ULTROS Evaluation

Highlights

  • Key takeaways:
  • ULTROS is a psychedelic Metroidvania with shocking visuals and a hauntingly stunning soundtrack.
  • The gameplay combines hack n slash battle with tender-handed gardening, providing a singular enjoy.
  • The sport lacks an actual problem in battle encounters and has navigational shortcomings that can result in irritating moments.

ultros tag image

Ultros

ULTROS is a psychedelic Metroidvania the place you get up stranded on The Sarcophagus — a cosmic uterus maintaining an historic, demonic being. Trapped within the loop of a black hollow, you’ll have to discover The Sarcophagus and meet its population to grasp the section you play within the endless cycle of rebirth.

Launched
February 13, 2024

Developer
Hadoque

Execs

  • Surprising Visuals And Hauntingly Gorgeous Soundtrack
  • Attractive Tale With A couple of Endings
  • Distinctive Gameplay That Mixes Hack n Slash Battle With Comfortable-handed Gardening
Cons

  • Missing A Actual Problem In Battle Encounters
  • Navigational Shortcomings Lead To Some Irritating Moments

As an avid Metroidvania gamer, I’m all the time searching for the following giant one to catch my eye. And let me inform you, ULTROS and its psychedelic artwork taste didn’t simply catch my eye — it burned a kaleidoscope-shaped hollow during the middle of my mind. It’s been an enjoy of exploration, experimentation, and beauty, all crowned off with a minor dose of frustration.


ULTROS MC


ULTROS takes position on The Sarcophagus, a big house station aimlessly floating in some far-off nook of house. Regardless of what the title implies, The Sarcophagus is the rest however devoid of lifestyles. Actually, it’s functionally a big womb, performing as a house for all method of alien natural world, a couple of wayward explorers, and, most significantly, a big, incubating demon identified most effective as ULTROS. You get up someplace on board, undecided of who or the place you might be, and got down to in finding solutions.


A hauntingly stunning soundtrack of violins and eerie synth pads fills your ears as you acquaint your self with the colourful, alien setting surrounding you. And as you discover every of the original biomes, slowly casting off the incubating shamans fueling ULTROS’ enlargement and dispelling the appearance ensnaring each and every dwelling factor on board, you’ll enjoy a number of loops — cycles of rebirth the place you’ll need to relearn abilities and reacquaint your self with spaces that experience advanced because of your movements or inactions within the earlier cycle.

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The core gameplay parts are a mixture of hacking and slashing your means thru adverse fauna whilst additionally enjoying gardener, moderately opting for between plenty of plant varieties that will help you navigate the alien landscapes, resolve puzzles, and gas your ability development. Battle is slightly fundamental, applying a mild and heavy sword assault and a dodge mechanic to take out your foes, with new strikes and talents changing into to be had as you move additional into the sport.


ULTROS Combat (2)-1


Battle feels snappy and rewarding as you moderately maneuver every enemy’s combinations, developing openings to assault from at the back of or to toss one enemy into every other. However the level of problem I’ve come to be expecting from Metroidvanias was once exhausting to search out right here, with most effective a few enemy varieties ever dealing critical harm to me. Actually, right through my first 18-hour playthrough, I didn’t die as soon as. At the one hand, this was once a little disappointing as I have been hoping to run into a minimum of a couple of bosses that will require some trial-and-error. However what the battle lacked in problem it rather made up for in its emphasis on methodology.


Diet performs a large function in ULTROS. As you harvest the end result of the quite a lot of vegetation you come upon and hack thru every enemy, you’ll acquire assets that can be utilized to unencumber new abilities, fertilize vegetation, or even feed and befriend some creatures. With regards to creature portions, the number of assault varieties you utilize when defeating them can decide the standard of the portions you gather. Brutally beat a creature with the similar transfer time and again, and you could simply be left with some bloody pulp, whilst thoughtfully striking every hit can yield a extra nutritious bounty. The program briefly made every combat really feel like a mini puzzle, with one of the most tougher enemies requiring me to scrupulously execute each and every skill I had to be had with the intention to get the most productive assets from them.

