Ultros: Stylish Metroidvania Preview

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As the tumultuous year of 2023 draws to a close, one might assume that a respite from the world of video games is in order. Yet, despite the weariness, there's an undeniable excitement for what lies ahead in 2024. Amidst big names like Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, an indie gem has captured my attention – Ultros. This ultrastylish Metroidvania made a lasting impression on me during May's PlayStation Showcase, primarily owing to its visually striking design, unlike anything I've witnessed in gaming.
Ultros Metroidvania game with unique visuals and gameplay features.
Image credit: YouTube

While the aesthetic allure of Ultros was evident, my curiosity lingered on its gameplay mechanics. A 90-minute demo offered me a comprehensive look into its intricacies – from its deceptively deep combat and unconventional farming component to the unexpected roguelike structure. The gameplay snippet was intricate, leaving me with a sense of fascination and anticipation for the final product.

At first glance, Ultros presents itself as a conventional 2D Metroidvania, where players navigate maze-like maps, collecting power-ups. The visual feast, characterized by a psychedelic blend of colors reminiscent of a Grateful Dead poster, initially overshadowed the gameplay. Navigating through gooey alien locales with vibrant flora proved both challenging and captivating.

However, as my gaming session unfolded, it became apparent that Ultros is more than a visually appealing Metroidvania. Its unique features include a roguelike structure, resetting players at certain story points while retaining map progress. This concept introduced complexity, requiring backtracking through previously explored areas to regain upgrades after each cycle. While the massive skill tree adds depth to combat and traversal, the temporary nature of these unlocks on a new cycle raises concerns about potential monotony.

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Despite the uncertainty, the demo showcased creative implementations of the system. Ultros surprises with a farming component where players plant seeds during a run, resulting in time-altering effects. This inventive approach to gameplay dynamics adds an intriguing layer to the overall experience.

The core Metroidvania gameplay in Ultros displays promising elements. The hack-and-slash combat, enriched by skill tree unlocks, introduces depth with graded encounters and an emphasis on "juggling" enemies. The stylish self-expression akin to 3D action games seamlessly translates into the 2D realm, as demonstrated in challenging boss encounters.

Traditional platforming, a staple of the genre, is elevated by Ultros' vibrant visual style. Basic platforming segments become alien and engaging, thanks to the game's splashy design. Even conventional elements like climbing a massive sword stabbing into the ground feel distinct in the context of Ultros.

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After a 90-minute preview, Ultros remains a mystery, and that's precisely what captivates me. The indie title's enigmatic nature, showcased through unconventional gameplay and striking visuals, contrasts with a predictable gaming landscape. As the release date of February 13, 2024, approaches, the anticipation grows. Ultros promises a layered experience, and while not every aspect may be a triumph, the prospect of unraveling its eccentricities is an exciting journey in itself.

In a gaming landscape often characterized by predictability, Ultros stands as a beacon of intrigue, ready to make its mark on PC, PlayStation 4, and PS5 on February 13, 2024.


Q: When is the release date for Ultros?

A: Ultros is set to launch on February 13, 2024, for PC, PlayStation 4, and PS5.

Q: What genre does Ultros belong to?

A: Ultros is a Metroidvania game, blending action, exploration, and unique gameplay mechanics.

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Q: Is there a demo available for Ultros?

A: The article mentions a 90-minute demo experience, but it's advisable to check official sources for the current availability.

Q: What are some distinctive features of Ultros?

A: Ultros boasts a visually striking design, a roguelike structure, a massive skill tree, and unique gameplay elements like a farming component.

Q: How does the roguelike structure work in Ultros?

A: At certain story points, players start from the beginning of the game with map progress intact, while upgrades and skills earned are reset.

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