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Is the truth really out there? Possibly, but one thing’s for sure: there is something very different, you could even call it weird, about H + A’s comic adventure, U.F.O.s.

It’s the 1970s. You, a bizarre purple-sausage-alien named Gnap, crash in the Ozarks, a deserted portion of earth where chickens and pigs run free and butt cracks are the latest fashion craze. Your ship is in need of repair so you take off to find spare parts that can be used. An advertisement for a cereal blows in your face, but what really gets your attention is the prize included: a weird light bulb-like object that is just what you need to fix up your UFO.

Before you set off, you come upon a platypus in need of help. You quickly save him, and in return, he follows you along your quest and helps you when you need help.

U.F.O.s is full of comedy a la Ren and Stimpy. Since you are an alien, you talk with your head and make a weird gushy sound that always makes me laugh out loud. Even when clicking on a helpless chicken, you are amazed to find out that the chicken will poke you in the eye! Comedy like this is littered throughout the game, so just when things are seeming a little slow, there is always something to cause a little giggle, chuckle, or uncontrollable laughter.

An inventory transmitter is used to zap up items you may need along the way, and a small icon is placed in the top right corner for you to click to access all inventory items as well game options (save, restore, quit, etc.). Inventory objects are kept to a minimum, so you usually don’t have to carry more than eight items at a time.

I was very impressed with the graphics. Although the animation is of the basic 2D type, the game uses 3D backgrounds which look absolutely astounding and fit the theme perfectly. Characters are all outrageous and exaggerated. From purple space aliens to fat hick-town bikers to old ladies trying to cross the street; everything’s here and funny as hell!

Gameplay is simple. There are four cursor modes: Hand, Eyeball, Mouth and Platypus. The hand is used to pick things up or generally interact with something; the eyeball is used to look at an object or person; the mouth is used to talk with someone; and the platypus is used in your aid to distract someone or to do something you don’t want to do (as long as the game will allow you to). It’s a basic point-and-click adventure with a twist.

I found the action sequences in the game to be quite enjoyable! The first one you come upon is an easy drive to the biker town where you must avoid certain objects and run over others, and the game ends with a wild tongue fight for gum. These sequences may be hard to understand at first, but you always have a second try at things and they are easy to learn once you fool around with them.

I found the music in the game to be enjoyable but not all that plentiful. There is a cute little tune played each time you gain an inventory item along with an incredibly drawn still shot of the character holding the inventory and tiny stars shining about the screen. At various other parts of the game, such as the circus, there is background music and sound effects. Most of the voice acting is performed by members of the design team, but surprisingly, it fit in very well and they were not too bad.

A big complaint I have with U.F.O.s is that it is just too short. There’s basically only one path to the end, and it is always the same ending. The game is played in only five small locations, and I completed the entire game in under two hours. However, I had more fun with U.F.O.s than I had with Curse of Monkey Island or Leisure Suit Larry, which take much longer to complete. In a sense, it is worth a replay or two just to be sure you’ve clicked on everything and laughed at everything there is to laugh at, because it is always funny the second time around.

So many little features abound the game, it’s just so hard to believe. The designers paid attention to every little detail, and never did I once think that they had rushed this game out. The story is short yet complete, and there are no bugs, which is what we would like to expect when we find a game, but quite often never see it.

H + A has created a fun, albeit short, unique game here that most new adventure gamers will appreciate. Anyone who wants a great laugh should pick up U.F.O.s immediately or else you won’t know what you’re missing.

Final Grade: A-

Craig White

Craig White

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