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Even supposing those assets will on occasion be spent on replenishing your well being, you’ll most commonly use them to unencumber new abilities. Each and every ability calls for a distinct mixture of the 4 nutrient varieties with the intention to be unlocked, with positive dietary values being extra extensively to be had in particular spaces of The Sarcophagus, successfully not easy me to discover the entire of the ecosystem if I sought after to be told each and every ability. And simply once I felt like I used to be in a position to unencumber a very powerful abilities, getting ready me for nearly any scenario, I’d wreck every other shaman out of its incubator and cause every other loop, beginning over and having to rebuild myself from the bottom up.


ULTROS Womb


First of all, this felt like a large setback, one thing I’d be expecting to enjoy in a Roguelike. However as I realized the quite a lot of routes and the place to search out the diet I had to degree up, I used to be in a position to rebuild myself sooner with every loop. Via diligent exploration, I used to be additionally in a position to search out a number of Mnemonic Mycelium, a singular useful resource that allowed me to hold over abilities between loops, making every rebirth appear a little much less devastating than the closing.


As a laugh as battle and talent development are in ULTROS, they’re a small a part of the bigger equation that makes up the sport, with the most important part being the way you have interaction with the quite a lot of vegetation to be had, and the way the selections you’re making within the setting have an effect on the gameplay and tale parts right through every loop. That is the place the true brilliance of ULTROS shines thru, and the place I additionally discovered my biggest moments of frustration.

Some vegetation will live to tell the tale and develop some distance past their preliminary reaches after dwelling thru a couple of loops, whilst others will wither and die with every rebirth you enjoy.

You’ll sooner or later acquire get entry to to a handful of plant seeds, all of which develop into distinctive flowers that can be utilized to traverse the map. Planting the Ogu Mumin seed, as an example, will yield a tree-like plant that turns out to be useful when attaining spaces too top to leap to. Planting a Mushishi at the ceiling may end up in a brand new trail changing into out there thru some swinging vines, whilst as an alternative planting it within the flooring creates a strip of grass that may benefit the surroundings itself greater than your individual exploration targets. Moreover, what you plant and the place you plant it might have long-lasting results that play out over a number of loops. Some vegetation will live to tell the tale and develop some distance past their preliminary reaches after dwelling thru a couple of loops, whilst others will wither and die with every rebirth you enjoy.


Ultros Plantlife


But it surely isn’t almost about the planting procedure itself; it’s additionally about how you utilize the quite a lot of equipment you’ll achieve to maintain them, or now not. There have been some spaces the place the pesky, thorny Staccati vines blocked my passage completely. Upon getting my chopping software, I used to be in a position to hack during the bramble and discover the realm it was once hiding. However now not lengthy once I started chopping did the vines start to regrow, pushing me deeper into the abdominal of the beast. Later, once I were given my digging software, I used to be in a position to come back again and uproot the seed, getting rid of this thorny nuisance as soon as and for all, whilst additionally permitting me to replant that very same seed in different places.


The complexity of deciding which vegetation pass the place and the way every loop will additional have an effect on their enlargement or make them wither completely makes navigating the map necessarily one massive puzzle. There are some spaces which can be slightly easy to get thru, whilst others can most effective be reached through opting for the right mix of vegetation, equipment, and soil diet. When this labored smartly, it took the type of me moderately tending to a plant for a pair loops till it reached adulthood and allowed me to assemble that in the past unimaginable to succeed in Mnemonic Mycelium.


ULTROS Mnemonic Mycelium


However there have been additionally some irritating instances once I ventured down a trail and briefly discovered myself misplaced in a space I had visited earlier than. The trail out of there that have been to be had in a prior loop was once now not to be had, forcing me to discover a new means. A few of this intentional misdirection was once relaxing, whilst a few of it was once now not. As an example, breaking thru a destructible wall I first came upon on loop one spread out a pathway I had to get to a brand new space. When consulting my map on loop two, that very same space I now discovered myself trapped in looked as if it would haven’t any exits.


After scouring each and every inch of this as soon as acquainted space once more, I’d sooner or later in finding that the destroyed wall have been rebuilt, although there was once no indication of this destructible impediment on my most commonly stuffed out map. Whilst I will be able to admire the speculation of items converting between loops, the truth that the entire of the map was once nonetheless intact, minus some of these stumbling blocks, supposed I needed to manually take into account the place they have been to keep away from spending an hour retracing my steps. Sooner or later, I used to be in a position to keep in mind a majority of these sorts of blocked paths, however it made for some particularly gradual and tedious moments previous in my playthrough.


