System(s): Playstation Mobile
Release Date: December 17, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Edit Mode (Edit Mode)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone”
The puzzle games and platformers, especially the puzzle platformers, are a solid genre. The genres are some of the few that tends to have general mass appeal, bridging the gap between the casual gamers and the core gamers. That bridge is something that is pretty awesome, because let’s face it. Whether you play casually or hardcore, for fun or for business, you’re a gamer. UFO Dad is one of those bridges.
It’s a bit of a throwback, resembling classic games, particularly Mr. Driller. Still, as good as UFO Dad is, I sometimes wondered if it it was good because of its own innovations, or because it was emulating other, classic games.
Surprisingly, UFO Dad does have a pretty strong and humorous story, even though it’s a pretty sparse one. You and your family are having a nice little summer barbecue. Sure, barbecues of all sorts are a common tradition for multiple cultures, but this seems to be emulating the good old American tradition. And then, much like any good, mediocre, or flat out crap science fiction with aliens, your family barbecue is turned upside down. Literally, according to opening cinematic, as some were turned upside down during the abduction. Your goal is to avoid actually being sucked into the alien spaceship.
The mechanics are pretty old school. As I said earlier, UFO Dad is a throwback to games like Mr. Driller. You break bricks and dirt to try to buy space between you and the alien ship. If you combine enough burgers quickly enough, the special skill of the character you’re playing as unlocks. As you last longer in the game and get higher scores, you’re able to unlock the rest of the family being abducted. Each member has his or her own unique skills and stats, which can help you last longer.
UFO Dad is the kind of game that begs to be replayed. In addition to the multiple characters and procedurally generated playthroughs, the set up is basically what Tetris would look like if it were an endless runner. Though I did liken it to Mr. Driller, Mr. Driller always had a goal at the end of each level UFO Dad, like Tetris, asks you to last until you fail. Sooner or later, you’ll be accidentally crushed by something or abducted, which inspires a determination to do better and last longer next time. It’s addictive, bright and colorful.
Speaking of which, UFO Dad’s art and setup are highlights of the game. The simplistic, animated characters add to the general aesthetic, making the whole quite beautiful. There are also more than a few funny moments. However I would have liked to have seen more, as they felt a little too spread apart.
That being said, UFO Dad has one major flaw. Rather than trying to define its own identity, it relies entirely too much on the throwback mentality. This does lower the quality a bit. While it’s still enjoyable to play, the attempts to emulate better games makes this a bit more of an average original game. For example, with more focus on the content rather than the throwbacks, there could’ve been more skills and characters to unlock. It could have been funnier. There could’ve been more family members, and more special skills per each one. It would’ve made a lot of sense if the game is set during a holiday barbecue like that of Independence Day. UFO Dad is a game full of “could’ves.”
Just a bit undercooked
UFO Dad is the kind of game where each player will get something different out of it, depending on their personal preferences. If you like puzzle games or platformers, you’ll probably find something to latch on to. Mix in the fact that, even though it’s an average game, it is sold at a very affordable price. You actually do get what you pay for with this game. It’ll still leave you wanting more, and won’t leave you feeling cheated. However, I felt like there were many missed opportunities to make the game more robust, and had more potential. The consistency leaves a lot to be desired. For under $10, fans of the genre should consider attending this barbeque.