Review: Part Time UFO is full-time fun

Imagine a world where people’s first thought upon seeing extraterrestrial life is to tell a UFO that it needs to get a job. Where said UFO immediately takes that advice and steps into a series of positions aiding humanity, earning money to spend on clothes and collecting medals for goofy little tasks. Everyone, everywhere is unfazed by the little fellow and his incredible worth ethic. This is the world of Part Time UFO, and it is a wonderful one.

Part Time UFO begins when our alien buddy meets a farmer who’s cargo spilled out on the road. Fortunately, the UFO has a skill that can save the day: a crane with a claw at the end of it. People move the UFO around each field and use its crane and claw to grab items, place them in the proper spots and complete objectives. This first task involves making sure all of the proper items are securely in place on the truck, but later jobs can involve catching fish, stacking things to make them a certain height, building towers and castles, restoring museum pieces to their proper positions, balancing items on a performing elephant and preparing meals in certain ways. Succeed, and you will be told “good work” and given a day’s wage based on your accomplishments.

There is a lot of variety in Part Time UFO. The UFO’s 27 jobs all fit into various categories, each one escalating in complexity as time passes. This is further enhanced by having three Medal-worthy tasks in each mission that increase a player’s pay and unlock additional tasks. In one situation, you may get extra points for catching one of each kind of fish in a level. That same job would also provide a medal for grabbing an urchin from the sandy sea floor. And of course, in many cases the final medal is awarded for completing everything before time runs out. Since many of these extra missions involve being extra patient or exploring with what the UFO could or could not grab in an environment, it really encourages a player to revisit each role.

Part Time UFO is a game where it can feel like someone is always making meaningful progress.

Part Time UFO is a game where it can feel like someone is always making meaningful progress. The first objective is actually completing a job. Which, in some cases, can actually be rather difficult should precision, speed or strength be needed. The other is earning medals, so you can go out on additional jobs. Getting money is important too, as it can be spent on costumes that change the UFO’s appearance and augment its abilities. Each costume could improve speed, improve controls or make it easier to lift heavy objects. It feels like there is a lot to do and accomplish in Part Time UFO, with a great amount of satisfaction coming from a job well done.

Especially since there is a sense of progression in Part Time UFO. Spoilers aside, I did not expect the story to go where it did. After I reached a certain point in the game, I realized that all of these jobs the little guy is going on are building to something bigger. I was learning skills that would eventually be of great use to me on a grander scale. It surprised me in the best sort of way, and I hope that it does the same for other people. There is a charm here as the game builds toward better things.

This charm is also evident in Part Time UFO’s whole presentation. Every element is delightful. The character designs are detailed, with each person having very defined and memorable looks. (Especially the UFO and its many costumes!) There’s a sense of vibrancy here, with the colorful world feeling happy and alive. The music is infectious, with the menu music making me wish I knew how to whistle so I could chime in with the tune. It is the sort of game that makes you smile when you look at and think about it. It practically oozes joy.

There is a place for everyone and everything in Part Time UFO, even the player. You get to take as much time as you need to find that perfect position. Should you excel, you will be rewarded with medals and more missions. There is no rush, though, and it practically goes out of its way to encourage you to explore and try new things along the way. Especially since you can influence the difficulty level by purchasing and wearing costumes. Part Time UFO is one of the most positive experiences someone can have on their phone or tablet in 2018.

Score: 9/10
Publisher: HAL Laboratory
Release Date: February 26, 2018
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Platform(s): Android, iOS
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