Ultionus is a love-letter to the home computer arcade games of the late 80s and early 90s, with colorful 2D visuals, catchy chiptune music by the legendary Jake 'Virt' Kaufman, and 7 stages of hard-as-nails gameplay.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mixed (208 reviews) - 67% of the 208 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 25, 2014

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Reviews

“The levels and characters are all fun to look at, and the whole world seems lush and alive.”
3.8/5 – Mash Those Buttons

“...the crass humor may not appeal to everyone, the sharp design and challenge that’s found in Ultionus will strike some kind of chord with anyone who initially play it and nostalgia withstanding.”
4/5 – Press Pause Radio

About This Game

Galactic hero Serena S has been trolled on Spacebook. This is obviously a cause to embark on an epic quest to punish the troll in question, who just happens to be The Space Prince. Guide Serena through 7 stages of shmup action, jumping, shooting, and yet decidedly more jumping and shooting to her ultimate goal of total testicular annihilation of her foe. Ultionus is a love-letter to the home computer arcade games of the late 80s and early 90s, particularly Halloween Harry, Astro Marine Corps, Duke Nukem 2 and especially Phantis/Game Over II. The game features tons of lovingly crafted pixel art, and a rockin' chiptune soundtrack by the legendary Jake 'Virt' Kaufman.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 65 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Storage: 65 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Storage: 65 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Mixed (208 reviews)
Recently Posted
Sessh
0.2 hrs
Posted: August 19
This is a game that looks great and sounds great but the controls are really just unbearable. I really tried to like this game but having your character stop and take a second before you shoot just adds too much unnecessary frustration when mixed with endlessly spawning enemies. This mechanic makes you spawn the enemy, take a step back, and then shoot before you can continue. Avoiding these enemies is not really a possibility so you're basically forced to have to do this constantly. If you can overcome this control flaw then this game seems amazing but unfortunately I could not.
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sunpire
2.5 hrs
Posted: July 25
This was awesome... really hope to see another Ultionis maybe work some kinks out with the sticky controles and a little more story and more levels... just more everything

This game was awesome
Hard as a nuns ♥♥♥♥ but awesome
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Salarn
1.9 hrs
Posted: July 18
https://youtu.be/4EBFhi4GeG8

A bit of side scrolling space shooter and a lot of action platforming make up the formula for this colorful 2D platformer. The sprites had a weird shimmer/tearing effect while animating that at times that distracted from the overall visual quality.

Due to enemies spawning nearly as fast as the player can kill them combined with the inability to move and shoot simultaneously the game becomes a weird bunny hopping dodging game instead of a monster shooter it was designed to be.
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Shoe
3.3 hrs
Posted: July 7
Considering how divided the reviews are, it's clear Ultionus isn't for everyone. But is it for you? Here are a few things I wish I'd known going in.

It's not really a "run and gun" arcade shooter.
The trailer makes it look similar to Contra or Metal Gear, but it's actually more of an action platformer. It's styled after 80s home computer games like Underwurlde and Shadow of the Beast. For comparison's sake, I'd say it's quite similar to Ghosts 'n Goblins or the early Castlevania games in terms of "feel", meaning it's awkward and brutally difficult compared to modern platformers.

The Gradius-style shmup stages are a very small portion of the game.
If you're looking for spaceship shooting action, be warned that Ultionus only has two short stages worth.

The control scheme is as retro as the graphics.
It was deliberately designed to play like something straight out of 1986, for better or worse. The jumps are long and floaty, but are easily adjusted in mid-flight. You can't attack while moving, so dodging enemies is often preferable to shooting them. If you're an avid retro gamer, the controls will probably feel very intuitive. If you're not a retro gamer, they'll feel very stiff and clumsy.

Seriously, these controls feel dated even compared to late '80s titles like Contra, and not everyone will enjoy that. If you're under 25, this isn't a throwback to your childhood, it's a throwback to your dad's childhood. You've been warned.

