Nintendo Switch and Steam (PC)
The concept behind Super UFO Fighter from Japanese indie developer VV-LABO is simple. It is like those arcade crane games where you are struggling to pull a prize out of a huge bin of goodies. But, unlike the physical version, there’s an opponent to stop you! Not everybody is aware of the popularity of UFO Catchers in Japan, but they have been around for more than a decade (with the original being much older), and they have become quite the phenomenon since SEGA helped popularise them.
Plus, I must note the physical arcade game is much more rewarding. Often, the prize is a stuffed doll from some beloved franchise. In the Land of the Rising Sun, we can find characters like Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog or Hello Kitty. At high end boutiques, sometimes they can include electronics. But as for a video game version, not every variation offers digital rewards unless the game is programmed to offer NFTs,
In this video game, the concept is changed so that it’s like opening a loot crate and deciding if you want to keep what’s revealed or not. Players must crack open gashapon capsules open to reveal the toy, and afterwards, have to tractor beam them to safety. Each item has a point value to help you win. Your opponent can be the computer A.I. or friends online (or next to you) to cause you grief. For example, you can either collect items to build the opponent’s wall up higher, so it’s much more difficult for them to win, or whap the avatar around, so they are stumbling.
In the story mode, you play as Lulu, a human girl, who finds herself in a spacecraft and in a cosmic contest of champions. To phone home, you simply have to win. After each level gets progressively harder, and I didn’t feel motivated to get to the final bits to see how the tale finishes.
As a result, Super UFO Fighter isn’t all that exciting unless you’re playing against friends. Even then, the novelty wears thin after a while. I can imagine some fun can be held as a drinking game. Whoever loses must take a shot of their favourite alcoholic drink, and as more players get intoxicated, trying to steer those digital avatars around can be hilarious! However, we at otakunoculture.com can’t condone playing this game like that. We can not be held liable for damage to consoles, controllers and any screen damage.
I would be further invested if there were more well crafted challenges. Also, the online features aren’t all that different. But I can at least say there’s a few options to change things around. That is, there’s two additional characters to play as to vary the visuals up. Acute and Adamsia round out the cast, and they do not offer any new game play advantage. They are added eye candy so that we don’t tire of the same sprite action all the time. Also, I must note the game field is small. Had there been more space to navigate around, pardoning the pun, I’d enjoy my time running around trying to avoid my opponent from hitting me and stealing the trophy.
I wouldn’t be sure what this game would be like had this been developed for serious competitions. That is, some games are so popular, organizers create events for it like Super Mario Kart Tournaments. For this game, I’d expect either NFTs or online payouts like in Super Mario Run. After earning enough coins, they can be redeemed for digital rewards. The only endgame with Super UFO Fighter is in how long will players keep these products around until it’s deleted?
3 Stars out of 5
Super UFO Fighter Trailer