Review: Ultracore (PlayStation 4)

Ultracore is an authentic Run ‘n Gun 16-bit game, a true love letter to classic 2D action games with intricate level design, tons of secrets to discover, and numerous mid- and end-bosses.

Pros:

  • Crisp pixel art graphics.
  • 980.7mb download size.
  • Platinum trophy.
  • Local leaderboard.
  • Cheat code support.
  • 2D platformer shooter gameplay.
  • Five levels.
  • Upgrade and pick up new guns as you find them.
  • Can jump on enemies and not take damage.
  • 180-degree aiming arc. Once you start and continue to press shoot you stay at that angle and can’t change it.
  • Secret rooms to find, hidden items in walls.
  • Chiptune soundtrack.
  • Proper retro atmosphere.
  • Clear Hud that shows health, lives, coins, score, and time.
  • Restart exactly where you died.
  • Cool little interactions with survivors.
  • Terminals-interact with to see a map.
  • Big boss fights.
  • 3 continues.

Cons:

  • Difficult.
  • No bonus menus or work.
  • The slowdown happens a lot.
  • The shooting is not fun and clunky with the whole locked in direction and inability to use or move on a lift if firing.
  • Can get lost a lot.
  • Hard to see what is debris/shrapnel and what is an actual enemy.
  • Music is one that can repeat itself.
  • No way to know the controls.
  • Navigation of menus is not straightforward and you can easily press no on the continue screen.
  • No online leaderboards.
  • Little to no replay value.

  • 7/10
    Graphics - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Sound - 6/10
  • 7/10
    Accessibility - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Length - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Fun Factor - 8/10
7/10

Summary

Ultracore is ultracool but only for a small volume of time, for what we have here is basically a straight port with no new gimmicks, no extras, and no modern touches. This makes it a very messy opening gambit as you need to work out the controls, get used to the fact that pressing shoot locks in your direction so you can’t spray and pray any which way and the game doesn’t explain anything. Get over that and you have a proper retro experience and one that I can get on board with, earn extra lives, shoot walls for secrets and big boss fights, it all makes a good game but again issues arise with slowdown happening a lot and it just grated on me constantly. I managed to go through it but it was a slog, I enjoyed parts of it but I think that’s just because I like playing old games on new tech, I just wish the old game had new additions or touch-ups as its very plain Jane otherwise. In short, it’s a solid shooter but is dogged with performance issues and no extra love poured on it. It’s the game pure and simple no faff no pizazz just the game.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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