Review: Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets (Switch)

Switch_ProfessorLupoAndHisHorriblePets_06

Yeah, and here’s Rule #1: NEVER take a job as an intern for a scientist collecting cute and deadly as hell animals to sell to the highest bidder.

lupo switchBefore you fire up BeautiFun’s challenging and amusingly droll puzzle/adventure Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets ($14.99), do yourself a big favor and let the game run a few minutes on the title screen without touching any buttons. Why? Well, you’ll get a really cool bit of fun narrative text that adds to the game’s plot, a really nice touch you’ll miss out on if you just start the game when prompted.That text actually changes when you go to continue a game, so make sure to see those bits as well when you pop back in after quitting for the day. This is the sort of thing I really like where you see that little bit of extra care that goes into some games which makes them overall a lot more enjoyable.

That same care went into the control options although in my opinion, using the Switch’s touch screen is going to be the best way to play this, followed by a Pro Controller or similar wireless or wired pad. Using the Joy-Cons (particularly ones that aren’t exactly new) is a bit of tricky business what with their tendency to sometimes drift up or down sporadically, which will mean certain death in a game where precision is key to survival. That’s not BeautiFun’s fault at all, mind you  they just had to cater to every possible control scheme and for the most part, it works. I ended up switching between touchscreen and my Ematic controllers and he touchscreen, settling for the tap and move option because it made for less dying overall.

So does the story here, by the way. That Professor Lupo is holding an illegal auction aboard his space station where a number of deadly aliens are up for bid for potential use as biological weapons when the ship is attacked by a justice-minded organization who want to shut him down but good. Unfortunately, your character, simply named “Intern” gets caught up in the chaos and yep, needs to escape over 100 levels of increasing difficulty courtesy of some very excellently designed puzzles. There’s actually a lot of plot under the hood here and it’s in interesting journey our too-generically named hero takes, to say the least. Most assuredly, that Intern will expire quite a lot (in a splash of G-rated green goo) as you seek to survive and discover a few truths. Interestingly enough, with a few tweaks to the plot (and  a bit of M-rated gore), this could be a ALIEN game or that Jurassic Park sequel I only caught part of on cable where deadly dinos were up for bid and things went south once those creatures were set free.

Switch_ProfessorLupoAndHisHorriblePets_03

“It followed me home, can I keep it?” Well, NO. It’ll eat your face off as soon as you go to sleep, pal.

Continue reading

Advertisements

There’s a Switch Lite on the Way (Pros, Meet Cons)

So, Nintendo is going to be releasing a slightly smaller and lighter version of the Switch called (what else?) Switch Lite specifically for handheld play starting on September 20, 2019 with a $200 price tag (plus tax). While I’m not planning on getting one (despite my little Dawn of the Breakers fetish), this is going to be grand news for a certain group of players who may do a load of traveling, aren’t interested in connecting the new handheld to a TV of any type, or just want to snap up this all-in-one unit for any number of other reasons.

buy_now_lite_three_colors

I said I wasn’t going to buy one… but I may change my mind.

Oddly enough, not being able to switch to TV play makes the name a bit wacky, but Nintendo wasn’t going to NOT use the Switch name here.Also, this isn’t going to replace the 3DS Xl or 2DS at all, so those of you worrying it will have nothing to fear (yet). Nintendo is still making a chunk of cash from those handhelds, and games made for them although it’s possible we’ll see even those still popular units get phased out over the next few years, specifically is Nintendo ever figures out how to get them ported over to some other system with the dual screen functions intact.

Don’t expect the cost of the current Switch model to drop, either, as Nintendo rarely price drops its hardware (especially on a model that’s as selling extremely well as the original Switch). As for games that won’t run on the Lite, well, it’s only going to be any titles that require docked play from what I can gather from info on the official site. Also, no HD Rumble may tick off some gamers used to it, but I think that won’t stop the Lite from becoming a big deal must buy for parents with kids, casual users and new people who want in on the new thing with the rather large (200+ games and counting!) library.