It was once in instances like those that I felt like there may have been a little extra hand-holding. Positive mechanics appear to be briefly glossed over, the builders obviously encouraging you to depend a little extra on experimentation to find simply what’s conceivable. Whilst this method most effective backfired a couple of instances right through my first playthrough, the ones occasional moments actually bogged down my development and brought about some undesirable frustration.

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After effectively navigating thru all of the trials put earlier than me, I sooner or later was once in a position to take out all seven shamans and cause the finishing of the sport, leaving me partly glad after finishing my inaugural adventure. However there was once such a lot I hadn’t finished the primary time round that I determined to leap in and pass during the sport once more. A lot to my marvel, the second one playthrough is the place I discovered my biggest appreciation for the whole thing the builders had completed in ULTROS.


The primary time round, I had approached accumulating assets like I did in maximum video games. I used every software at my disposal to assemble each and every seed and nutrient to be had to additional my targets, mindlessly stomping during the fragile ecosystem, uprooting mature vegetation simply to stockpile their seed in case I wished it later. Whilst this had momentary advantages, doing so additionally disturbed the ecosystem that have been rising for lots of seasons earlier than I awoke. The long-term have an effect on this made was once now not as simply recognizable on my first playthrough because it was once on my 2d.


Ultros Save Pod-1


The most efficient instance of this was once the enjoy I had when connecting the dwelling community right through the map the primary time round vs the second one playthrough. About midway during the sport, you’ll get get entry to to a space that lets you run what successfully purposes as a neuron from one relay to the following. Connecting it to positive mechanisms can open doorways up to now locked, whilst connecting it to the pods I stored and upgraded my abilities in would unencumber a quick shuttle gadget able to sending me to any pod these days stressed out to the dwelling community.


Achieving the tip of the sport calls for applying this dwelling community, however maximum of it was once completely not obligatory. With one of the vital endings of the sport requiring me to twine the community right through all the map, this not obligatory facet quest briefly become probably the most complicated puzzle the sport had to provide, one who spanned almost about each and every corner and cranny of the map.

On the second one playthrough, then again, I determined to simply uproot a plant if I completely had to, taking every cautious step during the alien panorama with the conviction to make my footprint at the ecosystem as minimum as conceivable.

Probably the most key elements to wiring the dwelling community is the use of the plants that develop off of the matured vegetation as relay issues, serving to you attach the community additional through applying the plant lifestyles itself. Since I have been extra reckless on my first playthrough, wiring the dwelling community thru positive paths was once a lot more tough, requiring much more paintings, combining the capability of all my equipment and including extra diet to the soil to assist mature the vegetation additional to make up for my deficient selections previous on. On the second one playthrough, then again, I determined to simply uproot a plant if I completely had to, taking every cautious step during the alien panorama with the conviction to make my footprint at the ecosystem as minimum as conceivable.


ULTROS Gardener


And this extra aware method paid off. Spaces that had taken me an hour to fix on my first playthrough have been lush with plantlife, making my project to attach every relay a miles more straightforward feat the second one time round. The distinction between those two reviews actually speaks to the underlying topics of unity and conservation, a core motif I may most effective admire with more than one playthroughs. That is slightly most likely probably the most stunning a part of my time with ULTROS, and an enjoy maximum would pass over completely in the event that they make a choice to simply play the sport as soon as.


Total, ULTROS is a actually excellent sport that forces you to experiment with more than one approaches, unafraid of throwing you into the deep finish every now and then. It supplies a Metroidvania enjoy like no different, saturated with distinctive puzzle fixing, psychedelic visuals, a gorgeous soundtrack, and a odd however fascinating tale and environment.


A few of its absolute best moments can most effective be preferred through the ones prepared to position within the overtime, which is each a rewarding and unlucky fact, as now not everybody will be capable to enjoy the most productive the sport provides with a unmarried playthrough. However you probably have the endurance to persevere thru some minor shortcomings and a few playthroughs, your working out and appreciation for this sport will indisputably mature from a freshly sprouted sapling to a towering conifer.

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