While arcades may not be as popular as they once were, there is still a lot of value placed on the games they held. There's something special about being able to put your hands on the controls and jump right into a colourful and energetic challenge. This is what the Noice 2D Game Studio has provided with UFO99. This unusually named but standout title was seemingly made for the phone and the speed at which it plays would fit neatly into any arcade. However, the question is whether or not it's best suited to mobile?
There are so many alien stories with explanations as to why visitors from beyond the stars would come to Earth. In the case of UFO99, it appears that the aliens have enough problems to deal with just flying around without having to worry about visiting other planets. In a world reminiscent of Doodle Jump, you play as a little UFO flying around an area of space filled with a number of cute yet hostile creatures. Your goal is to simply take out as many as you can while you still have time to spare. A simple challenge that's hard to beat.
Whenever aliens come, they always bring the newest and most high-tech stuff that humans can only dream of having. In UFO99, the game has brought some fun stuff to the table. First off, it's got a very friendly and charming appearance. Everything has a pixel-blocky feel but how the colours and lines look gives everything a more graphic feel. Everything also seems to move in sync which is indicated by the music. As you move further through the game and encounter different enemies, the tunes will adjust to suit the situation and the enemy movements.
Then there's the degree of challenge. Despite how harmless this game is, it can be quite engaging in terms of the gameplay. You have a contained screen to work with, but that quickly fills up with enemies, projectiles, and items. The clock is always ticking and you need to make snap decisions about what you should focus on. Is it better to eliminate the enemies or go for extra time? Then there are cool little boss encounters you'll hit by collecting Boss Keys. Each has its own flair and presents a nice break from the main game while still providing its own challenge.
Despite how advanced alien technology is presented, there are so many cases where they broke and had to come in for a crash-landing. In terms of UFO99, there are some components that are close to malfunctioning. The most noticeable is the lack of variety. Though you're able to change what your ship looks like, it's purely aesthetic. You can also choose what power-ups to take into the game, but the presentation is more or less the same every time you go in. The bosses provide the most variety, but there's no guarantee that you're going to face one in each run.
There's also a lack of other game modes and things to do in general. This is likely where the multiplayer component would shine brightest, but that's not always easy to put together. In some ways, this works in the game's favour in terms of motivation. You want to get further and further simply so you have the chance to see something different.
UFO99 is an arcade-style 2D game about flying around a UFO, collecting items, and taking out the adorable cousins of Space Invaders. It's colourful, quick, and provides a level of challenge that really makes you push for better. The lack of variety works against it on all fronts, but the multiplayer option can possibly help with that. Whether alone or with friends, flying a little alien ship is a fun way to pass some of your free time.