You get to fight snakes that look like Hulk Hogan.
I mean, that by itself is worth the cost of admission.

It's pretty short.
I was able to clear Ultionus (including all achievements) in under 4 hours, so it's definitely snack-sized. That said, there's so much variety (both in terms of graphics and gameplay) packed into those few hours that it feels like a very complete experience. There's no filler.

It doesn't have much T&A.
The intro scene and game over screen are pretty much it. If you're reluctant to try the game based on the raunchy screenshots, rest assured you've already seen the worst of it. If, on the other hand, you were only interested in the game because of the raunchy screenshots...

If you owned a home computer, you'll almost certainly love this.
If you grew up with an Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, or Commodore 64, this whole game is a big sappy love letter to your childhood. I grew up with an Amiga 500, and the nostalgia factor here is huge.

I enthusiastically recommend it, if you sincerely enjoy old games.
A lot of people love the aesthetic of 8-bit games, but forget how unweildly many were to play. Are you the kind of person who still fires up 30 year old games on DOSBox or your NES? You'll have a blast with this. That said, most gamers will find Ultionus to be lovely to look at, but will likely find the gameplay extremely frustrating.

Conclusion:
I consider Ultionus a straight-up 10 out of 10, and might even throw around the word "masterpiece", yet I'd hesitate to recommend it to a friend. The fun factor depends entirely on whether "it plays like a game from thirty years ago" sounds like a good idea to you or not. The quintessential niche game.
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Baldrick
8.7 hrs
Posted: July 2
Phantis was a real fun but now mostly-forgotten 8-bit classic... So instantly recognizing it here was a huge but pleasant surprise. Ultionus not only salvages and remakes all the best parts from it, but also makes for a really enjoyable game on its own. Gameplay, humor, graphics, music... definitely worth a buy. I'd love it if more games from that era got a similar treatment. :)
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i1y/\
5.5 hrs
Posted: June 5
One of the first games I bought on Steam. And, at first, I was put off by the control scheme. But after almost two years I thought "what the hell", returned to the game and completed it on Easy difficuly first, and then on Normal with Good ending.

I must say that this game should be seen primarily as work of art and not as something intended to "play" with. The art has to be consumed, and to do that, you have to learn keystrokes using try-and-repeat method. When it becomes almost automatic, you can concentrate on music, sprites and spectacular backgrounds. Which, in turn, makes completion of the game very satisfying.

I want to thank the author, I will definitely buy his other game, Mystic Belle, and I will look forward for more titles from Lost Dimension. Keep on both doing the great work and having the fun!

BTW, to the guys who complain that character can't move and shoot at the same time: you can shoot during the jumps as much as you want, and, as a bonus, jumping intead of walking allows you to survive longer.
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Whirblewind
1.8 hrs
Posted: June 4
Funny. Challenging. Great art. Length fits the price.
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Mandy LY
4.5 hrs
Posted: May 28
Too short... great game, though.
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Grim Godslayer
2.1 hrs
Posted: May 20
Due to the soundtrack I bought this game and due to the soundtrack I keep playing it. No regrets here.
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jotarokujo56
3.5 hrs
Posted: May 8
Here's a hint for the developer: when aiming for a "retro" feel, bring the good things from the past, not the bad part of old games. Stiff controls, slow movement, frame-rate drops, 1 pixel-perfect jumps with no retry unless you have to go to the title screen and select "Continue", "guess-jumps" and lazy hit-boxes should stay in the past.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
117 of 136 people (86%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 27, 2014
I recommend this game, but with a huge caveat. How much do you really enjoy retro platforming?

Everything about this game is very well done: graphics, the Heavy Metal magazine heroine, and the fantastic soundtrack. There's even a good bit of replay value, which isn't always the case for platformers. The gameplay is... well, "retro".

If you've never experienced actual older games, or you tend to forget how many of them actually sucked, I recommend watching a playthrough of a game called Phantis, which this game is basically a remake or spiritual sequel of. With some exceptions, older platforming games often had slow, sluggish protagonists, with fast, incessantly spawning enemies, with awkward jumping and shooting controls. This game is no exception.

