Part Time UFO

Game review by
Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media
Part Time UFO Game Poster Image
Co-op mode shines in delightful, addictive puzzler.

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Positive Messages

Players are encouraged to work together and are rewarded for using critical thinking skills to complete each level. In many cases, extra points are up for grabs if players are able to minimize damage to the objects they pick up. 

Positive Role Models

Though there isn't much of a narrative, Jobski is a helpful little saucer that uses its abilities to aid others.

Ease of Play

Controls are simple and easy to learn. It's easy to tell when an object is close enough to its target location and when it isn't. There aren't many instructions beyond the tutorial, but each goal is self-explanatory. 

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Part Time UFO is a physics-based puzzle game available for download on Nintendo Switch. Players sputter around as Jobski, a UFO stranded on Earth and tasked by a local farmer to find odd jobs helping earthlings with simple to increasingly complex puzzles. Using an extendable claw much like those found in infamous carnival attractions, the challenge of this title is matching dexterity with minor UFO mods purchased with in-game currency that can potentially help you clear puzzles faster. While frustrating at select moments, there are no penalties for trying a level multiple times.

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What's it about?

In PART TIME UFO, the tiny hero of the game encounters a farmer in need of some help. A tutorial takes players through the steps of using Jobski's extendable arm to transport crates of oranges onto a delivery truck, and the grateful farmer awards a task well done with a magazine full of odd job advertisements. Within the magazine lies an range of puzzles to conquer and achievements (called "medals") to collect, sending Jobski to citizens in need in arenas like a museum, high school, toy store, and even a circus. The seemingly mundane becomes compelling as stacks of objects topple over and the clock ticks closer to zero, providing hours of obsessive amusement for players of all ages. 

Is it any good?

Though single-player mode is a blast on its own, co-op mode is where this puzzle game excels. For some time, the Switch has been in dire need of more dynamic co-op experiences, and Part Time UFO is a new release that's sure to satisfy kids and parents alike. While the maximum number of players is capped at two, there's a good reason for this -- the puzzles are structured slightly differently in multiplayer mode versus single-player, and including more than two UFOs would overcomplicate the game mechanics. There's room for expansion, though, since there aren't many technical differences between playing alone or playing with others. A competitive mode or a separate achievement list could have made this feature an even larger triumph. 

Conversely, in single player mode, Part Time UFO isn't an obvious hit at first. Seemingly simplistic on the surface, players who give up after having to repeat a few levels may never pick up the game again. But those who stick around are in for a treat. Expect to feel either on top of the world -- perhaps literally if you're attempting the treacherous Tower of Infinity level (where players are asked to stack objects that are larger and more difficult to control as high as they can possibly go) -- or utterly defeated yet again by the last-second collapse of something like a cheerleader pyramid. While some levels are a breeze, the satisfaction from completing loftier objectives, such as certain height benchmarks on the Tower of Infinity, is substantial, especially when considering the added challenges of a miniature platform to balance on and even tighter per-object time limit. Additional medals warrant attempting each level again and again, and after the fallout of more than a few failures, dedication will reward those worthy of wielding the claw's power.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. There are many jobs to complete in Part Time UFO, especially if you're looking to collect every possible medal, which can take many hours, so how long should your play sessions last to maintain healthy media consumption habits?

  • What are the best ways to divide up a task? How can groups effectively communicate with each other? 

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Price: $8.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory, Inc.
  • Release date: October 28, 2020
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Topics: Space and Aliens
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Crude humor, mild fantasy violence
  • Last updated: December 15, 2020

Our editors recommend

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