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Part Time UFO[1] is a physics based puzzle game developed and published by HAL Laboratory[2] on Android[3] and iOS[4], with an enhanced port published by Nintendo later releasing for the Nintendo Switch[5]. The game centers around Jobski, a sentient UFO who has crash landed on Earth, taking on jobs helping people across the world as a part time employee.

Story

As a large spaceship looms in orbit near the Earth's Moon, a bright flash of light appears in the sky as a small UFO named Jobski arrives on Earth while aimlessly wandering around space. A farmer transporting his oranges is distracted by the flash and hits a traffic sign depicting a UFO, and when he spots Jobski flying by his farm, he asks for their help putting the scattered cargo back on his truck. Jobski is confused when they finish the job and the farmer insists on paying them, so the farmer gifts them a magazine with job listings to help them settle down on Earth.

Jobski finds a cozy apartment to live in and begins working part time jobs through the listings in the magazine, performing tasks like catching fish, assisting in construction work, stacking cheerleaders for a high school pep rally, putting away toys in a toy shop, helping a museum custodian fix broken artwork, balancing performers on a tightrope in a circus, serving food in a restaurant, helping a scientist build gadgets in his lab, and generally improving the lives of those in need. Many of the people they help will have multiple listings and jobs that Jobski needs to do, and over the course of their stay on Earth, Jobski uses their job payments to buy new costumes from a friendly Merchant named Ankh to enhance their job performance.

Towards the end of the magazine, the scientist has a listing to build a robot to protect Earth. When Jobski finishes stacking all of the parts for the robot's head, it takes off towards the Moon, and the last page of Jobski's magazine gives them three final jobs. The first involves fighting star-shaped Evil Aliens who have invaded the Moon following the arrival of the large spaceship in the beginning of the game. Upon defeating the aliens, the alient leader pilots a robot named Comoestas and attacks Jobski. Once Comoestas is destroyed, the culprit attempts to flee in an escape pod, as Jobski's final task is to prevent it from taking off. Jobski piles the wreckage of the scientist's robot on top of it's escape pod, and they save the Earth as the escape pod breaks from the weight of the wreckage.

After locking the culprit and its aliens in a cage, Jobski receives a text on their phone congratulating them. They state that thanks to Jobski's work, they have managed to complete their research into Earth's work culture, and Jobski is asked to come back home. Jobski takes a look back at Earth from where they are floating on the Moon, and after the credits roll and the people of Earth who Jobski helped throughout the game celebrate as the alien threat is defeated, Jobski's apartment is shown to be empty with the lights off. A flash of light appears across the night sky, the same flash as the beginning when Jobski first arrived on Earth.

Gameplay

Core Gameplay

The core gameplay of Part Time UFO involves using Jobski's claw to transport objects, with each job listing being a level with a specific task the player needs to complete. The style of gameplay has drawn similarities to claw machines, particularly the popular Japanese Sega UFO Catcher[6][7]. There are multiple job categories that follow a given theme, and jobs of a certain theme will often have a similar task or gameplay style that's common across all of them. For example, Ocean 1 and Ocean 2 involve using Jobski's claw to catch fish and dropping them onto a fishing boat, while Ocean 3 requires Jobski to carefully transport cargo from one boat to another while trying to keep the cargo from falling in the water and avoiding squids that will cause Jobski to drop whatever they're carrying.

Jobs

Each job is under a time limit that can be increased by transporting flashing objects to where they need to go. Jobski can earn bonuses for doing extra tasks like stacking additional items or discovering a hidden object, but if the level's timer runs out, no bonuses will be added to the paycheck. Additionally, each level has smaller tasks that Jobski can complete which will earn them medals. The first two medals in a level are independent to the job, but the third will always be obtainable by completing the job within the time limit. Earning a Hat Trick, or obtaining all three medals in a level during the same attempt, will add a star icon on the level select next to each level it's been obtained in.

A specific amount of medals must be obtained across multiple levels in order to unlock the next page of Jobski's magazine and gain access to more jobs, and while Jobski can go back to obtain medals they missed while ignoring the medals they've already obtained, they will not earn a Hat Trick unless they obtain all three medals in a single attempt. Whenever Jobski completes a job, they are able to play it again as a Two Star job if they wish. Two Star jobs are more difficult versions of One Star jobs, with minor changes to increase difficulty or add additional secrets. For example, Toy Shop 2's One Star job requires Jobski to stack and balance toys on a wagon, with a teddy bear, a star, a stuffed chicken, and a bunch of small plush chicks. The Two Star version of the job replaces the toys with plushes of characters from the Kirby series, which is also published by HAL Laboratory. Medals earned in a One Star job transfer over to the Two Star version and vice versa, so Jobski is not required to obtain all three medals in both versions of the same job.

