Ultros: A Psychedelic Metroidvania Journey into The Sarcophagus

Was In the mesmerizing realm of Ultros, players awaken stranded on The Sarcophagus, a cosmic uterus containing an ancient, demonic being trapped in the loop of a black hole. The unique art style, crafted by Hotline Miami artist El Huervo, captivates with its colourful, fever-dream visuals. The dialogue, brimming with charm, adds an extra layer to the game's distinctiveness.

Ultros instantly stood out when I saw it at the PC gaming Show. Its vibrant, otherworldly visuals and the promise of exploring a cosmic uterus intrigued players. Having experienced nearly two hours of gameplay, it's clear that Ultros is a standout title, especially for Metroidvania enthusiasts.

The protagonist, with insectoid-like features, navigates through the captivating landscape of The Sarcophagus. The world is a mesmerizing blend of fantastical structures, stained glass windows, and talismans. The game balances the familiarity of movement and combat mechanics akin to Hollow Knight, offering a platforming experience with a weightier feel.

Combat in Ultros is not a mindless hack-and-slash affair; it rewards players for executing different moves and maintaining variety. The intricate combat system, combined with a unique item-drop mechanism, where items serve as healing and experience points, adds depth to the gameplay.

Ultros introduces roguelite elements, emphasizing exploration and gluttony. After destroying glass chambers, players return to the starting point with abilities reset, encouraging a strategic balance between survival and becoming more powerful. Mycelium locks discovered during exploration allow players to retain specific skills between loops, enhancing the sense of progressi

Interestingly, Ultros incorporates gardening into its gameplay. Players can plant seeds found in the environment, with their growth altering the landscape. The environment evolves, creating new pathways and transforming the game world. However, concerns linger about the clarity of seed effects and their intended outcomes, and we hope for more precise guidance in the final release.

The game introduces story-critical elements, such as the Extractor—a floating mechanical balloon tethered to the protagonist. The Extractor grants various abilities, but the demo suggests the need to rediscover it with each loop. Questions arise about how the game handles resetting powers and whether it may impact exploration repetitiveness. Not sure how many of the mind locks you get to remember your abilities. 

Set for release on February 13, 2024, Ultros by Hadoque promises a psychedelic, roguelite Metroidvania experience on Windows through Steam and Epic Games Store, priced at £20/€25/$25. With its unique blend of art, gameplay mechanics, and an intriguing world within The Sarcophagus, Ultros is shaping to be a promising and memorable addition to the Metroidvania genre. Prepare for a freaky pulp adventure that defies the ordinary on its release date.