his customers. As you step into the shoes of the ever-faithful “Intern” you are thrust into Lupo’s health and safety free demonstration when suddenly things go to pot.
The station is attacked by a group calling themselves “Blue Ragnarok” causing the alien creatures to escape and run wild across the Aurora. It is now down to you to escape the ship, help survivors and overcome the slimy terrors in a top-down strategy puzzler that will seriously test your brain across five chapters comprised of twenty levels each. On your journey, you will be guided, or misguided by the ship’s computer and Professor Lupo who offer amusing quips that can get annoying at times but do help to break up the pace of the game.
Each level will consist of escaping a room, grid-based movement is the order of the day to keep a thick layer of strategy embedded in the level designs. Each level will have an increasingly difficult and varied number of obstacles to overcome. From Alien monsters to control pannels and elemental hazards, you must think carefully about how to avoid death while traversing each sinister scenario. Each Alien creature is unique in both appearance and behaviours. Certain Aliens require a certain number of spaces to turn around, others can track you to your current spot providing there is an open route to your location and so on.
Making good use of your creature log to study and understand these behaviours is the key to survival, as you will have to keep an eye on their movements while you use a serious of control panels to open access hatches on your way to the end of each level. Thankfully the intern keeps his notes up to date as you encounter each new creature. Tricking a creature into getting stuck, locking them out of a room or even setting them on each other are just a few of the techniques you will need to utilise in your playthrough. At times you may encounter survivors or members of “Blue Ragnarok” who may help or hinder you, once again learning their behaviours will be the key to success.
Level design is to a very high standard
It wasn’t long into Professor Lupo that I began to put trial and error techniques to good use in order to progress and the challenge only builds as the game rolls on. Thankfully this didn’t become frustrating as all the information you need is available and the emphasis is more on taking your time than racing against the clock, though a few boss battles will ramp the pressure up by having a countdown which felt a bit like a last-minute idea but thankfully one that isn’t repeated too often.
Originally designed for PC
The controls on Switch have been implemented well with an option to suit your game style. First off there is the Joy-Con or Pro Controller set up, this is the mode I found most clunky especially further into the game when I had to click on switches in quick succession. Motion control worked well and gave that feeling of a mouse pointer though it is very sensitive at first. Handheld mode worked very well, utilising the touch screen to good effect to navigate the map and operate switched, the developers truly put the time in to ensure all options were catered for.
Visually, Professor Lupo looks great even if the art styles slightly clash. Levels have a detailed almost realistic design to them with floors, lighting and elemental effects all done to a high standard. The characters and aliens have a more cartoony art style, though not bad by any means they do look slightly out of place on the realistic backdrops. The music score suits the setting well with some synth electro vibes as well as strong sound effects and voice acting. Cutscenes and voiceovers are present throughout and it’s nice to see such a strong, albeit slightly heavy-handed, effort put into the storyline to really drive you forward instead of being another tick box puzzler.
At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to get on with Professor Lupo, it felt like it was trying too hard too quick but after I got a few levels in I could see the genius of the level designs starting to come together so the heavy-handed humour became more of a breath of fresh air between all the head-scratching. With some truly intricate puzzles to overcome and one hundred levels to conquer there is certainly enough bang for your buck here. Hat’s off to the developer for taking the time to utilise the switch’s multiple control configurations to enable gamers of all preferences to get involved. If you are a fan of puzzler’s then you really need to look no further, this is one of the best I have played all generation.