Cliff Bleszinski is famously quoted as to have said to have a great game you just need "to nail that 30 seconds of gameplay and be able to repeat it". This applies to certain genres more than others, but it certainly can be used to describe twin stick arcade shooters, where without a story, expansive world, or other conduit typically used to draw you to the experience, it all comes down to getting the core gameplay right. Ultratron
Making no false claims as to what it is, Puppy Games's
twin stick shooter drops you into a level and asks you to kill everything that moves. As you destroy enemies they drop credits which you can use to upgrade your bot, replenish your shields, or adopt an array of gadgets to help you stay alive. It's intentionally uncomplicated and that is what makes it so freaking fun!
Gliding around in your little homicidal robot feels like an extension of yourself, and the resistance put up by your endlessly spawning enemies coupled with the ensuing explosion when they bite the dust is absolutely perfect, and never stops being satisfying no matter how many times you repeat it. Enemy patterns are varied just enough to keep the experience fresh, and over the game's 40 levels various levels are sprinkled challenge events and boss fights that become increasingly challenging the further in you get.
Although I've never been known to suffer from epilepsy, I appreciated that the developers didn't go as crazy as they could have with the visuals. There is a lot of graphical flair going on at any one time, but rarely did it become detrimental to the gameplay by obscuring enemies, and is actually used as a clever way to increase difficulty as later levels are darker lit and require a keener eye to pick out enemies (but never to the point of being unfair).
For pure arcade shooting I've rarely had the pleasure of playing one as fun and well crafted as Ultratron
. While it may lack content up front, it makes up for it by being replayable just for the sake of revisiting the game (with the added benefit of local co-op, which is a literal blast). As a fan of the genre I found it an absolute joy to play, and am sure to be comparing similar games to it from now on. If you are in the mood for an easy to pick up but hard to put down bit of robot blasting carnage, I think it would be hard to do much better.
Posted: December 29th, 2013