Developed by Arsi “Hakita” Patala and published by New Blood Interactive, known for publishing other 90s inspired shooters like Dusk and Amid Evil, ULTRAKILL fuses the SSStylish point systems of games like Devil May Cry with the fast-paced action and retro aesthetic of legendary first-person shooters like Quake and Unreal.
As with all good 90’s inspired shooters, ULTRAKILL doesn’t waste anytime with excessive exposition or cut-scenes. Mankind is dead, and all that remains are machines fueled by blood. You are V1, one of these machines, and you’ve traveled all the way to Hell to get your fill.
I could tell you that ULTRAKILL is fast, or INSANELY fast; but I’d be lying. It makes you feel like greased lightning, or like a starved panther chasing a gazelle. Appropriate, since you’re a blood-soaked robot that’s killing demons because it’s hungry. You’ve got a variety of movement abilities like a slide, dash, and wall-jump. You also have a ground pound, useful for quickly returning to the floor and sending smaller enemies flying into the air. You can even parry enemy attacks and projectiles with a well timed punch. Health kits? Regenerating health? Who needs that; you get health back by bathing in the polygonal blood of your enemies.
The ULTRAKILL demo has three weapons–a pistol, a shotgun, and a nailgun, and they all feel chunky and powerful. These might all sound like standard shooter fare, but ULTRAKILL mixes it up. In addition to a weapon’s primary fire mode, each weapon has several variations (two for the pistol and shotgun, one for the nailgun in the demo) that can be switched between at will, and offer unique alternate fire modes. The Piercer pistol lets you fire a powerful shot that goes through enemies, while the Marksmen lets you throw a coin that you can then shoot, causing the bullet to automatically hit the nearest enemy’s weak point. The Core Eject shotgun can shoot a powerful explosive, while Pump Action lets you pump the shotgun up to four times to increase the damage output while decreasing accuracy; and the Attractor nailgun lets you shoot a magnet onto enemies or the environment, which will attract all nails towards it.
What brings all of ULTRAKILL‘s mechanics together is the combo meter. As you kill enemies, you’ll gain points and fill the meter, starting at Destructive, progressing through Chaotic, Brutal, Anarchic, Supreme, SSadistic, SSShitstorm, and finally ULTRAKILL. Basic kills will net you small amounts of points, with frequent usage of the same weapon and the same kills causing their value to drop, but flashy moves, constantly using different weapons, and clever usage of your variations will fill it much more quickly. You could just use the shotgun, but you could also use its explosive alt fire to launch an enemy, then use the Marksmen pistol to bounce a bullet off a coin to kill that enemy in mid-air. Or you could ground pound a group of enemies and use the the Piercer pistol to blow apart the whole group.
At the end of each level, you’re graded, based on completion time, kills, number of restarts, and style. The higher your grade, the more points you earn, which can then be spent at a kiosk on new weapon variations. Even for a demo there’s a ton of replayability, because each level has a number of secrets to find, a challenge to complete, and each Chapter has a secret encounter which you’ll first need to unlock before you can access it.
If the demo is anything to go off of, ULTRAKILL is shaping up to be one of my favorite shooters ever. The insane speed, silky smooth movement, and the combo system create an adrenaline-filled, hand cramping, blood pumping experience that sucks you in and doesn’t let you back out.
Download the demo at DevilMayQuake.com.
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