Serena walks slowly. She has to stand still to shoot. There's a small delay both before and after firing the actual projectile. She can only shoot up at a shallow angle (perhaps 30 degrees), but not straight up. You get hurt from touching a robot's toe or a wizard's robe. Additionally, the delay in firing means that if you try shooting just before you land, you won't fire. Even her ship takes a moment to accelerate to full speed when moving up or down. None of these would be a huge problem by themselves, but combined, it can lead to some very frustrating moments.

Everything else about Ultionus is improved over the older games; why not tighten up the gameplay too? There are also plenty of other "retro" games that actually have really great controls.

As I'm sure most can agree, it's more fun to challenge the game, not its controls. But if you love punishing gameplay, repetition until perfection, or just love all platforming games, then it's hard to do wrong by Ultionus. Even better, it's very inexpensive.
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221 of 306 people (72%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 2, 2014
No. Nonono.

If you're going to make a challenging platformer, you better have responsive controls. Your character in this game controls like mud, and you cannot shoot vertically upwards for some asinine reason. You literally can only shoot upwards at a 30 degree angle.

This was tolerable up to a point, even though there's no excuse for it. The breaking point was an elevator level that went on seemingly forever, with a flying enemy with tons of hit points, who you have to shoot at (30 degree awkward shots) and quickly duck out of the way - except the animation time between shooting and ducking takes a long time, and that was when I put the game down.

Bad and slow controls make this a definite pass.
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115 of 153 people (75%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 26, 2015
I love the style and look of the game! It's fun, but the fatal flaw is that every time you shoot, she stops for a split second. You can't actually move and shoot at the same time. Combine this with infinitely spawning enemies, and you're constantly having to stop and shoot, stop and shoot, stop and shoot... it gets a bit monotonous.
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79 of 105 people (75%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 8, 2015
Mixed reception my bottom.

Much better than I expected based on the negative comments and the cheesy / gross / awesome cover art. I'm a bit baffled that this didn't land a better reception, but maybe its target is too niche--too old school, what with the not-being-able-to-move-and-shoot-while-hordes-of-enemies-fart-nightmare-storms-all-over-the-screen gameplay.

Or maybe the combination of bad timing, artwork that is either grossly sexist or a poorly-explained homage, and an unattractive title did it no favors. (If the advertising focused more on the humour's self-awareness, I feel like some of these wouldn't have been interpreted so negatively.)

It looks (fantastic!) and feels like an old PC platformer you'd find before DOOM came out. It's only about an hour long, so if you can get over the difficult control hurdle and like the old platformers, I absolutely recommend Ultionus.

The pixel art and soundtrack are worth admiring, as well. :-)
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49 of 63 people (78%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 19, 2015
Great pixel art, great music, challenging gameplay, and you get to fight flowers.

Why does this game have a "Mixed" rating again?
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50 of 67 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 28, 2014
TL;DR: Retro-styled in looks, sound, and difficulty, this sidescrolling run-and-gun platformer with some shmup stages will slap you around a bit, but will still play fair.

I'll preface this by saying I got this in the Groupees Be Mine 11 bundle. And this is probably the first time I've gotten a game, downloaded it, played it, AND beat it all in the span of maybe a couple of days. So with that said...

Ultionus is the story of a woman, her robot head partner, and a social networking comment that leads to a crash landing and a lot of things to kill. As you can tell by the screenshots, it's a "retraux" game, a modern game made with retro-inspired graphics and gameplay. You actually don't have a gun at the very start, so you need to rely on your bouncing robot head partner to destroy the enemies as you move to the left, and then you get a gun and can start blasting everything to death. This threw me off at first, but that's what experimentation is for, right?

