Crane games can be the absolute worst tease in the world. However, Part Time UFO uses the strength of the base mechanic to create a fun, inventive twist. It’s also notable for being HAL Laboratory’s first mobile game, at least on the Android platform, a studio best known for creating the behemoth that is Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee along with the Kirby series.
The premise is a simple one: you play a UFO who’s landed on Earth. You stumble upon a man who has crashed his truck filled with oranges, so you decide to help him out a bit. He pays you for the job and opens your UFO mind to the wonders of getting paid for work (while still helping people of course).
The default control scheme is two handed, with one finger controlling a virtual stick to move the UFO around and the other to press a button to drop a claw and pick something up. Once you’ve got a grip on the object, you fly to where you want to drop it and press the claw button again. If you prefer a one handed method, you can change the control scheme to simply swipe to move the UFO and tap to use the claw. Very simple either way, but like most simple things it’ll take some finesse to truly master.
Each job will give you different scenarios to use your claw, some straightforward like catching fish and putting them in a boat to more eccentric ones like stacking a squad of cheerleaders as high as you can. If you’ve ever played Mount Your Friends or stacking games in general, you might get some similar vibes from this particular one.
Each job has 3 medals you can obtain, and the more medals you get the more job pages you unlock. In addition, the money you earn can be used in a shop to buy outfits for your UFO. Not only are they fun little design aesthetics, they provide passive boosts for your UFO such as being able to move faster, pick up heavier objects more easily, and move the claw more quickly. My favorite so far is the stuffed dog, not for the ability but because he just sits on your head.
I’m still in the beginning parts of the game with not too much unlocked, but I’m really digging the style and feel of the game. For being their first foray into mobile gaming, I’d say HAL Laboratory has a good handle on making a cute and fun game to sink some time into.
You can peep the launch trailer right here:
Part Time UFO is $3.99 on Google Play