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: Mixed (115 reviews)
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

PC
Mac
Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 65 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 65 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 65 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
22 of 23 people (96%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
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.
Posted: June 27
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16 of 19 people (84%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
This reminds me of the early 90's. And this also reminded me that i suck at videogames.
Posted: July 5
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Definitely a Nintendo Hard game (at least on it's hardest setting)! Awesome little platformer that's done in the retro spirit of Amiga games. Reminded me of Lionheart.
Get this, if you like games like Volgarr the Viking, Spelunky, Rogue Legacy and such.
Posted: May 24
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10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
When I think of retro games, Ultionus stands out from the legions of super-hard "throwback" games like Super Meat Boy and Hotline Miami in the respect that it's (get this) actually fun to play.
...It's mindblowing! A challenging trial and error style action game that's FUN. Featuring a charming, brightly colored world with straightforward level designs, (ripped off from its fore-runner, Phantis, in places, but brightly colored and charming all the same) and bringing to the table a hilarious plot with extra funny perks for anyone who's ever wanted to reach through a computer and punch someone irritating. Gameplay takes some getting used to, but in Ultionus' case this is actually *beneficial* to the overall atmosphere; it *feels* like a game from the early 90's in the sense that getting to understand how to take advantage of the way the character moves and shoots, and exploiting the enemy AI's clumsiness, is actually part of the process of improving.
And I won't spoil the ending entirely, but will go on record as stating, it involved the heroine's foot and someone's balls.
Posted: June 26
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
Ultionus is absolutely a love letter to action platformers of the '80s and '90s, down to the main character Serena's horribly sexist character design [though I forgive them since she finds the lampshade that is her "Dignity" late in the game]. It's Nintendo Hard even on Easy difficulty, with some of the levels nearly unplayable until after you purchase the rapid-fire weapon attachment. Beautifully animated, definitely worth a playthrough.
Posted: June 5
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42 of 55 people (76%) found this review helpful
2.9 hrs on record
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.
Posted: February 28
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