I thought this game was pretty hard on Normal, but it wasn't unfair about it. Our heroine can only take so many hits before she explodes in a shower of cartoon hearts and respawns at the last checkpoint or stage entrance. You get restored to full health when you pass a checkpoint the first time or find a red heart 1UP. Controls are fairly tight, though Serena is a little slow on the ground and especially while firing since she stops altogether. You'll be spending most of your time in the air, and thankfully this game doesn't fall into "Castlevania 1 jumping" where you can't change directions mid-air. Hitboxes seemed pretty accurate and there aren't really any fancy controls. For the 360 controller, A could be tapped or held to change the height you jump, X and B fire your ray gun, Y doesn't seem to do anything, and the d-pad and stick both can be used for movement. No movement faster than a leisurely walk, no sliding, no wall-jumping...simple stuff.

There are upgrades, but you not only have to find a special coin in each level, but also get to the merchant's door. I'd also add "and have enough money to buy the upgrades" but you get money by killing everything you see, and you'll be doing that anyway. You have to choose between offense and defense, and you can only pick one per stage. If you find the coin and door that is. There are multiple routes through each normal platforming stage, and the auto-scrolling vehicle ones obviously only have one route. Get to the end of the level and you fight a giant enemy thing. Die and you start the fight all over again. Learn the boss patterns or you'll eat through your stock of lives (on Normal and Hardcore; Easy gives you infinite).

I would honestly suggest trying this on Easy first. It takes the pressure off of playing well and it'll allow you to go through stages by different routes and learn boss routines, even though running out of lives merely gives you a prompt to start the level over with 9 lives and all of your money, or exit the game. I started on Normal, and I honestly game overed twice, though I didn't get the best ending (the bad ending spells out what you need to do to avert it though). The dev has said on the Steam forum that playing on harder difficulties will unlock achievements for that and the difficulty level(s) below it. So if you get the best ending on Normal, you get the Easy achievement too, for example. There aren't many achievements but they're actually something to work towards. Without trying, I got two for winning on Normal with the bad ending and watching the credits all the way through.

Graphics are really colorful and the animations are quite nice. You can pretty easily tell what would hurt you and what won't, and there's quite a bit of detail work done here. You don't really notice the big border after a while. I didn't really feel like I'd do better if I didn't see it at all. The music's pretty catchy and I kinda wish there was a sound test option (or maybe there is one and I just haven't unlocked it yet). I don't really have much to say about the sound effects. They're there.

I won't do my usual "I liked/disliked this" sections since there's not much to say. I had fun. My heart raced, I cursed, and I'm not only glad this is on Steam, but I'm glad I gave this game a chance. It's short, but there's a little bit of replay value, and I can see myself giving this game a few more hours. I've forgotten what it's like to actually have to learn patterns and get penalized by starting boss fights over when I don't.
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111 of 170 people (65%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 7, 2014
There's a lot to like about Ultonions: the bright retro graphics, the chip'ish music and even the sexuliased 80s heroine. But... The gameplay is not quite bad but the design aimed for retro and ended up with unresponsive instead.

You can aim in only 4 directions, left, diagonal left/up. right and diagonal right/up. It would have been better as an 8-way scheme. Or even just up - I want to shoot up.

You can shoot or walk, not both. And you walk slowly. This may be a side effect but quickly swinging round to shoot and swinging back again seem to stick. This is incredibly annoying when dealing with fast moving flying enemies.

The crouch animation is unusually long, you must wait for it to finish before firing or walking again. Popping down to shoot and popping back up to jump and dodge stuff is not going to happen.

About a fifth of your view is obscured on the left and right by the decorative interface. This makes the dino-riding stage particularly vexing as you can't see what's coming.

I cramped my thumb trying shoot fast - I haven't managed that since I had a Commodore 64. Not sure if this is a good or bad point.

I'm not recommending this but is a weak non-recommendation. Learning from your mistakes is big part of the game and that's good reto but not having the space to see or control responsiveness to react is bad retro. Games like Thundercats, Mask and Turrican all got this right 30 years ago - Ultonious really should have too.
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68 of 100 people (68%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 25, 2014
Ultionus is graphically beautiful, fun, challenging, and has more character and personality than many recent AAA titles that I've played. The achievements are pretty difficult and will take you several play-throughs to acquire. The game has replay value through multiple endings, multiple power up choices, and multiple difficulty levels.

