Oblivity: The Profoctor Predicament review
|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…|
|No time limit|
|1-4 players recommended|
|Difficulty level not stated|
|£5 per team|
|Online (based in UK)|
|Played by Daiman, Paul and Bharath|
|Completed in 2 hours 18 minutes|
Despite the fact that The Profoctor Predicament is mainly positioned as a print at home game (that doesn’t really need to printed thankfully!), there’s a nice level of immersion here from the fact that the game is tied into a fiction podcast. This comes from the crudely animated scenes (audio is the focus here!) lifted by some fun voice acting and a dedication to character building. You definitely feel as though you’re a part of the unfolding story!
From the brains behind the Oblivity podcast comes the character-led digital escape room The Profoctor Predicament. Interspersing the on-theme puzzles is a detailed story that felt like a cross between Red Dwarf and Despicable Me. There’s high quality audio clips with cartoon imagery that show off Oblivity’s voice acting and design skills.
We discover the fate of four crewmembers of a missing Pluto-based research team. I think these characters, with their humorous quirks, are from their podcast. If you’ve not listened to it, like me, you won’t get all of the references but it doesn’t affect the gameplay. Their story progresses as you play, culminating after the final puzzle is solved with a decision that alters your ending.
I had a good time with these. Some of them were variations on things we’ve seen before alongside a couple that we haven’t. One particularly interesting puzzle involved a scrambled video. It should have been simple but turned out to be trickier than first impressions suggested. Overall, everything was fun to engage with and nothing left me frustrated.
The usual mix of logic, observation and cipher puzzles are found on 7 pages of a PDF document along with some online materials. These are all accessible from their web portal. It’s easier to print the PDF out so you can draw on it, but you can make do without, like us. It’s a linear mission where solving a puzzle rewards you with a word or number that you enter in the portal to progress to the next scene and task.
There are some clever new ideas here, although the maze task is one I’ve seen a few times now. There’s a range of difficulties with some puzzles being pretty tough, especially the video experiment one. Clues are available on a simple web page where you need to be careful not to see too much. We needed one clue, which helped guide us to the solution without giving it away.
The association with the podcast definitely lifted this game. Though I enjoyed playing the game, the interludes, paired with the fact that everything in the game either progresses the story or develops the characters, tie everything together, giving the player a sense of purpose and investment in the proceedings.
There’s no time limit as The Profoctor Predicament is not meant to be rushed. Enjoy all the worldbuilding audio clips and fully immersive yourself into the story and game. The voice acting is well performed and the story is both intelligent and humorous. This gives the game a unique selling point from the growing range of online escape rooms that are now available. The puzzles aren’t an afterthought either, being both creative and challenging. This was 2 hours well spent.
For such a low asking price, you get a complete game that is more immersive than most. One thing I will say about this is the game states that familiarity with the show isn’t necessary to enjoy the game. This is true in the sense that there are no overt references to situations that may or may not have happened in the show (as far as I could tell, certainly didn’t feel lost at any point), I couldn’t help shake the feeling that everything would’ve carried more weight if I went into the game with a more intimate knowledge of the podcast. I stress that it isn’t essential, I just sense that the experience will be richer with exposure to Oblivity.
At just £5 per team, The Profoctor Predicament is great value for money. It’s around half the average price of a play at home game, but with around twice the content. The story, audio, artwork and puzzles have all been created in-house by the Oblivity team, leading to a bespoke game that is different from any other on the market. Considering it’s pushing out of their usual skillset, they have succeeded in designing a very complete play at home escape experience.
Theming - 7.67/10
Puzzles - 7.33/10
Enjoyment - 7.67/10
Value - 8/10