Developer(s) – Puppy Games
Publisher(s) – Curve Digital
Released on the back of the success of three other arcade-style games, Revenge of the Titans, Droid Assault and Titan Attacks, Ultratron was released earlier this year to much positive critical acclaim, and being ported to a variety of different systems along the way. As far as I’m concerned, it is the best arcade-style game to have been released this year, exceeding the quality of Titan Attacks, and for that matter, every other game I’ve played published by Curve Digital.
Graphics – 8/10
Although the visual style of the game is largely reminiscent of the other three titles Puppy Games have developed, it also has its own specific charm to it in it’s enemy and boss designs as well as various different stage designs as well. There are also more subtle references and allusions to other games they have worked on within this title, such as the colour palettes of each level, as well as other classic 8-BIT games in addition to what games influenced the gameplay, such as Pac-Man and Berzerk.
Gameplay – 9/10
As well as Ultratron being much more addictive than Titan Attacks, it’s also a lot more legitimately challenging without it being to the point of inaccessibility. The bonus levels and the levels whereby enemies are shooting at the player constantly can seem all the more satisfying if they are either accomplished to 100%, or accomplished without the player taking a single hit. Like Titan Attacks and the other titles Puppy Games have developed, the upgrade system is also once again present to give players all the more to play for with each level and to either modify or refine what tactics they use, and how best to approach their own unique style of play.
Controls – 10/10
Though this kind of game had been developed many times before in the past, and as a result, there would have been no errors expected to have been present with the game’s control scheme, I like the different system of using the right analogue stick to shoot rather than a main button on the pad, just like Insomniac Games did with another very similar video game within Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in time called My Blaster Runs Hot. It just makes things far simpler, but without taking any unnecessary risks, and potentially ruining the control scheme altogether.
Originality – 6/10
Ultratron, as well as the other three titles Puppy Games have developed, can only largely be considered a modification of an existing invention, and therefore, it suffers somewhat in terms of uniqueness. Though it comes as much less obvious in it’s visuals than Titan Attacks, I would like to see Puppy Games come up with their very own cohesive concept for a new arcade-style games as opposed to simply attempting to refine something that has been done many times over the last thirty years. Although it has been refreshing to experience them again, they need something more unique to set them apart a bit better in my opinion.
In summation, despite it’s moderate lack of originality, Ultratron is certainly one of the better indie gaming experiences released this year, as well as the best game of its ilk to come out in 2015. It’s addictive and fun as well as being able to provide a fair challenging, and any fan of old-school gaming should certainly give it a try.