When it came out in 2018, HAL Egg’s Part Time UFO was one of my favorite games of the year. It was, in a word, charming. We watched as a UFO came to earth to learn about our lives and complete part time jobs. At the time, it felt complete! There was a teaser that more would be on the way at the end, but it was a tidy collection of tasks. But now that the Part Time UFO Switch port is here, it is obvious our extraterrestrial friend was promoted.
This is a novel take on a crane game. All the tasks Jobski, the name of the UFO, takes on involving using a claw to grab and place items. If you’re on a farm, you are gathering produce or animals. Heading to a restaurant? Pluck food off the line for a proper meal! Someone in a museum messed up an exhibit, so replace it. Build items in a lab according to a blueprint. Arrange students for a photo shoot. Rebuild ruins! Balance circus animals! The new array of levels involve a festive workshop with toys that need arranging. Each one has three goals that award medals that unlock new jobs. Said goals usually involve clearing a task within a time limit, arranging things in a certain order or maybe finding a hidden object.
Aside from the new series of levels involving toys, the extra effort HAL Egg put in is pretty obvious. The original game only had one difficulty for all levels. There are also more challenging versions of each level that unlock if you complete the three goals. The harder version of the first farm tutorial adds a bigger basket and pumpkins to the mix, alongside all of the oranges. The shoulder buttons have additional cosmetic actions for Jobski. (The tiger costume involves paws.) It incentivizes spending more time, well, on these jobs.
The Part Time UFO Switch version also feels like it cares more about giving back to a player. You essentially get more out of it. Sharing an image of your completed work lets you see a “Thanks for Sharing” art for each job category. There are Feats of Glory brief animations for actions like completing objectives and logging in. You can buy and collect more costumes for Jobski, some of which make him more proficient in areas like strength and speed when worn.
But the most important parts of this port involve the endless sorts of tasks. There are two new areas a person could explore. One is Tower of Infinity, which is both a solo and co-op opportunity to build a tower as tall as possible with randomly provided pieces. (The genie also shows up from time to time to generate a small block to generate additional support.) This is a high score sort of challenge with its own “milestones,” like reach 20m, but it’s surprisingly chill for what it is.
The other new retreat is Treasure Island. Frankly, it makes Part Time UFO feel more like an adventure. After you buy a ticket with in-game cash from the shop, earned from Jobski’s jobs, you can visit an island and go searching for treasure in ruins. This is a timed excursion with health-depleting hazards, so your goal ends up being figuring out how to safely navigate spaces and acquire keys to continue collecting rewards. It’s not only surprising, but more challenging than I expected!
Part Time UFO’s theme song has lived rent-free in my head since its debut two years ago, and I have been hoping for some sort of return ever since. I was pleased enough when it appeared during a Nintendo Direct, expecting more of the same, but am utterly delighted to know this is no simple port. Part Time UFO Switch is a much richer experience; it is one that gives you excuses to come back. It’s a good time to look for work with the most pleasant UFO any of us will ever know.
Part Time UFO is immediately available on both the Nintendo Switch and mobile devices.