Part Time UFO – Review
Follow Genre: Physics Puzzle Game
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: HAL Laboratory, Nintendo
Platform: Switch, Android, iOS
Tested on: Switch

Part Time UFO – Review

Site Score
Good: A nearly perfect gameplay experience
Bad: Story could have been fleshed out more
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

HAL Laboratory’s Part Time UFO arrived on the Switch this month as a bit of a surprise drop. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a brand new game, as the title originally launched as a mobile game over two years ago but flew under a lot of people’s radars. Being available on the Switch gives the game a high-profile second chance. While the port comes with new content, it’s also more than double the price of its mobile counterpart, even if it remains relatively cheap. So is it worth picking up Part Time UFO on the Switch?


While we wouldn’t go as far as to describe the events of Part Time UFO as an actual story, the game does its utter best to set up a premise that makes sense. In the opening scenes of Part Time UFO, we meet Jobski, a UFO that is looking for a job. A chance encounter with a farmer puts a magazine with job ads in Jobski’s possession. Ever eager to get his claw dirty, Jobski applies for the plethora of part-time jobs in the magazine, which conveniently explains the variety in tasks and settings that you’ll encounter in Part Time UFO. The story could have probably been fleshed out a bit more but the basic premise is easy enough to understand. 


When a game’s graphics are described as retro, they are more often than not styled after games from the 8 bit or 16 bit era. While Part Time UFO’s visuals don’t resemble these eras, we’d go as far as to call them retro as well. This is because the slightly pixelated aesthetics are a dead ringer for the look of a DS game. It’s easy to forget that Nintendo’s venerable handheld dates back to 2006 and that the console is considered retro for a whole generation of gamers. That’s not to say that Part Time UFO looks bad or dated, as there is an undeniable charm to seeing the game’s old school aesthetics shine on the big screen of a TV. Of course, HAL’s characteristic art style plays a part in this as well. It’s not often that a studio is instantly identifiable by the way a game looks, but HAL Laboratory nailed this. From the soft color palette to the charming character designs, Part Time UFO is a joy to look at. The game’s backgrounds are brimming with detail and delightful little jokes. 


Accompanying the adorable visuals is a frankly fantastic collection of musical tracks. While these are just variations on the same theme for the most part, you’ll find plenty of clever auditory twists so that each track sounds fresh yet familiar at the same time. Of course, the game’s soundscape ties into the DS-like visuals as well, so don’t go in expecting a fully orchestrated and voice acted experience. Given the nature of the title, however, what’s presented here is a perfect fit and you’ll find that the catchy tunes will stick with you long after you’ve stopped playing. 


In this physics-based arcade puzzle game, players take control of Jobski, the titular UFO, and take on a variety of jobs. Armed with his trusty grabber claw, Jobski takes on whatever task is required. Completing tasks earns money, which can then be used to purchase upgrade outfits for our UFO friend, such as an astronaut’s outfit that increases the claw’s drop speed. Each stage has a main objective as well as a series of side tasks and your earnings are based on how well you meet the job’s requirements. The side objectives are indicated by an icon rather than by instructions, but these icons are clear enough to explain the tasks at hand. They often involve meeting a time limit, or stacking objects in more efficient ways. Upon level completion, you’ll then not only be able to progress to the next job but you’re also able to replay the level at a higher difficulty. There’s often more than one solution to each level, and part of the joy in clearing a stage is in figuring out the most efficient way. 

The controls are deceptively simple. There is only a single action button, that lowers Jobski’s claw when pressed, allowing you to grab whatever object you’re aiming for. The grip of the claw is both wide and tight, meaning you can grab most things with ease. After picking up your target, you can then move and press the same button to release and drop what you were carrying. Describing the core concept and associated mechanics makes Part Time UFO seem like an incredibly simple affair, but as you progress through the game, you’ll find expertly crafted stages that really showcase just how brilliant everything is put together. This is where HAL really shows off how creative it can get with such a simple concept. You’ll be balancing objects on see-saws making sure weight distribution is even, for example, but you’ll also be stacking objects in certain ways or will need to reassemble broken structures. 

While we’re describing these mechanics at the most basic level, to give you an idea of how things work, the description doesn’t convey the sheer joy and creativity that has gone into each stage. Being asked to stack objects might not sound like it’s fun, but when those objects become animals that need to be piled on top of a tightrope-walking elephant at the circus, things become far more interesting, for example. It’s probably Part Time UFO’s biggest weakness: it’s difficult to convey what makes the game so fantastic without experiencing it for yourself. The gameplay is incredibly addictive once you get into it but it doesn’t look too exciting for anyone watching as the action is relatively slow-paced. Thankfully, the game offers a co-op mode where a second player can get in on the action, taking control of a second Jobski. The ease of the mechanics means there is a very low entry bar here, and we’d argue that co-op gameplay is the best way to convince a friend to see for themselves just how good this game really is. 

If you’re one of the few people who played the mobile version, or if you’re a clever consumer who notices that the mobile version is only half the price of the Switch port, you’re probably wondering if it is worth it to go for the port. This is one of the few cases where we’d argue that choosing the port is a no-brainer. Apart from the aforementioned two-player co-op gameplay, which isn’t present in the mobile version, you’re also getting a whole slew of additional new and exclusive content. On top of a handful of additional levels, three new modes have been added: the Toy Box where you’ll need to stack toys in such a way that you can close the box, the Tower of Infinity which sees you stacking objects as high as possible and Treasure Island, which is filled with levels that encompass multiple rooms rather than just one. 


A perfect game doesn’t exist, but Part Time UFO comes really close. Of course, the game isn’t in the same ballpark as major AAA titles, but you’re looking at a release that is only a fraction of the price of those big players. With delightful graphics and music, easy to pick up mechanics and perfectly balanced gameplay, Part Time UFO has quickly secured its place as a must-have title. The low price point and exclusive content makes adding Part Time UFO to your Switch library a no-brainer. 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Part Time UFO - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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