All stages keep the gameplay fresh, and after a slight learning curve, you'll find yourself blasting enemies like a pro. In all, this is a fantastic homage to the 16bit classics, and you'll be itching for a sequel when you're done!
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30 of 36 people (83%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 21, 2015
One of the best "retro-done-right" games I've had the joy to play. You can tell the dev really has a passion for this creation. The artwork, music and attention to detail are off the scale. I can see this game going over some 'modern gamers' heads, missing the point altogether.

Definitely Worth it. Part 2 when?
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36 of 48 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 11, 2014
Ultionus is a throwback platformer/shooter. A throwback to where? To this Amstrad game called Phantis. After a few play-throughs of this game I checked out some Phantis vids. The protag is wearing a space bikini, there's an alien planet, a couple 2D shooter stages, and dinosaur rides. Wow it's like I'm playing a next-gen sequel!...Well if next-gen was DOS.

That's mostly what this game reminds me of. Those good old days of shareware, dozens of action-platformers, and command prompts. For the most part this game is pretty decent. It's rough at first, since the heroine has a pitiful gun and a measly three hit-points. Checkpoints are fairly frequent but the bosses are pretty brutal(pattern memorization is a must). Most of the time the trick to getting around is to simply jump a lot and fire downwards. It's a higher rate of fire, and should keep the screen fairly clear. The game can get overwhelming though, since regular enemies adhere to the Ninja Gaiden school of design. They respawn constantly and whenever you move so much as an inch off-screen. It's frustrating but hey, that's how it goes sometimes.

Ultionus strikes an odd balance between old-school hardcore and what we take for granted today. There are unlimited continues, saves, and extra-lives are fairly frequent. Everything else though is a lesson in pain. The hit-box is large, so Serena takes damage whether it's a projectile to the gut or an alien that just grazes the soles of her boots. Enemies also love to hang out on cliffs or appear just when you're trying to make a jump. There are ways to make the game easier on yourself, but they're not terribly obvious. In fact in your first play-through you just might miss them entirely. Four of the seven stages offer hidden armor or weapon upgrades. Once you grab the rapid-fire you're pretty well set, though armor upgrades mean more damage can be taken(plus it's fashionable!). If you manage to beat this game without any upgrades, subsequent play-throughs are gonna be easy peasy fo' scheezy.

Less forgiving is that the Serena's ship is subject to inertia. Maybe that was a thing in older PC shmups but uhhhhh ehhhh ummm NO. Yeah sorry but when I stop moving my ship I want my ship to stop moving...INSTANTLY. The true final boss throws some bullets around and it makes those tight squeezes a bit too finicky. I'll throw this under nitpicking because I tend to get a little ornery about 2D shooters.

Oh and this game is short. Average play-through is about 30 minutes, 35 if you go for the good ending. That's in-line with Ultionus' inspiration, but it might not be enough for gamers today. I guess another one or two stages would have been nice. Perhaps these stages wouldn't be themed like the rest of the game. By that I mean Serena jumps and shoots through all too common environs. There's the Ice stage, fire stage, jungle stage, elevator stage, and you get the idea. On the other hand that extra stage could very well have turned out to be an underwater one, and that's just no bueno.

Ultionus does exactly what it was programmed to be; a pleasantly difficult retro-shooter-platformer. Yeah it's got issues but I dunno, I kinda like that it does. It makes for a more "authentic" experience. I've already got a billion games where the hit-boxes are perfect, the ships control flawlessly, and enemies stay dead for more than two seconds anyway. I can live on the wild side every now and then.

Once again, if you're the kinda person that buys a lot of indie bundles, you might already own this game. Give it a run-through.

Music is awesome btw.
(That's no surprise)
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