Review: Ultratron by Puppy Games

Review: Ultratron by Puppy Games
4.5

Platforms:

PC, Mac

Game Name:

Ultratron

Publisher(s):

Puppy Games

Developer(s):

Puppygames

Genre(s):

Action, Shooter

Release Date:

March 18 2013

Developer Summary

Enter the world of Ultratron and experience the addictive gameplay of old-school arcade favourites such as Robotron: 2084, updated and improved for the 21st century!

What We Think

A thrilling barrage of light and sound. Ultratron captures the best elements of the arcade two-stick shooters of yore and repackages them with subtle elegance.

Ultratron screenshot F
Enjoy the light show, but watch for shrapnel.

Robot the Farm

From Puppy Games, the makers of Droid Assault and Revenge of the TitansUltratron takes a lot of its cues from the classic 1982 shooter Robotron 2084, but with one major change: Humanity has been wiped out. So that happened. While fighting over a race that is already pushing up daisies may seem like a less interesting premise than, say, defending the survivors, the storyline is really more of a placeholder in the game. Ultimately, this isn’t a bad thing.

Now, four massive robot bosses and their thousands of minions are all that stands in the way of total vengeance. Each stage on the path with take the player into an arena to square off against a wave of evil drones. Even early on, stages will instantly fill up with dozens of enemies.

Ultratron screenshot E
Mere survival is for poseurs. Upgrade your bot, and avenge with panache.

Die, Robot

Players can opt to use the WASD keys to move with the mouse guiding the path of laser fire, or, use a controller to employ twin-stick mechanics. I preferred the latter as it felt be more familiar, if less precise. Once several boosts in weapon power and upgrades are implemented, however, either system is highly effective.

As enemies are destroyed, they drop “dots.” These only remain on stage for a scant few seconds before vanishing. As these drops are the currency used to purchase upgrades, it is advisable to stay closer to your targets, thus allowing a quick collection of spoils. This tactic is given further value when pet bots are unlocked. The first bot will fire blaster rounds at enemies. A second will unload with a damaging laser blast, while the third pet launches powerful concussive rocket. These attacks will only happen if an enemy crosses within the respective barrier around a pet bot, and given the effectiveness of having this extra oomph, fighting a safer, ranged battle quickly loses its appeal.

Ultratron screenshot B
These creepy little spidroids drop upgrade dots…but only if you can hit them.

Pimp My Droid

In addition to the upgrade tokens dropped by spidroids, the player gets an opportunity to purchase and unlock various upgrades via a store interface that appears after clearing a wave of foes. These include the aforementioned pet bots, smart bombs, EMP defense charges, bonus shield charges, and upgrades to many of these weapons once they are purchased. The cost to upgrade goes up with each purchased level, making owning every tweak next to impossible. Players will have to decide whether assault, defense or support upgrades are most desirable, and/or strike a balance between the three. The upgrade matrix and its numerous combinations are a huge factor in Ultratron’s replayability.

The Boss is Here…Look Busy!

The four bosses in the game are massive, aggressive and constantly littering the screen with a veritable kicked-hive of destructive projectiles. To add even more to the challenge, they also seem to move devoid of any discernible pattern. To put it succinctly, not moving = really quick death. For you.

Ultratron screenshot D
Uh oh, he’s in a mood…not the best time to ask for a promotion.

Chrome, Flames, and Racing Stripes

Once again, Puppy Games has taken a retro-inspired theme and made it into something sharp and sexy enough to grab the attention of today’s discerning gamers. The dizzying amount of luminous particle effects that rapidly zigzag, collide and erupt in every stage make for a jaw-dropping spectacle. Distortion effects jerk the screen about, at times so jarringly that it seems like the room itself is trembling.

The surging electronic soundtrack and effects also start with that kernel of classic arcade bleeps and blips, but then mutates them into a pulsating guttural cacophony. Synthesized vocal threats from errant drones echo and grate, sounding more demonic than mechanical. It all comes a blistering pace that matches the action perfectly.

Ultratron screenshot A
They’re boss bots for a reason.

Even More Revenge!

The stages start and end quickly, and it won’t take long for many players to reach the penultimate boss encounter. This also means that a second campaign isn’t going to demand a week of attention, and the wealth of upgrade options ensure the experience is fresh. Don’t let the ’80s arcade-themed sprites fool you: Ultratron is slick, nuanced, and extremely fast-paced. Pick it up today and get a taste of retro-chic gaming at its finest.

Purchase Ultratron or Download the Demo from Steam

Purchase Ultratron or Download the Demo from the Puppy Games website

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Adam Fimio

AKA Callabrantus [Toronto, Canada] has been an avid gamer since playing his first arcade game when he was two years old. Years later, he still dives into games on a daily basis hoping to recreate the high from that first hit.

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