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 (124 reviews)
Release Date: Feb 25, 2014

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Buy Ultionus: A Tale of Petty Revenge



“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

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 65 MB available space
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 65 MB available space
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 65 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
Awesome art quality, the gameplay is retro but got enough to be fun, controls are a bit limited yet difficulty is alright, the game is actually easy once you play a bit. There is only one attack that I haven't figured how to dodge 100% of the time, on the second boss, everything else can be worked out, some challenges the game throws at you even have multiple ways to overcome.

It is cheap on top. I'd like to say it's a must buy/play, but your opinion may vary since it is retro like I said, if you enjoy retro games get it, if you hate them you may still want to give it a try to check the art -which is very good looking pixel art covering the whole screen, from the hud to the character sprites and backgrounds. On easy mode you got infinite continues and checkpoints so you can experience the game fully.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 22
just finished on normal mode. apparently i got the "good ending". yay me!

this game is what i'd call a prestine example of good gameplay and interesting game mechanics. from start to finish, it wasn't just a nostalgic blast from the past, everything about it was exciting and fun.

this is another one of those games that gets heat from audiences because of silly excuses like: "non-responsive controls" - a common and poor expectation that all games should give every player free reign; and sadly one that's been ruining games in today's industry.

one of my pet-peeves is useless game mechanics, and this game doesn't have any as far as i could find. in fact, crouching seems to be a practically useless feature - up until the frogs, where it actually does help avoid taking damage.

furthermore, the level designs are fantastic! it's not just the attractive art that motivates you to explore, but also the locations of valuable items (or worse: hazards) test your instincts and send you off on a real adventure.

kudos to the dev. please make more. :D
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 1
If you are looking for a blast from the past, this game has got you covered.

  • colourful pixelart graphics and a catchy soundtrack
  • some levels are non-linear, and they also have have nice visual and gameplay variety
  • captures the atmosphere of the era nearly perfectly

  • some annoying/frustrating elements (constantly spawning enemies, enemies behind foreground objects)
  • controls can feel unresponsive sometimes (especially in SHMUP levels) and your character can't aim straight up
  • I beat it in 70 minutes – I didn't particularly mind, but some people can find this too short
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
This game is hard, hard but fun and addicting. It reminds me of the classic NES games, hard they were.
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
5.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 15
This game is abit strange, but I love the gameplay, and the retro graphics. Works great with an Xbox 360 controller.

Few levels, many fun bosses to kill. There's a few upgrades too.

I'd reccomend this to anyone who loves a good retro graphics platformer.
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9 of 21 people (43%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
The final boss fight is one of the most frustraiting garbage fights in a video game I have ever played. Undodgeable attacks in a game that is telling you to dodge everything but instead suddenly switches it up in the other direction at the last second.

This game is the worst kind of diffcult and I care not to play it any longer past one playthrough, it's one of those games I'd rather look up the endings because it's not worth the effort. That mixed with my hands feeling so awful for having to rapidly tap a button (something that should have died with the 90s) it makes this game dreadful to play even physically!

This is a huge same and let down considering the artwork and animation is so fantastic. If they changed the bosses up, made the game a bit more interesting to find secrets and did away with having to rapidly tap buttons this would be a fantastic game.
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2 of 7 people (29%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
Wow, this game is not easy & it's not because of the game's difficulty. The difficulty dirrectly correlates to the terrible controls.

On the second stage for instance, you will have multiple fast moving enemies bearing down on you. Most of these enemies take 2 hits to kill. Your slow firing pistol does not allow you to move while firing, so jumping over the onslaught or taking the hit seems like the best option most times.

I realize I just started playing this & I may be taking the whole game out of context, but this is my 1st impression. I will edit this review after some more time in game. I would not recommend this after my 1st impression though.
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27 of 30 people (90%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
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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25 of 32 people (78%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 2
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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16 of 25 people (64%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 5
This reminds me of the early 90's. And this also reminded me that i suck at videogames.
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12 of 18 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 1
It's an okay game, but ultimately I don't recommend it since there are many better games.