-GW

 

 

Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets Trailer: Ticks, and Flees

Lupo Logo

Well, this sure looks like a ton of fuzzy/scaly/puzzle-y fun. Indie developer BeautiFun Games’ upcoming Professor Lupo and his Terrible Pets is set to land on Nintendo Switch and Steam July 11. There’s a free demo on both the eShop and Steam to try out and even better for Switch owners. pre-orders for that version are currently 15% off until the game’s release date. Here’s a trailer to ogle and maybe pet (be gentle!):

As the Professor’s personal Intern, players are set to deal with the ferocity of his collection of so-called horrible pets: deceiving alien creatures with a double nature, looking adorable while unbothered, but turning into hungry monsters when they sense their prey. When a series of catastrophes cause them to run amok across the Aurora Space Station, it’s every Intern for themselves.

Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is an adventure game with 100 levels that delivers clever puzzle gameplay mechanics, a heavy dose of humor in a suspenseful plot, and original art with traditional 2D animations. Embracing the Nintendo Switch philosophy, the game supports every configuration the console provides, including portable, tabletop and TV modes. Players can use the Joy-Cons, gamepads, and touch screen to play through the story however and wherever they want. On Steam, players can choose between point and click mode, keyboard controls or the Steam controller, which the game is fully compatible with.

Sounds like a plan for puzzle fans, I’d say. Since I happen to be one, I’ll take that review code I got for a spin and report back if my character survives the experience. That space rabies is no joke, I hear.

Back in a bit.

Super Phantom Cat: Or, Meow-Rio World, Switch Bound

SPC

 

 

Currently available on Steam, and in the App Store, Veewo’s colorful, super-cute Super Phantom Cat will make the big leap to Nintendo Switch around March 21. This retro-inspired platformer with is super-colorful visuals seems geared for more casual play, but this isn’t a bad thing at all given the more or less “Try and die!” fervor some of these old school themed games go for on a regular basis.

Now, there’s nothing really wrong with these more difficult experiences that hearken to those days when checkpoints and auto-saves weren’t a thing and you had to replay maps from the start each time you lost a life. On the flip side, both kids and adults who aren’t as fast on the jump buttons these days deserve games they don’t need a walkthrough for because they’re nigh on impossible to complete sans some sort of online assistance. Granted, there are indeed walkthroughs for this game out there, but I think most of you who want to can complete this gem of a game with no help at all. This is a good thing, I say.

-GW

Review: Warplanes: WW2 Dogfight

warplanes switch squareWhile it’s got quite the generic title, don’t pass up the chance to snap up Warplanes: WW2 Dogfight ($9.99) on the eShop, as it’s a stellar, challenging arcade-like flight combat game with a few simulation and light RPG elements. Featuring fast-paced gameplay, solid visuals, tight controls and difficulty that ranges from casual to challenging, it’s quite a nice surprise for a budget-priced digital game.

Each of the three campaigns (UK, Russian, German) can be played in their native language (with English subtitles), an excellent touch that adds authenticity to the overall experience. For the most part, the mission structure is similar across all three campaigns where you’ll hop into an assortment of planes and take on missions ranging from dogfights, bombing runs, and other aerial ace combat. The gameplay can be set to auto-target/autofire for more casual play, standard aiming and firing where you need to learn how to “lead” planes and fire at where they’re headed, or a hardcore mode that loses that auto-targeting and has you rely on sheer skill alone. Dealing with multiple bogeys coming your way from all angles when you’re having to target and fire without aid can be frustrating, but it’s a great way to truly test your nerves.

Continue reading

Capsule Reviews: Rooms of Gloom and Doom and Such

Hey, I’m still here plinking away at a few health issues, but here’s something to read while I’m in recovery mode.

There’s a certain type of gamer I call “Trophy Hunters” who seem to rely solely on video and/or text walkthroughs of certain games in order to snag easy rewards in the form of digital Trophies or Achievements. Yes, this style of play kind of saps the fun factor out of games by breaking them down to into easy to digest “how to” posts. But there’s an odd benefit to this in the net effect of selling quite a few budget to fully priced indie to AAA titles that might normally not even get a sideways glance.

