When I sat down to play UFO Dad for the first time, I was initially sceptical about how much enjoyment I was going to get out of another match-three puzzle game. Let’s be honest, from Bejeweled to Candy Crush Saga and everything in-between, the genre has been so inundated with similar titles it has become ever-more challenging to pick out the gems from the boring clones.
UFO Dad attempts to avoid simply repeating the formula that has brought huge success to previous puzzle games such as those I mention above. It does so by blending elements of the classic puzzle game with platform elements. For that, at least, it should be commended.
The storyline, if you could call it that, presents a Dad who has invented a tool named the Wonder Spatula. In doing so, he inadvertently becomes the target of an alien invasion. Playing as the Dad, players are tasked with chaining three burgers of the same colour to score points. As always in games of this type, the bigger the chain the more points are gained. The player must avoid getting crushed by falling blocks or getting sucked up by the UFO beam at the top of the playfield.
Other characters become available as players reach certain targets while playing the game. Each have specific attributes in terms of speed, strength and jump ability, as well as their own special power. The game play is simple: using the D-Pad and Square, one must flip burgers in a certain direction or up and across the screen. Where UFO Dad differs from a game like Bejeweled or Tetris is the fact that players must move the character around the playfield, rather than directly moving the pieces themselves.
The presentation of the game is smooth, simple and colourful. UFO Dad sets no game play objectives beyond achieving high scores. There are no lives or continues and no rewards. As such, progress is largely reliant on patience and strategy. I could use the R button to shift the playfield upwards and therefore speed up my progress but if I proceeded too quickly, I was likely to suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of a falling block. This type of endless game play allows UFO Dad to work relatively well as a simple pick-up-and-put-down mobile title. In addition, developer Edit Mode has promised free DLC in the future.
Unfortunately, despite its attempts at character and originality, the game suffers from a lack of variety that holds it back from ever being anything more than this. My original scepticism upon first playing the game held up – it is not a title that is immediately addictive. Requiring the player to have patience is a perfectly acceptable demand. However, when this is combined with game play that initially progresses very slowly and becomes repetitive very quickly, it becomes a serious drawback.
Overall, UFO Dad should be given some praise for attempting to break the mold of the traditional match-three puzzle game and adding something new to the mix. However, it is held back by game play that quickly becomes tedious rather than addictive. Unless you have already exhausted this genre and are looking for something new to play for a quick burst of puzzle-action, there’s not much here that will keep you coming back for more.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.