Review: Part Time UFO

If HAL Labratories is best known for anything, it’s adorable titles featuring wonderfully adorable characters. Part Time UFO is no different and got its original launch back in 2018 for mobile systems. While it fits a mobile platform it was a pleasant surprise when it was recently revealed for the Nintendo Switch. What once was a rather small release now got the attention of a wider audience and leaves people wonder if it’s worth picking up for the first time or double dipping on Switch.

Part Time UFO follows a small and adorable extraterrestrial space ship by the name of Jobski traveling his way through the world. By chance he happens upon a farmer in need of some assistance after his truck loses all of its goods on the side of the road. Fortunately for him the friendly Jobski is willing to help, and with his hand dandy crane is able to put things back in place. The farmer thanks Jobski by paying him for a job well done and gives him some other ads he can look up to help out before heading off on his way. Jobski has to travel across the world in order to seek those out who need help, uncovering weird and bizarre things with his gripping claw, all in order to prove he’s the best part timer around while on his bizarre adventure.

The draw of Part Time UFO is that it’s an interesting unique mix of puzzles and balancing skills at the same time. When heading into a level, certain objects are highlighted as the ones required to move in order to get a passing score. These must be stacked in the selected area within the time limit and once done it’s a roaring success. For the most part just stacking objects is easy enough, the hard part comes from the additional challenges in each stage. Each stage has three main challenges and accomplishing them all earns more money and more awards which are required to unlock additional stages. Lifting up objects can be a challenge for Jobski as they all have their own weight. Some levels even require objects to be placed in precise places, meaning analyzing everything first is a must in order to figure out what the way to attack is going to be. It’s worth noting that the Switch version does add a good amount of new levels compared to the original mobile release as well, including some cameos from fan favorites like Kirby and friends.

While the main draw are the regular stages, there’s tons of little things to do outside of them. The money earned in jobs can be used to buy costumes for Jobski which remains the only use the currency has. This allows Jobski to dress up in a variety of different ways but also gives special benefits such as improved movement or better skills in certain kinds of levels. They’re neat both cosmetically and in use, letting players mix it up to be helpful or go without for the default challenge if they so choose. There are also feats which act as achievements of sorts. These challenge Jobski to accomplish certain tasks or weird accomplishments. Completing these gives a cute short video of UFO interacting with different characters or places and is a fun way to find new objectives.

The visuals are one of the most charming aspects of Part Time UFO. Everything is detailed in wonderful sprite work with tons of cameos and references scattered throughout each stage. The music is basically just the main theme remixed in dozens of different ways, but it somehow manages to be catchy without ever getting tiresome because it’s such a simple enjoyable tune. Those tired of regular stages can also take on the Tower of Infinity which supplies Jobski with an endless supply of random objects to stack as high as he possibly can. It ends when time is up or an object falls and is a crazy way to really practice balancing tall items and hoping they stay up long enough to defeat one of the highest challenges.

Closing Comments: 

Part Time UFO is a surprise release that brings a charming new puzzle title to Switch. The levels are fantastic amounts of fun and figuring out how to solve and beat all the challenges is addictive. Everything is quick and snappy so messing up makes it easy to quickly jump back in and start over. While it can be difficult at times, especially for those with a goal of completing everything, there are tons of ways to also enjoy it more casually without worrying about the harder challenges so it makes it fun for people of any skill level to learn how to balance and manage space well. The visuals are wonderfully charming and while the music is based on one main tune, it never drags anything down and continues to be a feel good background sound. Part Time UFO is a wonderful puzzle title that’s worth picking up for anyone looking for a unique and sometimes bizarre creative challenge.