Derek Yu, the creator of the video game Spelunky, has lain incredibly low since his title transformed the “randomly generated” gaming genre in 2008 (and again with an “HD” version in 2012). Would his long-awaited return also involve randomly generated dungeons or some other procedurally generated gimmick?
Not even close. Yu announced a completely different kind of game on Monday, slated to launch in 2018. I bring this admittedly early news to you because we may need an entire year to parse what exactly the game, titled UFO 50, will truly offer. UFO 50, as its title suggests, isn’t just one game. It’s fifty of ’em.
From what I can gather, the collection includes at least one dodgeball game (with other sports-like games that resemble the classic Super Dodge Ball) along with dungeon crawlers, beat-’em-ups, shmups, strategy games, point-and-click adventures, Contra-like platformers, tower defense, RPGs, an open-world driving game, and one Klax-like box-pushing puzzler. There’s a lot going on here. (Oh, I almost forgot: cyber-golf.)
Yu describes the collection as “games created in the ’80s by a fictional company that was obscure but ahead of its time.” He insists UFO 50 is not a collection of “micro-games” and estimates that “hundreds of hours” are required to beat them all. He says roughly one-third of the included games will support local multiplayer.
The collection sees Yu collaborating with four other developers, including the creator of the delightful retro-blasty game Downwell. All of the UFO 50 games land in the same aesthetic camp. Their 32-color palette, sprite sizes, and other scene-construction details resemble the same limits found on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. A few of the revealed games already appear to bend or break some of the NES’ more restrictive limitations—particularly the number of sprites—and there’s a lack of flickering. What’s more impressive is how diverse the collection’s games look in spite of that hard aesthetic limit.
No price has been announced yet, but I suspect UFO 50, which will launch first on PCs, will arrive well below the retail price of the most similar product currently on the market: the NES Classic. (And as a digitally downloaded product, it might not run out of inventory so quickly!)