That said, when played as they “should” be, there are a number of these inexpensive titles that are really worth the effort it takes to complete them using one’s brainpower and maybe a pen and notepad for some of the trickier puzzles. Anyway, without further adieu, Here are a few indies that kept my old grey matter cooking that are worth a look:

 

 

PRIX_13Planet RIX-13 (PC/PS4/Vita/Switch): Indie developer 9 Eyes Game Studio (with a big assist from Sometimes You for the console ports) takes it back to the good old adventure game days with this simple-looking and somewhat straightforward sci-fi yarn about a space pilot who crashes on an alien planet and needs to find a way off… or else. Without a walkthrough, the game can be a bit of a mind-bender when you come up against situations where your character is killed and your brain is not wanting those deaths to transpire. The amusing thing here is dying in all the possible ways allowed by the game is a big part of netting those Trophies, so get used to expiring in a few ways as your adventure progresses.

While the game isn’t lengthy at all, it’s replayable if you decide you want to see every choice via playing in a linear manner. As noted, a few of the trickier puzzles may stump those who tend to think to literally or who don’t quite grasp that this isn’t a conventional narrative when it comes to how certain sections play out. For the record, I did cheat on one puzzle because it involved going in and out of a certain doorway in a certain order and yes, I ended up face-palming myself when I looked up the solution and discovered that a number of players had also gotten waylaid by that one spot. Hmmm… I guess there’s something to this trophy hound stuff after all?

Score: B (80%)

Continue reading

Review: ZARVOT (Nintendo Switch)

Zarvot Switch CubeTrying to nail down ZARVOT (A Game About Cubes, by the way) into a specific niche is, in an amusing way, a waste of time because it’s a perfect example of using a less by the book scholarly critical analysis and more of a “shut up and play it!” approach. While you can (and should) snap this up for the solid multiplayer modes, it’s worth the $19.99 alone for the brilliant Story mode and its blend of adventure and puzzle game elements, droll to laugh out loud humor and straight up surreal nature. It’s also a master class in game design as well as showing off the versatility of the Unity engine thanks to Sam Eng (@snowhydra), who put 4 years into making this great looking instant classic. Oh, and the soundtrack? yep, worth paying for as well.

In a nutshell, cube pals Mustard and Charcoal set out to put together the ultimate birthday present for their cube pal, Red, stuff goes wrong and needs to made right. There’s a lot of laser fire involved in this and saying anything more would ruin a hell of a lot of surprises. When you find yourself putting down a controller to either laugh at the absurdity of it all or pause to reflect on an emotional issue a character is facing (for cubes, insects and other assorted creatures, they’re quite… human, warts and all), you kind of get a better sense of game appreciation. I actually wish this were on a physical game card because it’s one of those keepers that might get lost in the well over 1200 games (and counting) filling up the eShop.

But I’m getting all scholarly and critical here, so let me stop that and dip into the fun stuff…

 

Continue reading

Wii U Quickies: PONCHO, Meet Severed

With the Wii U seemingly in its final year of being a viable console to some pundits and players, it’s very important to note the console has in fact been the recipient of a number of incredible indie games over the past few months, most recently through the eShop Nindies selection.

Sure, first party titles are always key and should be on any console worth its salt. But the indie scene on Wii U is chock full of cool titles that Wii U-only gamers have either gotten in the past, are getting now or have been popping up as improved ports over versions previously released on PC or other consoles. Most are well worth an instant buy for those who want to support both Nintendo and the dev teams that cook up these gems. Here’s a quick look at two of the best you can buy (in no particular order, of course):

poncho-screenshot06 poncho-coverPONCHO (Rising Star Games, via Nintendo eShop, $9.99): Delve Interactive’s gorgeous, highly challenging side-scrolling platformer’s best tricks are the unique gameplay that has you hopping between different planes to progress through levels, and how surprisingly tough yet slyly meditative the game can be.

While a nice retro vibe is indeed here to be felt by nostalgic minded gamers, the lovely pixel visuals get kicked up into the modern age thanks to plenty of tricks older hardware couldn’t pull off so fluidly. The open world mixes in plenty of surprises to discover, with no lives system in play to drive you batty. That said, prepare to leap of faith your way in some cases where you have no other options but to cross your fingers, toes and anything else save for your eyes because you need to kind of stick that landing.

Jumping like mad through foreground, middle, and background elements like a champ, chatting up cute to not so cute robots who have a lot on their metal mind cases and overall, spending a good long time in this rich, intriguing game world learning what’s what makes this one a keeper of a sleeper. And yes, the music is pretty much perfect, emulating and enhancing its 16-bit inspired tunes that drive the action onscreen.

Score: B+ (85%)

Continue reading