The Good, The Bad, and The Free 09: Ultratron


Ultratron is a top-down shoot ’em up where you play in the future as a droid avenging humans after they have gone extinct. You go room-to-room shooting anything that moves, and that is about the whole game in a nutshell. So, let’s just jump right into it.

The Good

In terms of gameplay, there isn’t really a lot to say. The whole game is about you in a small room shooting anything that moves. The game occasionally changes things up with a boss fight or a bonus round, but the entire game is pretty much just you in a room shooting everything. For what it is worth though, the gameplay entertained me. The small room and its fast paced nature made the gameplay intense enough for me to care, and there is just enough extra things around the gameplay like bonus missions and upgrades for me to keep playing. One thing I did like with this game is how the game feeds into an endless mode. An endless mode feels right for this game, and I think they do some neat stuff with it like multiple bosses during a boss wave. Overall, I would say that my experience with the gameplay was good enough for me to get through it without any pain.


The Bad

While the gameplay proved to be serviceable, I found some flaws around the edges. For starters, the shooting isn’t great. The aiming is stiff, and I often had to move around to align with enemies to hit them. While I am grateful for gameplay variety, I found the different levels to be okay at best. Boss fights are easy but alright, bonus stages like dodging enemies or shooting spiders are annoying, and assault stages which involve throwing as many shooting enemies as possible at you are frustrating. All of these levels combined are still not as much as normal levels, but they happen just enough to get frustrated at it.

As the later stages started to roll around, the screen became more cluttered.

As the later stages started to roll around, the screen became more cluttered.

As the game gets into the later stages, things start to get hectic. You get upgrades that have visuals on the screen, and there are enough bullets flying and enemies exploding to make Arnold Schwarzenegger blush. Unfortunately, the result of that is the screen getting cluttered with particle effects and crammed with other visuals to the point where it is hard to tell what is going on. By the time I reached the end, I had no clue what was going on and was just circling around and shooting, hoping I myself wouldn’t get shot. What doesn’t help are how the levels are divvied up. There are forty levels, and you get to continue where you last left off after every ten levels. When I did hit the last set of levels, I struggled because of how hectic the screen got, then got sent back pretty far because of how the levels are structured. It got a bit annoying at the end, but I still managed to get through it.

One last thing I will say here is how short the game is. The levels that lead up to endless could be completed in one sitting. I know this game is more about the endless mode and getting a highscore than it is about trying to complete levels, but I still think the length of this game is really short.


The Free

I honestly didn’t really have anything stand out to me, so I decided to focus on an aspect of the game that puzzles me more than anything. The game offers an upgrading system that allows you to spend money you get from killing robots on things like damage, smaller robots to follow you around and help you, buying health, and more. The upgrades themselves are about what you expect, but the reason it makes this part is because upgrades don’t save if you die. Once you reach the end of a set of ten levels, whatever you have in terms of upgrades and money is what you start with for the next set of ten levels, and so on. Even when I hit the endless mode, my upgrades didn’t save when I died. This means if I want to have the most amount of upgrades when I begin the endless mode, I will have to go back to each set of levels and maximize the amount of money I get instead of just grinding money in endless and unlocking all of the upgrades. I can see why the upgrades are the way they are, but I still think it is kind of dumb for them to be like that.


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In Conclusion

In conclusion, I think Ultratron is an okay arcade shooter in a sea of much better ones. When I was playing this game, I thought about other games like Geometry Wars and how I would rather be playing that game instead of this one. I don’t think Ultratron is a bad game, but I don’t think it is a good one either. It’s too short to be offensive, but too plain to be any good. At the end of the day, I am going to put this game at only being worth playing for free, with it barely dodging not being worth playing. I think this game can be enjoyable for those looking for a highscore experience, and this game didn’t waste enough of my time for me to be really upset at it.