The Game Boy Advance had one of the most varied libraries of any handheld video game console, and thanks to its pixel-based visuals, it also allowed developers to make games that were bold, weird, and truly memorable.
Games like WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames, Drill Dozer, and even the Japan-exclusive Mother 3 had a certain charm when it came to their aesthetics and gameplay. If you miss that iconic GBA look, Super UFO Fighter has got you covered.
Developed by VV-LABO and published by Phoenixx, this party game takes players on an extraterrestrial flying saucer competition where two players go head-to-head collecting key items and dropping them in their respective goals using their tractor beams.
It is truly a wild and bizarre game, one that feels like basketball mixed with claw machine mechanics. Yet, it is this oddball approach that makes Super UFO Fighter very compelling.
Super UFO Fighter’s roster features six flying saucers with powerful Shwoop Beams that are used to pick up objects in each match. Players can also use Smash Attacks to fend off the opponent, and use each level’s unique mechanics to keep opponents at bay.
The way each match works is that both players will start on their end of the playing field with their own basketball hoop-like goal. Each round will have numerous items rain down on the level, with players scoring the winning goal if they get the right item displayed in their own goal.
It’s a quick game of mixing and matching the right objects into your own goal posts and what keeps things different is how players can float around in their respective UFOs. Having both players able to orbit 360 degrees around their opponents allows for some tricky mind games.
As mentioned, each of these arenas, such as the Shwoop Stadium, Bubbletopia Palace, and Corner Caboodle, have their own level-specific mechanics that may help or impair the player, so it is important to keep on your toes when these elements come into play.
The cool thing about Super UFO Fighter is that it actually features a single-player campaign that acts as a great way to practise one’s skills. Players assume the role of Lulu, a human girl who finds herself accidentally onboard a spacecraft and participates in a cosmic competition.
While the story is no more complex than a typical campaign featured in something like FIFA or NBA2K, it does its job in letting the player learn the ropes. It is also a great way to soak in the game’s wicked visuals and character designs.
Of course, players can also duke it out online in cross-platform multiplayer between PC and Nintendo Switch players, and there is also the option to face off against friends in local multiplayer.
Super UFO Fighter features a variety of game modes such as Super Ball mode, where the aim is to get an explosive ball to the opponent’s side of the screen before it detonates. There’s also an endless mode to truly hone one’s skills.
The gameplay of Super UFO Fighter can be described as simplistic, with not much depth or room for complex manoeuvres and a growing metagame. It is fun for sure, but don’t expect something like Windchargers or Rocket League.
At the best of times, it can feel like a more competitive version of HAL Laboratory’s Part Time UFO. But it is also safe to say that Part Time UFO has way more variety when it comes to challenges and level designs.
It certainly is apples and oranges, but for a first endeavour, VV Labo certainly showed off what they can do with Super UFO Fighter. For a game company that began in 2018 by a group of five college students from Tokyo, it is a commendable effort, to say the least.
So if you’re looking for a game that scratches that Game Boy Advance nostalgia itch in terms of wacky gameplay and technicolour visuals, Super UFO Fighter is now available on Nintendo Switch and Steam.