The bad is that:
- enemies spawn infinitely from the sides of the screen (I know this is a feature of older games and that's why it's here, but it is a bad feature)
- the controls are stiff

The good is that this game has:
- big bosses, where you have to learn a pattern to beat them like in other classic action games
- vibrant, colorful levels
- secrets that give you new items
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 5
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.
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
13.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 11
This is a good game! The first thing you may have noticed is the visuals, which look great in videos but are flat-out gorgeous running natively and fullscreened. It's super lush, and really evokes a 32-bit style, which is my personal favorite. And just like in a classic game, the enemy sprites are way better than the player sprite. Honestly the whole game feels really nostalgic; the controls are stiff like Castlevania or Ghosts 'n Goblins but way more responsive, letting you control your jump in midair and all that. It's a good blend of old and new. It also manages to fix a lot of old-school gripes: you don't get pushed back when hit, pits aren't bottomless, and the continue system is infinite, with the extra lives mostly there to give you more chances to figure out a boss (or on hardcore, to retry a checkpoint with full health). Enemies wander around aimlessly respawning; everything wants to kill you. The music may be the best part though, done by the great Jake "virt" Kaufman it's in a super nostalgic style that you just don't hear anymore in modern games. The soundtrack is free on his website by the way so go check it out.

I can't really endorse the level or boss design, however. The game mostly comes down to navigating the mazes looking for any secrets you can find on your way to the boss, which you'll soon find out are only the shop key, the shop itself, and your buddy Balzac. It's pretty much the same thing over and over, with only a few new ideas and some autoscrollers mixed in. The bosses are also pretty weak; they look great but they come down completely to memorization. While it is satisfying when you can clear it without taking a hit, bosses that have a movepool that they draw from randomly with a bit more of a telegraph have always been cooler to me. The worst the game has to offer though is the upgrade system: for one, none of the upgrades are very tangible, usually they're just a basic shot or health up. But how you buy them is really bad: you spend your points that you've earned from killing enemies. That's not inherently bad but with no time system in place score is essentially infinite, which means very often you'll have to grind against infinitely respawning enemies until you have enough to buy it with. Why it wasn't a simple "pick one" is beyond me...I guess the balancing of score with spending it on items and clear time could make for interesting speed runs, but that's really the only reasoning I could see for it.

The game doesn't really start until you've beaten it, though. That's when you start working on achievements, which aren't too unlike other games but are still a lot of fun to plan and work through. The game is especially great on hardcore, as it doesn't just arbitrarily increase enemy strength but instead manipulates some of the established game elements like checkpoints and lives. It's really cool. I am convinced that it's impossible to beat the game on hardcore with certain upgrade paths so you may have to play it through a lot to 100%, but it's a pretty rewarding experience in the end.

tl;dr: Play for the nostalgia, stay for the post-game achievement layer. The game itself is nothing special but that's ok.
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11 of 18 people (61%) found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
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.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 11
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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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
Ultionus is a really good throw back to old school side scrollers. They did a great job on the large sprites and stage design as well as the 16bit artwork over all. My only gripe is the controls could be a little tighter.
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7 of 11 people (64%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 20
At first glance you'll see that this is a very pretty game with beautiful hand drawn pixel graphics. Then you notice the heroine has breasts far too big for her. If you can get over the sexualization of her character you will enjoy this mostly platformer game. Its more like a throwback to old DOS games in terms of difficulty.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 13
There is not a better classic early 90's era repoduction game as this. It's not a port, and it's not a weird amalgamation of new and old. It's just straight classic with refined controls and video resolution for this generation. If someone developed a new game for the old Amiga, this is what it would be. Perfection.
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6 of 10 people (60%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 18
A glorious tribute to the DOS era of gaming. This is for anyone who loves great pixel graphics, killer chip-tune soundtracks, platforming, shmups and saving the galaxy! Support those who crafted this wonderful game and buy it now!
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
Seems like a love letter to both Contra and R Type. I love it.
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