► SECTION I • QUICK GLANCE ◄
◣ GAME FACTS
🎮 Game: The Profoctor Predicament
💪 Difficulty: N/A
⏲️ Time: No Time Pressure
🧑 Capacity: 1-4 People Recommended
🏢 Company: Oblivity
🏘️ Location: Based in United Kingdom
◣ FORMAT SPECS
🕹️ Format: Online Puzzle Game
💻 Platform: Web Browser, PDF (Reader/Print)
🔊 Media Used: Text, Images, Audio, Music, Videos
◣ "TL;DR!" SNIPPETS
📝 "The story is [not] complex, but the execution pushes it over to the realm of excellence."
📝 "[T]he personality, charm, and humor infused into 'Profoctor' are possibly together the single strongest factor that makes it stand out from the crowd."
📝 "...[A] collection of very solid challenges to ensure a well packaged experience..."
📝 "Inclusion of original music in the guise of...punk band sensation is a nice touch; incorporating its lyrics into one of the brainteasers is a whole another level of clever."
📝 "Everything...looks very aesthetically pleasing."
💪 "Is it Hard?" (Team of 1) Took maybe 2 nudges, but overall, not terribly difficult.
🔢 "How Many?" Like with most online puzzle games, I recommend 1-2 players.
• • • • •
...WHOA! LOVED IT.
AND I GOT THE ENDING THAT I DESERVED!
THIS JOINS 🏆 "MUST DO!" 🏆 RANK!
► SECTION II • IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS ◄
◣ THE PREMISE
Travel to Pluto to learn what happened to the missing team of Research Base Persephone. Take on perplexing puzzles and a fiendish foe, as a ferocious creature stalks ever closer to the base…
• • • • •
◣ THE REVIEW
...What is this "podcast" you speak of?
Believe it or not, I've never once ventured into the podcast territory in my life. I suppose due to my not particularly strong listening skills, I've never inclined myself to audio books and the likes. And "The Profoctor Predicament", an online escape game inspired by a UK podcast program "Oblivity", is probably going to be as close as I'll get to a podcast any time soon.
Now, I may not be a patron of any podcast service, but I still understand that great story writing and telling are pivotal to success. And the guys behind "Oblivity" got. This. Down. Perhaps their background expertise has always unknowingly paved way for this quarantine project, but this online puzzle adventure greatly benefited from all the skills in their arsenal.
Of note, you do not need have any prior knowledge from "Oblivity" to play this game. The plot is a standalone episode, and easily digestible by any newcomer. It's relatively simple, in fact:
Pluto's research team of 4 at Base Persephone have gone missing, captured by 13 year old Profoctor, nemesis to all. Locate everyone's whereabouts before it's too late, because a genetically modified ferocious beast is also on the loose, and it's hungry for its next meal...
The story is honestly not particularly complex, but the execution pushes it over to the realm of excellence.
Firstly, the script is written by professional writers, and delightfully obviously so. Effective word choices strung together in the most concise, most effective, and also most entertaining way possible, "Oblivity" writers make painting a picture with text look so effortless. (Web)pages upon pages of engaging scenarios, always tightly grasping my interests.
Next, the interspersed animation video clips feature audio performance from the program's original voice actors. Since the animation itself is mostly confined to a few still images shown in a "slide show", kinda, it really depends on the voice actors to bring the story universe to life, and they've also done a commendable job. (To be expected, after all.)
Last, but certainly not least, the personality, charm, and humor infused into "Profoctor" are possibly together the single strongest factor that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Multiple funny scenes come to mind, but one specific running gag throughout I appreciate immensely is the entire crew's uniform reaction to being held captive against will--none seems fazed at the slightest! Despite being in mortal danger, they all just collectively shrug off the teenaged villain as nothing more than a minor nuisance. The irony is palatable!
WELL DONE PUZZLES
Exceptional storytelling isn't exactly a huge surprise, but "Profoctor" also brought forth a collection of very solid challenges to ensure a well packaged experience that isn't just an interactive story, but also an actual respectable escape game.
For starter, the very first puzzle that kicks out the interplanetary journey is shockingly difficulty; not in the sense that it isn't solvable (though even I had to resort using a hint), but daunting enough of a roadblock to stop some players from starting the game, I'd imagine!
Fortunately, the difficulty fluctuates quite dramatically from puzzle to puzzle, so there's actually something for everyone of all experience level. The variety is also impressive; these puzzles test skills of observation, hearing, logic, and more.
I want to specifically praise their logic puzzles, because while some game designers prefer to challenge their audience with ridiculously hard logic conundrums with over-complicated clues, the examples from "Profoctor" are fine tuned just right. Ambiguous enough to stimulate (active thinking), but not overly cryptic to frustrate.
Inclusion of original music in the guise of an in-game space-punk band sensation is a nice touch; incorporating its lyrics into one of the brainteasers is a whole another level of clever.
A puzzle or two may benefit from minor tweaking, but no major issue found whatsoever.
And like all great at-home puzzle adventures, the climax is preceded by a meta puzzle! For a freshman effort at creating an online escape game, these guys surely did their research and know their craft. Dare I say even, some companies that run escape rooms for a living haven't even reached this level of awesome.
One of the advantages of running a podcast is that the visual component can be largely ignored, and all available resources can be allocated solely for what one hears, and not what one sees--such is not the case for an online escape room endeavor.
Yet, this switch in art form did not falter Oblivity. Everything--from the general website to the actual game contents--looks very aesthetically pleasing. So pleasing, in fact, I see potential for "Oblivity" to be fully animated one day. The art style is somewhere between comic and cartoon, befitting nicely for the often borderline ludicrous tone the story goes for.
Also, the 5 human (or humanoid) roles have great character designs, each with unique features that help bring their various personality traits to life. Though cliche, I still enjoy the ever so popular bowl hair cut reserved for nerdy big bads: Profoctor's hairdo instantaneously reminds me of Vector Perkins's, certifying his villain status crystal clear.
◣ FINAL THOUGHTS
I've reviewed more than a handful of online escape quests, and not all achieves trinity of excellency in plot, puzzles, and production (triple P, huh). "[The] Profoctor Predicament" (double P, coincidentally) checks off all 3 Ps gracefully, and have me yearning for another go. The brilliant minds behind "Oblivity", if you're reading this, please make more.
• • • • •
◣ PARTING TIPS
★ Numbers usually tell quantity, but sometimes, they define order.
★ Some say rock band lyrics have hidden satanic messages... I say it's more mixed.
★ When it comes time to decide for the well being of self vs all, let your morals guide you.
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⤻ Though game access was complimentary, this article was written basing on unbiased and genuine opinions.
⤻ All media credited to and used with permission from contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.
⤻ The Profoctor Predicament • "OProfoctor"