Ultracore Game Review
Nicholas Chin

Developer: Strictly Limited Games

Publisher: Strictly Limited Games

Platforms: Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Playstation Vita

Genre: Metroidvania, Action

Price: $56.42 for collector’s edition, $33.85 for limited time standard edition

During our lifetime, we have some sort of an initiative or directive that we must follow and carry out — whether it is following instructions when cooking a healthy meal, to protecting your garden from wild animals that eat your crops, or just working hard at your job to support yourself and/or your family. On a Summer morning, I began my mission to save mankind. Playing on the Playstation 4, I endured and fought some malevolent robots in a 2D video game known as Ultracore.

When I was referring to an initiative or directive, I meant that you are following orders from both another person as well as yourself. Both of the intentions are the same, and at all costs, you are willing to do anything to fulfill your purpose. As a human warrior during a futuristic time when mankind had already conquered space, my incentive was to stop a rogue captain who intended to take over the universe with the help of destructive robots. Many of my fellow comrades were dead, and my commander had instructed me to stop the evil Captain Vance. Using my Playstation 4 controller to operate my character, it was somewhat simple to use my amazing human abilities to fight and survive.

The game “Ultracore” has been in the making since the mid 1990’s. Originally worked on under the name “Hardcore” by the Swedish video game developer DICE, it was roughly 99% done and was being promoted until a new generation of consoles put Hardcore to a halt. However, after a long hiatus, it was released after 25 years, and an important part of video game archives was brought back, now known as Ultracore. Although unlike today’s video games, the gameplay was still very entertaining. Furthermore, it was fascinating to play a game made a generation before myself and altogether, the game was captivating.

When I first launched Ultracore, the 2D retro appearance caught me off guard because I am used to 3D games with very high graphics. Starting the game, I immediately took notice of the futuristic setting along with my character’s warrior-like features. I had no clue on what to do at first. In addition, there were no instructions, so I fiddled around with some of the controls and began a survival mission 80 years into the future.

The 2D outdoor setting was a bright day on one of the planets that I later found out that mankind had discovered. As I moved along the level, I was met by some flying robotic objects that did not look the least bit friendly. In shooter type games on the Playstation 4, generally the R2 button is used to shoot. Using that function, the powerful bullets destroyed this enemy. As I fought my way through more enemies, I discovered the function of the X button. This was used to jump, and if you held X down longer, you could jump higher. With this basic understanding, I entered an elevator that brought me down to a cutting-edge laboratory where I was met by more deadly machines who were intent on my destruction.

After defeating many foes, I saw other dead warriors that looked exactly like me. Realizing what was going on, I knew there was trouble that had to be stopped. Exploring the modern building, I figured out how to operate elevators, discover doors, and eventually was led to my dying commander.

My commander let me know what was happening and gave me my mission, which was to stop the evil Captain Vance from destroying mankind and taking control of the universe. The machines he used were killing many humans, and down in the lab, I had to fight them as a means of survival.

To accomplish my mission, I had to find a ship and escape the lab. I remember reading his words on screen, although they seemed slightly blurry and the graphics were not too impressive (gaming in the 90’s is very foreign to me).

However, finding my way around the laboratory was very baffling, and understanding all of the functions of the buttons was very hard to grasp. In fact, the levels were a bit difficult as I kept dying and using all of my credits up.

Overall, these 5 levels were very amusing. The sound of the game was very stylish and retro, as the music was fitting to the overall setting and surrounding.

The way the machines were designed was very crafty, and what was spectacular was that you could find extra lives, ammo, time, or upgrade your weapon by uncovering secret locations or by defeating powerful bosses at the end of a level.

Coins could also be used to collect items and to advance your overall combat ability. Usually, collecting these items and coins required passing some tough obstacle using parkour skills.

One major issue I had was that you could not save the game and come back to play it at a later time. To complete the game, you must sit down and play the entire game at once (or leave your console if you need to take a break).

To conclude, playing the revival of Ultracore was engaging, at some points challenging, and also extraordinary. Despite being 25 years late, it was very exciting and the adventures and machines you encounter makes Ultracore very addicting.

Also, the action and survival aspect bring suspense, and the storyline to save the universe and mankind is well planned.

Story 4/5: The story was definitely defined very well, and it is very linear. However, at the beginning, possibly being introduced to the commander sooner might let the user know what is happening versus going into the game with no prior knowledge.

Visuals 3/5: The visuals for the 2D game were not bad, but for today’s gamers, they might have trouble adjusting to the lower graphics fidelity. Also, some parts of the text are not very clear, and users might have difficulty grasping certain situations.

Playability 2/5: The system lets you have some manual control on how fast you progress, which was very orderly and practical. However, the time limit on certain levels is too restrictive and makes the game hard to figure out.

User Interface 4/5: Despite being very thrilling, there are no clear directions on what each control does. It was more of testing each button on the controller for yourself. It could have benefited from a basic tutorial.

Replay Value 2/5: The levels sometimes allowed you to go back and explore a previously discovered area to find hidden bonuses. If someone wanted to play the entire game again, I don’t think it would be very fun, because you would be enduring the same obstacles and opponents again, making the game repetitive and monotonous.

Overall Score 3/5: Overall, I give the Ultracore video game a decent rating that was done alright. Although the graphics and the replay value were not impressive, other aspects such as the user interface and being able to pace yourself at certain points were very accommodating. Also, the combat aspects of the game were exhilarating and contributed to the overall inspiration of the game.