THE first thing you notice about Ultros is the neon acid trip art style, but there is so much more just beyond the surface.
It feels familiar, thanks to sharing the artist and musician behind Hotline Miami, Niklas Åkerblad, but the vibe is where the similarities end.
Ultros is a metroidvania, and while that market feels oversaturated at the moment, it offers something very different.
Every time you reach your objective, you start again from the beginning, without a weapon or any of your power-ups.
It’s not a roguelike, as some things will carry over, like the things you plant, and the upgrades you’ve added to your device which you can use once you retrieve it.
The gameplay is hard to explain outside of spoiling it, save to say it’s very different from any metroidvania you’ve played before.
Losing all of your upgrades may seem frustrating, but starting again introduces new challenges that keep gameplay fresh.
The map is also incredibly vast, and while there aren’t any particularly difficult platforming challenges, there are a lot of puzzles to open up further areas.
Plants are the key to opening up more areas, and putting the right one in the right spot is key to reaching more secret areas.
You’ll always be given the right seeds to sow for paths that move you forward through the main story, but getting to the more secretive spots you’ll need a lot of trial and error.
This strikes the perfect balance of making the main path completable for anyone, but offering a deeper challenge for those who want it.
The same ethos can be seen in the combat design, which can be brutally difficult if you want it to be.
In order to get the best materials for upgrades, you need to use a variety of moves and combos to take down each enemy.
Skilled combat is rewarded, but you aren’t particularly punished for bashing your way through.
While most of the main sections won’t challenge you too much, there are some brutally difficult sections and boss fights that are built to push you.
At the same time, there are difficulty sliders in the menu so that no challenge can become too frustrating.
There is a lot to love about Ultros, and how unique it is truly seeps into every aspect of the game.
The new style of combat blends seamlessly with what feels like a new genre of metroidvania offering innovation for players.
It tells you very little and challenges you to try things and explore in order to build your own story.
Ultros should not be put in the metroidvania box and could even change the genre moving forward.
Table of Contents
Read more on the Scottish Sun
If you want to read more recent gaming releases, check out our Foamstars review.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
All the latest PS5 reviews from The Sun
Get the lowdown on more of the latest PS5 releases from our expert reviewers.
For Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch, check out our full game reviews section.