GAME NAME: Ultratron
DEVELOPER(S): Puppy Games/Carbon
PUBLISHER(S): Curve Digital
PLATFORM(S): PlayStation 4
GENRE(S): Shoot ’em Up
RELEASE DATE(S): May 12th, 2015
The first thing I thought upon playing Puppy Games’ Ultratron was “This is mighty familiar.” After playing for a bit, I figured out why. The design was very similar to a title I played on my 3DS, Titan Attacks! which is also made by the company. Once again Puppy Games has taken some classic design cues from yesteryear, this time inspired by the likes of arcade style shooters such as Robotron: 2084 and brought them to the modern era of gaming.
In this twin stick multi-directional arcade style shoot ’em up, ported from PC to the PlayStation 4 and published by Curve Digital, you are the only remaining humanoid battle droid and for whatever reason are out to avenge the now extinct human race. You are battling hordes of other robots of varying types, speeds, and abilities in an arcade style arena. Wave after wave your enemies will appear around the corners of the arena, some zinging towards you, others swarming together and moving en masse like a swarm of black flies.
Each “level” is broken up into ten stages with assault and challenge stages midway through, culminating in a boss battle with one of the “Four Robots of the Apocalypse”. I found the challenge stages to be quite fun as the little “Spideroids” go scooting by at a pretty fast rate and you need to destroy all of them. Fast paced. Fun. Now in normal stages when you see one of these little guys go by, blast him! He’ll drop what’s usually in my opinion a pretty sweet power up.
On the topic of power ups, you can upgrade your little droid into a super awesome dealer of robot destruction between stages via the Omnicorp Shop-O-Matic. In order to “purchase” these upgrades you’ll collect these little Pacman-esque dots from your fallen foes which for some reason hold monetary value. Robo-currency if you will. Just be quick, they disapear from your screen pretty quickly.
As I said before, Ultratron is a twin stick multi-directional arcade style shoot ’em up. If you’re not familiar with this type of control, what it means is that you move with the left stick and shoot with the right. Pretty simple and straight forward. The controls are quick and responsive, which is an absolute must for a game like this where at times you’ll be trying to dodge what seems like millions of bullets and baddies at a time all while trying to decimate them.
Ultratron definitely shares that “neo-retro” graphical style that you may be familiar with if you’ve played any of Puppy Games’ other titles. In stunning high definition the graphics are surely nice to look at with bright, vibrant neon colors. The only things that really get a bit irritating for me is this flicker on the screen and the information overlay that periodically updates in the lower left of the screen. The overlay is mainly because it tends to obstruct a portion of the play area at times. Mostly I noticed the flickering after completing a stage when you get to the upgrade menu.
The soundtrack in the game is pretty decent also, although I’ll admit at first I thought it was repetitive and lacking. That all changed when I donned a stereo headset and got the full range of the soundtrack and sound effects. What I admittedly at first was less than impressed with had turned into a heart pounding, head bumping, eye popping experience that gains in intensity as you progress through higher and higher levels. Trust me on this. Use a stereo headset, you’ll thank me later. It just sounds better.
For $9.99 on PSN it’s definitely a great value for shmup fans, especially if you own more than one PlayStation brand console as it’s cross buy for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Overall it’s a great little retro inspired shoot ’em up, so if you are a fan of classic arcade style shooters this definitely a game you might want to give a try. And for the price there’s really no reason not to.