Themes are common across multiple jobs, with each theme having three jobs. The themes are as follows:

  • Farm, a rural and cozy area owned by the farmer Jobski meets when they first arrive on Earth. Every job involves picking up objects and setting them onto the farmer's truck.
  • Ocean, a fishing boat in the sea with aquatic life in the water below. Ocean 1 and 2 see Jobski catching fish, while Ocean 3 asks Jobski to transport cargo from one boat to another.
  • Worksite, a construction site with historical architecture that needs to be put back together. Worksite 1 is a Roman temple, Worksite 2 is a Japanese pagoda under attack by ninjas, and Worksite 3 is a large boulder that needs to be destroyed in order to build another Roman temple.
  • High School, a sports field behind a high school with students watching in the bleachers and a sports team in the middle. Every job involves Jobski attempting to balance the members of different sports teams into a proper formation or to reach a certain height.
  • Toy Shop, a cozy workshop reminiscent of Santa Claus' workshop and adorned with Christmas decorations. Every job involves picking up toys and setting them into a confined area.
  • Museum, a spacious exhibit with a custodian crying because they accidentally broke a piece of art. Every job involves Jobski putting the broken artwork back together.
  • Circus, a big top tent with an elephant on a tightrope balancing other members of their troupe. Every job involves picking up and placing troupe members onto the elephant's balance beam and preventing them from falling off.
  • Restaurant, a fancy fine dining establishment with a large conveyor belt to transport ingredients. Every job involves picking up ingredients from the conveyor belt and arranging them into a dish, ringing the bell by the register once Jobski feels the dish is complete.
  • Lab, a high tech research facility with a scientist watching Jobski work from a hologram. Every job involves arranging Tetris-like blocks within a confined space in order to assemble a gadget for the scientist.
  • The Moon, an area of the Earth's Moon under attack from aliens. The Moon 1 and 2 involve picking up an alien and releasing it at the right timing and angle in order to launch it at other aliens, damaging them in the process. The Moon 3 sees Jobski piling the broken remains of the scientist's robot onto an escape pod to prevent the alien leader from fleeing.

Shop

Jobski can use the money earned from completing jobs to purchase Costumes from the Merchant, many of which enhance Jobski's abilities or are required to complete a goal in the Feats of Glory. There are 30 unlockable Costumes that Jobski can earn, with the Costume's description either indicating its ability or simply providing flavor text. For example, Monkey Fighter helps keep Jobski from swaying as much when carrying an object, while Tiger Suit increases the speed and grip strength of Jobski's claw. Costumes can be worn and swapped out in between jobs, but a job must be restarted for Jobski to use a different costume and cannot be swapped in the middle of a job.

Additional Content (Switch ver. only)

Tower of Infinity

The Tower of Infinity is an arcade-styled gamemode that involves stacking randomized objects as high as possible, maintaining balance as the stack grows taller and working around the luck of the objects given. The game begins with a flat platform as helicopters carry in objects from the side of the screen, and Jobski must place each object on top of one another to build a tower and prevent them from falling below the platform. For every five objects placed, the Merchant will appear to place a magic block near the tower to provide extra stability, and after every five meters, the point at which objects cannot fall below will rise. If a single object falls below the given point, the game ends and the tower's height before collapse is added to a leaderboard.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island is a dungeon-crawling adventure-styled gamemode where Jobski can explore a large sprawling underground area to find secrets and earn a paycheck for reaching the end. To visit the island, Jobski must purchase a Plane Ticket from the Merchant for 2,500 coins, and the Merchant will only sell Plane Tickets after the credits following The Moon 3. A Plane Ticket is used each time Jobski visits Treasure Island, and another Plane Ticket must be bought to be able to visit again. On the island is a secret temple hidden in the sand, and upon entering, Jobski can explore a series of areas filled with secrets and treasure while avoiding obstacles to reach the end. Moving on to the next area requires Jobski to find and place three key fragments in the same area, which are often hidden across each area or behind dangerous obstacles, and being hit by an obstacle will remove some time off of Treasure Island's timer. Once Jobski reaches the end of the temple or the timer ticks down to zero, all of the treasures obtained and secrets earned are tallied up into a final paycheck.

Feats of Glory

Feats of Glory is a collection of 40 tasks that can be completed over the course of the game that act as an achievement system. The feats are arranged into an 8x6 grid with 12 sections and 4 feats within each section. Upon completing all 4 feats in a section, a memory will be unlocked with a short animation showing many of the places and people Jobski has seen throughout the game. Each section will often have a common theme with the feats included; for example, one section includes the feats It Came from Beneath the Sea, UFO at Sea, Workplace Efficiency 1, and 100 legs, all of which are feats completed in Ocean jobs. Some feats can be completed in a single level, like feats that require completing a job while wearing a certain costume, while others can be progressed over time. Some feats are marked with "? ? ?" and do not provide any description for how to complete them.

Soundtrack

Nearly every song in the game's soundtrack features a leitmotif of the game's main theme, with the exception of the songs included in Tower of Infinity. The main melody is reused in different genres and styles depending on where it appears, for example the theme for Toy Shop jobs using sleigh bells and other light instruments with a tempo and rhythm that matches the style of Christmas carols and other holiday-themed songs. Most notably, the job completion jingle may be modified depending on the job, such as a marching band theme for the completion of a High School job.

Development

Release

Part Time UFO is the first game developed by HAL Egg[1], the mobile subsidiary of HAL Laboratory, and was released in Japan on November 14th, 2017 on iOS and Android devices. An international release followed on February 26th, 2018. Many praised the game for its approach to mobile game design[8], where a one-time purchase of $3.99 or £3.99 gives full access to the entire game. Advertisements or microtransactions, aspects which mobile games are often criticized for, are not included at all.

An enhanced port for Nintendo Switch was published by Nintendo and released on October 28th, 2020[5].

Nintendo Switch ver.

Additional features and content added in the Nintendo Switch release include:

  • The additional game modes Tower of Infinity and Treasure Island
  • Three additional jobs
  • Two Star variants of jobs
  • Feats of Glory
  • Local multiplayer with Taski, a small UFO who has a red coloration as opposed to Jobski's yellow.


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