This week's game of the week post is more like the gaming deal of the week. You should recognize HAL Laboratory, Inc. as the studio behind everyone's favorite round and pink vacuum, Kirby, but they've also started dipping their toes into developing mobile games. Their first release is Part Time UFO, a premium crane simulator/puzzle game that has you playing as a little UFO who's looking for work on earth by using a claw to help humans out with little side jobs.
This game was actually released last year, but I'm featuring it this week because it's available for 50% off as part of a special sale to celebrate HAL Laboratory's Twitter account surpassing 50,000 followers. They haven't indicated when the sale will end, so that means this quirky little game is just $1.99 for a limited time.
Part Time UFO could have very easily been a free-to-play game with ads, in-app purchases for upgrades and all that other junk that often ruins the atmosphere and fun of playing a mobile game. Instead, HAL decided to go the premium route with no ads or in-app purchases with everything unlocked by collecting coins and completing challenges in the game. But be warned: this game may look like a cute and casual game for kids, but it delivers a genuine challenge that is easily worth a $2 purchase.
HAL decided to go the premium route with no ads or in-app purchases.
The gameplay blends the physics of playing a crane game with an assortment of puzzling situations that are quirky, weird, and uniquely challenging. In one level, you're catching as many different fish as you can while dodging a jumping squid that knocks time off your clock, in the next, you're balancing acrobat monkeys on an elephant riding a unicycle.
It's a delightfully silly experience that's backed by a bright chip-tune soundtrack and a Kirby-esque art style that's colorful and rich. Each level is lovingly crafted with little details in the background and sideline characters that react to your performance. It's just what you'd expect from the team behind the Kirby universe, with the titular character being notably adorable with a bunch of fun hats and suits to unlock.
I almost feel bad that this game wasn't on my radar until just now — and given the low download numbers on the Google Play Store it sure seems like most folks overlooked it, if they even saw it at all. But there's no better time to check it out than right now while it's on sale.
Get the most out of your Android gaming experience
SteelSeries Stratus Duo ($60 at Amazon)
A great Bluetooth controller for use with Android games that offer gamepad support that also includes a wireless USB dongle for gaming on PCs. Highly recommended!
Ventev Powercell 6010+ Portable USB-C Charger ($37 at Amazon)
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Spigen Style Ring ($13 at Amazon)
Of all the phone mounts and kickstands we've tested, the most consistently reliable and sturdy is the original Spigen Style Ring. It also has a minimalist hook mount for your car's dashboard.
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