17 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 7.2 hrs on record
Posted: Nov 3, 2020 @ 7:40pm
Product received for free

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A fun puzzle game with cute visuals, but timing-heavy components will deter potential players.

Professor Lupo: Ocean is a puzzle game much like its predecessor. I did not play the original, but I did look at some video and a lot of the puzzles and the mechanics look similar. This one seems to be underwater with a flooding mechanic added, and it's overall shorter with only 40 puzzles. It's also significant cheaper. For me this was a good thing, I will expound on that later.

The story seems to set a significant amount of time after the first game and there's not much crossover, so there's not really any need to play the first to then move on with this game. The story from the first game is mentioned, so if you want to play in order and want absolutely no spoilers, then feel free do play the first one before this. But if you are just in it to experience the puzzles, this will serve nicely.

Each of the puzzles have an optional component, often requiring you to think about taking on the puzzles from a different perspective or walking a different path, thus there is effectively a "challenge" associated with each base puzzle. Each puzzle is a full level on its own, and after completing a puzzle, you can always return to it in the level-select menu.

The overall mechanics are fairly simple, you learn how to interact with the objects in the puzzle room, find out which things you can operate at a distance and which things require you to be closer by. Aside from that, it's learning how to deal with the aliens and how they interact with the environment, so you can use their actions to your advantage.

You can die, and you will do so, a lot. It's actually part of the learning process in terms of coming to terms to what the individual aliens do. They won't hesitate before coming after you, so leaning how to get out of the way safely and stringing a series of such actions together will often provide you the safe path out. Sometimes physical traps will also cause your demise. But you will just reset at the beginning of the level to try again.

The puzzles are designed fairly well, and there is usually an elegant solution to solving the base puzzle and also to making it through the optional objectives. A lot of times it's rather gratifying to come up with the solution. However, I often blundered in my footsteps despite knowing what I am supposed to do and had to reset mid-level because of a silly mistake. This got old rather quickly.

There's not so much of a timing restriction in the absolute sense. There's not a count-down clock and you can take your time thinking about the puzzles. But because the aliens are coming after you, there's just an unavoidable pressure associated with the fact that they are constantly moving and you may not be. They can often move faster, take their own shortcuts, etc. But you need to walk/swim in unobstructed pathways, thus you need to use your tricks instead of speed to get on by.

I managed to wiggle my way through all of the base levels, but I do not think I can do all of the optional challenges. Or rather, even if I can, I think my interest in doing so waned after dying repeatedly due to movement mistakes. A lot of these deaths were avoidable if the game had been turn-based. I knew the paths I had to take, I knew how quickly I can do it and how fast relatively the enemies moved or how much time I had. I just accidentally moved in the wrong planar direction and by the time I realized my mistake, I had not enough time to turn around and get out of trouble.

So at the end of the day, I had my fun and enjoyed the puzzles, but I was frustrated more than once by the timing issue, and didn't want to bring myself to go back and finish all of the optional objective. For people who don't mind this timing-sensitive element, the game is designed quite well. For people who do mind it, you might want to skip this title. I think that the overall enjoyment was marred by the repeated and what felt like unnecessary deaths and resets.

If only there's a turn-based version of this game to completely take away the timing problem, then it would be perfect.

Gameplay
Each stage is a unique puzzle, they are not very big but often have a few logic-based thinking points to navigate before making it safely to the end. Optional objectives often require a different path that's equally elegant.

Most of the puzzles are timing heavy as previously mentioned, so be warned.

Controls
I had a controller plugged in, it defaulted to it, so that's what I used. You can also use the mouse.

Graphics
Really nice artwork, it's quite pretty to look at, and the animations are pretty good as well.

Music & Sounds
The music is decent and the narrative has fairly good voice acting as well.

Audience
For puzzle fans but not for those who cannot find enjoyment out of time-dependent gates, of which there are many to be found within. There is a free demo

Pricing
Well, it's priced pretty well at $4.99 for 40 stages, while its predecessor had apparently 100 stages and was $14.99. This price seems quite reasonable, and the design and quality of the game is certainly worth this price.

Conclusion
Professor Lupo: Ocean is a fun puzzle game overall. There's nice logic that goes into the puzzles and the levels are well designed. The artwork is nice to look at and the voice-acting is pretty decent. On top of that the price is quite reasonable and the additional challenges will make you think a bit more.

If only it were turn-based, its potential audience draw would be so much wider.

Score: 6.5/10

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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6 Comments
YQMaoski Nov 4, 2020 @ 6:12pm 
@AviaRa, it's unfortunate really with that particular set of problems, it removes so many potential players and also causes additional and unnecessary frustrations.

@Dohi64, I actually took the first game off of my wishlist after playing through this game.
Dohi64 Nov 4, 2020 @ 3:32am 
told the same thing to the devs about the first game after trying the demo. make it turn-based without the timing nonsense and you have a winner, but as it is, it's just wasted potential as far as I'm concerned.
AviaRa Nov 4, 2020 @ 12:10am 
Seems like an interesting concept, but due to the problems you mention, especially the time one, I would not be able to enjoy it that much.
Still, thanks for the review!
YQMaoski Nov 3, 2020 @ 7:59pm 
@FruitNDoggie, abssolutely, always good when the puzzles have a harder solution that these optional objectives make you think about. I do like that as well.

@aquatorrent, you are welcome! I am somewhat okay at them, and I was frustrated at times. I found my enjoyment peaking with an elegant solution, but waning after a couple of silly time-based deaths. Thus my not-too-enthusiastic score.
aquatorrent Nov 3, 2020 @ 7:56pm 
thanks for the review! i was interested at the game at first but it seems i have to give it a pass since i hate timed puzzles.
FruitNDoggie Nov 3, 2020 @ 7:48pm 
I like the idea that the puzzles have alternative goals and solutions. It makes you think them through a different perspective.