A delightful and challenging puzzle game with a solid story and great humour througout.
Played 3 August 2020
2-player team: Jamie & Mim
Completed in 1:24:00
I’d not heard of the Oblivity podcast before coming to play this game. But once I saw that it was a sci-fi comedy in the same vein of Douglas Adams and Red Dwarf, I knew I was going to enjoy it.
I was assured that I didn’t need to listen to the podcast in order to play the game. But I don’t do things by halves. So I binged the first season (about 4 hours’ worth), and had a blast. Here it is, if you want a listen. I may be biased, but Lowell the Welsh cyborg was a fast favourite.
And now, armed with my knowledge of the Research Base Persephone, I dove into The Profoctor Predicament.
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 towards the base…
Theme / immersion
The game is presented as if you’re a visitor to the research base and plays along with great humour.For example, before you play the game you have to ‘sign’ a waiver. One of the options confirms that you are theirs to control … but written in Welsh (as you might have guessed, I liked that addition).
The game is presented as part escape room, part interactive story. You’re given a number of video clips showing animations of the podcast’s characters with performances from the voice actors to keep the pacing of the story.
I’d made myself familiar with the podcast, whereas Mim hadn’t. The game did a great job at introducing you to the world and characters without ramming tons of exposition down your throat at the beginning.
If you’re a fan of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s series, then this should be right up your street – it’s got a similar level of daft humour and sci-fi zaniness. The characters are likeable and you’re quickly made to feel a part of the story.
I’d say it might lean a little too much towards the interactive story element. In addition to the video clips., there’s also a lot of story text to read through, which did slow our momentum down a bit between puzzles. It’s all good stuff … there’s just a lot of it.
And the materials you get have a wealth of easer eggs and nods to the podcast that will please fans e.g. cyber gerbil, Llama Day, the Banks/Bernie conundrum.
Puzzles / signposting
There’s a wealth of content here, especially for the low price of the game. I was expecting a few quick puzzles set within vaugely within the theme. What you get is a fully designed ‘base manual’ that’s well produced and contains a spread of puzzles.
You use the entire of the base manual throughout the game – smaller details, annotations and scribbles in the margins become important for later puzzles that you might write off at first glane. The game does a good job at hiding some of its signposting in plain sight.
The game flirts towards a reliance on logic and deducation, but the variants are different enough that I didn’t pick up on it while playing the game. There are also map, sequencing and ‘hidden-in-plain-sight’ puzzles. Each puzzle is keyed to a particular character and they all make sense within the Oblivity-verse.
What I particularly liked about this game was that each puzzle gave you two answers. One was used immediately to progress the game. The other was a codeword to be used later. And even once we had all the codewords, we needed to pore over the materials again to figure out how to use them.
Hints / overall experience
We used a hint towards the end of the game to help us piece together the final codewords. The hints for the final puzzle were given in stages so we were still able to figure things out for ourselves.
Though the hints for all the puzzles are on the same page, the answers are on a separate page, so there was never a risk of spoilers.
The Profoctor Predicament is a delightful and challenging puzzle game with a solid story and great humour througout. I’d highly recommend this room to anyone who wants a touch of silliness with their game – we had an absolute blast!
If you’ve not listened the podcast, you’re in for a solid sci-fi comedy treat. If you have listened to the podcast, it’s a perfect continuation of the story with lots of subtle nods to specifics within the show.
The Profoctor Predicament
Designed by Rob Stringer
Cost: £5 (until 31 August 50% of proceeds go to The Old Fire Station, a public arts centre in Oxford
Requirements: Printer, pen, Internet connection, audio
Disclosure: We were offered a complimentary game for the purposes of writing a fair and honest review. This has not affected our opinion of the game whatsoever. Check out the disclosure policy for more info.