You really can’t do ULTRAKILL justice with a screenshot.
ULTRAKILL, another shooter from within the New Blood Interactive stable of retro FPS games, has been on my watch list for a while. It first launched in early access last year, but thanks to a bunch of different reasons (family, new consoles, time off, pure exhaustion with 2020) I didn’t get around to it.
But Steam kept recommending ULTRAKILL to me, so this week I finally fired it up. And, uh, holy shit is it good.
The basic vibe is something like a Serious Sam aesthetic, blended with Quake‘s movement sensibilities and Devil May Cry combo tracking. The game gives you an incredibly generous walljump (up to three times), dash and slide off the bat, as well as a pretty decent pistol to start proceedings. You’ll get access to a shotgun that functions as a massive rocket launcher within the first ten minutes, an absurdly overpowered nailgun, a railgun, and variants for each.
ULTRAKILL‘s most challenging element is nailing the movement. Under the weird world of ULTRAKILL, your saving grace is human blood. So in order to heal, you have to douse yourself in blood — by punching enemies in the face.
But it’s more than that. In a very sensible nod to games of this ilk, you can very quickly accelerate across the map with a quick combination of buttons. Sliding and then jumping lurches you forward, which you can then use to easily access an enemy’s face for quick health. Or a wall that you can then immediately bounce off. Or just fly around the map because it gives you space for a giant explosion, and also because it’s just fucking cool.
This is from the prologue arc, which makes for a cracking opener. It’s a lot of tight, narrow corridors, with lots of dark oranges and reds. There’s plenty of secrets if you look hard enough, including a level where you have to beat a boss that just hides in the darkness and immediately kills you with a single hit. The first secret level is basically an homage to Slender Man, which is just wild.
If that wasn’t enough, the second secret level? It’s a bunch of Witness-style puzzles, and there’s almost 30 of the damn things. And this is in ULTRAKILL‘s prologue.
ULTRAKILL is technically still in early access, but you’d be remiss if you didn’t pick it up and give it a go now. It’s only $28.95 and anyone who has enjoyed any retro shooter, especially games like AMID EVIL, Project Warlock, Devil Daggers, Ion Fury or Dusk, will get a blast out of this. I haven’t finished the game. But the grin on my face has been comically enormous with every second I’ve played. And the more you play, the better you master the dashing and dodging mechanics, which just gives you more impetus to go back to earlier levels to see how efficiently you can flick through it all.
Go get ULTRAKILL if you can. It’s so, so good.