In the latest Jurassic Park move, Fallen Kingdom, rich people are bidding on dinosaurs to be used as weapons or glorified pets. Then, of course, things go wrong and the people have to run for their lives. The premise is the same here with Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets just swap the dinos for weird carnivorous aliens and replace the island setting with a close-quarters spaceship.
The goal is to guide the professor’s assistant through tile-based stages from a top-down view to the goal without getting murdered by aliens that follow specific behaviors. This puzzle game relies heavily on trial-and-error so if you hate repeating the same tasks until you get it right, this might not be the puzzler for you. There are dozens of stages, some of which have optional secrets to collect, which can easily take several hours to complete.
One of the unique aspects is how the game is controlled. I almost exclusively play my Switch in docked mode with a Pro Controller. I was shocked when the game told me it was going to use the Pro Controller like a Wiimote pointer. Stranger yet, the player can also use the analog stick to directly control the character on screen but sometimes using both is almost a requirement since timing is critical to survival. It is rather difficult tilting a pro controller, while using the analog stick and face buttons, with the camera position moving in real time. Luckily, the player can opt for the direct control only interface which I found functions the easiest although can prove more difficult in certain areas.
Professor Lupo features some amazing art, giving the game a well-drawn comic book feel. With the Switch eShop publishing dozens of games each week, many of which being low budget indie titles, it is refreshing to see so much effort put into the visuals of a downloadable eShop title. Although some might find the puzzle nature of gameplay frustrating, there is no questioning the quality of the visuals.
Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is a puzzle game designed for puzzle game fans. The intense guess-test-and-revise gameplay could create frustration but the wacky premise, amazing art style, unique control scheme, and disgusting monsters can create a memorable experience even if you are a casual player.
Also available on PC.
Also Try: the puzzle mode in Chu Chu Rocket (DC/GBA)
Better Than: Kickle Cubical (NES)
Wait For It: the next Jurassic Park movie