Puppy games and Curve digital might be familiar to modern-retro fans for bringing the impressive Titan Attacks to consoles, which gave us a futuristic makeover to the retro classic space invaders.
This time Robotron 2084 is receiving the treatment and Ultratron has now landed on consoles and PC.
You play as the last remaining humanoid battle-droid after an army of robots have wiped out humans. Your mission: To avenge the human race.
Anyone who’s played Robotron in the past will know what to expect, with hordes of robots appearing around the screen, you are equipped with a pretty basic weapon to take them out. As with Titan Attacks, the retro soon leads to the futuristic, with power-up’s, defensive droids, pets and bosses soon filling the screen.
There are 40 levels in total, spread out with ten per world. As you reach the 10th and final level of the world, you’ll face a boss before moving onto the next.
Every enemy you kill rewards you with points and coins, whilst completing consecutive levels without taking a hit will reward you with a multiplayer bonus to boost your score.
After a few attempts, you’ll soon be reaching the end of the first world and racking up enough coins to buy some of the many add-ons.
Starting with your shield, you can build up various levels, with one being removed each time you get hit. Completing a level will usually give you enough to refill your first, second and maybe third slots, but if you wish to build up a large defense of 5 or 6 then you’ll need to save up and keep collecting coins. Another form of defense is the smart bomb which will clear the screen of enemies. This works well, but is even more effective when combined with the auto-mod which releases your smartbomb whenever your shield is depleted and you’re about to receive a fatal hit.
For the more attacking players, you can purchase droid upgrades which improves the power of your primary weapon, or even pets which follow you around and fire at enemies in close proximity. Many further upgrades improve their power, range and speed but there are plenty of options meaning you can customise your power-ups to suit your style of play.
The first few games will seem pretty tough and daunting, especially when you realise a single death throws you back to the start with no checkpoints. As you start chaining together multipliers and building your funds you’ll quickly make short work of those same levels which initially seemed like hard work.
Progression not only unlocks many of the purchasable upgrades, but also shows the best of Ultratron. There’s nothing more rewarding than surviving a screen plastered full of enemies, with neon beams of light, coins and your shield on zero, and then rushing to refill your shield ready for the next level. You’ll occasionally come across challenge levels which task you with shooting or dodging as many enemies as possible to further bolster your score.
Like any retro based game, we’re not looking at hundreds of hours of enjoyment, however you can easily expect to lose an evening to the addictive pick up and play system, and it’s always fun to come back to time and time again.
While aiming for a nostalgic feel, Puppy Games have done a very good job of still making it feel and look futuristic without losing touch with its roots. This also goes for the electronic soundtrack and effects, as well as the simplistic design based more around colour than detail.