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Ultratron Review

Ultratron, developed by Puppy Games and published by Curve Digital, is the latest twin stick shooter released on Xbox Live. Does Ultratron stand out among the crowd of twin stick shooters? More importantly, is it fun to play? The answer to both these questions is yes!

Developer: Puppy Games
Publisher: Curve Digital
Format: Xbox one
Release Date: May 8th, 2015
Copy provided by publisher
The setup is a simple one: You are the last remaining human, whose mind has been uploaded into a battle droid, and your mission is to kill everything in sight to avenge the human race. There are 40+ levels with a big boss fight every 10. However, the game only truly ends when you die because the actual levels you can reach are unlimited. For example, I personally reached level 105 but I saw some leaderboards entries that boasted players reaching level 150 and beyond

The gameplay is extremely simple: you move with the left stick and fire with the right. If you happen to have a smart bomb, a staple in twin stick shooters, a press of the right trigger will destroy everything on screen. Even though there are 40+ levels, you only ever fight in the same arena. The only thing that changes is the color of the enemies and the color of the background. Enemies will appear from all corners of the map and slowly converge and fire on your droid and it’s your job to blast the baddies to pieces. Occasionally, a spiderbot will fly across the screen and if you destroy it, it will drop a powerup that can be one of a variety of helpful temporary boosts to your weapon.

Destroying foes makes them drop cash, which you can then use in between rounds to upgrade your character. To me, this was the most interesting aspect of the game and completely sets it apart from other games like it. You can spend that money and buy extra shields, more smart bombs, higher damage output for your primary weapon, and pets.

That’s right, you can buy and upgrade three pets that will help you kill things faster and more efficiently. The pets come in three flavors: shooty, laser, and rocket. These pets will follow you around the arena and shoot at anything in their range. I recommend getting the rocket pet right away because it’s just that good. Once you have all three pets maxed and their range extended as far as it can go, the pets will just murder everything in sight making it easier for you to reach those high levels.

The game isn’t very difficult at all or long. In my first play though I reached level 50 in about 40 minutes and I had more trouble seeing enemies and bullets than actually avoiding them. This brings me to my biggest complaint with Ultratron: it is hard to see what is going on. Green enemies that shoot green bullets on a green background makes it hard to see everything and results in some untimely and frankly unwarranted hits.

Luckily, the game features a robust checkpoint system. In addition to getting a checkpoint every ten levels, you can also quit anytime and pick up right where you left off. It’s a really handy feature that lets you hop in at any point and continue on. The look of the game has a very 80’s retro style and the polished soundtrack matches that style to boot. Ultratron has a co-op mode for two people but I was not able to check out the mode due to lack of a co-op partner. If you are into achievements or trophies, the game features 32 of them. Some are more challenging than others, but the list is doable. At the time of this review, there is one achievement that is glitched.

All things considered, Ultratron is a fun game to play and priced appropriately. I really enjoyed the upgrade mechanic the game offers. The one big drawback the game has is a big one. I really wish the color of the enemies, bullets, and backgrounds were different. Honestly, I would rate that game higher if they changed that one thing.

+ solid gameplay
+ upgrade mechanic
+ checkpoint system
+ cool soundtrack

- too much going on
- short length

Score: 7/10 "Good"

What I played: I reached level 105 and achieved 31/32 of the game’s achievements during my 12 hours of playtime.
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