Many classic genres have been on a revival and probably one of the biggest is Metroidvanias. The newest game to enter this beloved genre is Ultros! Coming from the artist and mind behind the world of Hotline Miami, another very funky and twisted game. With a uniqueness for its known trippy surrealism and mind-bending perspectives, where does that leave Ultros? Well come along with my Ultros Early Impressions and I’ll tell you.
What is Ultros?
So Ultros is more than just the name of the game, it is also the name of the world the game takes place on. You awaken in the world with no idea of how you get there. Stumbling around in a large vibrant landscape. As you stumble around you find the spirit of someone lost and a way to fight.
As you explore the world you start to slowly uncover the meaning of this world or what you think is the meaning—learning about the birth of a demon unknowingly because of your actions. The entire world is an intergalactic womb and gives memories of the final boss from Earthbound. The imagery alone gives a surreal birth of the world vibe in a twisted way. But that’s only the first time you go through it.
Enter The Loop
In Ultros there is this unique aspect called the loop. It is close to what you may know in roguelikes, a genre I don’t have a lot of experience with, in a unique twist. The world or loop, restarts when when you kill one of the shamans. During my Ultros Early Impressions playthrough, I only had access to the first two loops. The game is still in development and this is a very early build.
However, they capitalize on the loop concept and skills with a few different methods. One is that the enemies don’t respawn, not until the next loop that is. So as you explore and progress you won’t worry about trouble, for now. As well as, there is a small gardening part of the game, as you find seeds you can plant occasionally. They provide you with useful food, but they only sprout once. Not bearing more food till the next loop. Speaking of food, eating is actually how you gain nutrition points to unlock new abilities.
Food & Combat
The coolest thing in Ultros is honestly the combat. As you fight your enemies you find pieces of the thing you slayed. Which you can then eat for nutrients. If you just attack it the same way over and over you will make things into a bloody mess. However, if you can kill them in style and flair you get prime parts off them. Giving you way more nutrients when you eat, as well as healing you.
These nutrients are actually how you unlock new skills. You will find resting pods where you can save your game scattered throughout the world. While resting in these pods you get access to the cortex. Acting as a skill tree, it allows you to unlock many new types of abilities to change combat. As you unlock more and more, it allows you to add new attacks, and find a play style just for you. I liked this approach as I sometimes like to be sneaky if I can be. The game allowed me to be, even though you can also play very fast-paced as well.
Overall Ultros had this very pretty aesthetic that sucks you into the world. With a story that’s still being worked on, its surreal nature of birthing evil in a galactic womb, and time travel through black holes is enough to make me intrigued. Just know that when the full game launches I will be all over it.
Ultros will be launching on February 13th, 2024. It will be available on PC, PS4, & PS5. Currently, the game is still in development so things may change when it launches next year.
I want to thank El Huervo and Keplar Ghost for this SUPER early preview so I can give my Ultros early impressions. I cannot wait till we can see more. So tell us down below if this game sounds cool to you. Do you plan to keep an eye on it or are you going to play it at launch, we’d love to see your comments.