Ultratron by Puppy Games is a retro-futuristic inspired robot blasting twin-stick shooter with collecting money and power ups to bolster your humanoid battle droid then take him into the arena and shoot your way to higher scores. It takes after such games as Robotron 2084 and is a really fun game which is easy to get into.
It uses the standard twin-stick set-up with right thumbstick for shoot and left thumbstick for moving the robot around, if you have any smart bombs blow them up with the right trigger and right bumper is a speed boost if you’ve bought the ability. When you complete a level your multiplier increases to a maximum of 5 which is lost if you get hit, the multiplier boosts your score and the cash you can pick up, different enemies drop different amounts. There are also various power ups to collect which you get from shooting a spider droid which occasionally darts across the screen.
There is a big focus on upgrading your battle droid with more powerful weapons, accessories and even pets which can fire weapons and act as a shield from enemy bullet. The amount of options available is insane and really depends on your play style how you will choose to upgrade, I liked to improve my main weapon as well as have 1 of each pet (laser, rocket, shoot) then upgrade my grenades, I usually left my shields pretty low as I was quite good generally in avoiding death.
At the end of every few rounds you have a challenge level: shoot all spider droids or avoid all robot droids and you get $1k extra if you manage to get a perfect run, these are nice little extra bits which I enjoyed a lot, the extra money is useful and the challenge is nice, if not overly difficult.
The checkpoint system makes continuing very easy with the ability to quit out at anytime and then re-enter at the beginning of the level you were in, this is also handy for getting achievements if you are struggling as you keep all your upgraded abilities, cash, shields, bombs and the rest of it. Every 10 levels it saves a checkpoint so when you are completely dead you can go back in a further along point and change your destiny too, it’s a very generous system but one people will enjoy if they want to avoid building up their battle droid every time they play it which can be lengthy.
I wasn’t really a fan of the assault levels, every 5th level in a set of 10 (5, 15, 25 etc) is a level with assault bots which I found a bit frustrating and nearly impossible not to get hit although perhaps I just need to git gud? The robots spawn quickly and fire all over the place to get you and in general it worked and knocked multiple shields off me per turn. Upgrading my ‘droid does help I still found I didn’t particularly enjoy those levels anyway but they are infrequent enough that it didn’t bother me too much.
When you shoot a spider droid which drops a power up they will hang around on-screen until they are collected or destroyed by an enemy bomb, what I liked about the power ups (rapid fire, bouncy bullets, twin shots, extra shield/bomb/power etc) was that if you leave a few of them lying around the arena then collect them together they can stack to give you a much more powerful weapon which can clear out the robots with extreme force before they wear off.
Every 10th level has a boss battle, in the beginning they are just 1 boss but after the first 4 (level 40) they start coming in pairs which are much more challenging and enjoyable, this is when you are going to need those power ups and decent upgrades of power on your droid, if you’ve done this you can generally make quite light work of them.
On Xbox One it has a lot more achievements than on other platforms with 32 in total with 1,000 gamerscore compared to just 12 trophies across the Playstation platforms. These are quite challenging without being too hard, a couple of them are a bit time-consuming but its enjoyable to do them and adds something to the game, for the fully upgrade each type of ability – pets, grenades, weapons and shield you can really see the benefits of upgrading them which is nice. One issue is that one of the achievements (Drone Bullet Kills – 20G) is currently bugged and doesn’t unlock however Curve are aware of the situation and have said they will be patching it which is good.
Ultratron is a game that takes the retro games it’s inspired by, adds it own elements to the formula and comes up with a really fun twin-stick shooter. I loved the upgrade system based which has a lot of options, the gameplay is responsive with lots of different enemy types and cool boss battles, it varies the gameplay a bit with the challenges and assault levels which whilst I didn’t enjoy the latter as much didn’t stop me from enjoying the game overall.
Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy twin-stick shooters, retro games like Robotron 1984, or both!
- Price: $9.99/£7.99
- Formats: Xbox One (Played), Playstation 4, Playstation 3, PSVita, Steam, WiiU
- Developer: Puppy Games/Carbon
- Publisher: Curve Digital
- Official website