ULTRAKILL gameplay is fast, bloody, and has you swerving around in vertically-rich maps at speeds that make those with weak hearts, well, weak. Many games have tried to emulate the high-octane satisfying gunplay that the DOOM and Quake franchises are known for. After recently trying out the ULTRAKILL prelude demo, I can safely say that this game takes the cake. The early-access New Blood Interactive title recently released a prelude demo, allowing the public to get a taste of fresh blood. Humanity is dead, Blood is Fuel, and Hell is Full.
ULTRAKILL Gameplay Cranks to 11 Really Quickly
I really dig ULTRAKILL’s opening sequence. You’re in your character’s AI brain tweaking some settings while listening to calming elevator music. You adjust the volume to a deceptively reasonable level…
and then suddenly you’re falling through a chimney and the entire music GENRE changes.
You’re given minimal but sufficient instructions on how to play the game and before you know it you’re punching the ugliest knock-off mass-produced EVAs and jumping off of walls while expending stamina to cross death-inducing gaps while dodging huge enemy projectiles and avoiding environmental hazards as blaring metal hymns of hell blast through your speakers (or god forbid, earphones).
Needless to say, sh*t gets pretty wild, pretty quick. That’s the best way I can describe the ULTRAKILL gameplay.
ULTRAVARIETY in Design
There are a variety of guns in the game. The Left Mouse Button (LMB) is your standard fire button with the RMB being your alternate fire button. Guns have their respective classes (Revolvers, Shotguns, etc.) and each class has a variety different guns. Each gun is unique in terms of having different alternate fire. For example, the standard Revolver allows you to charge your alt-fire to deliver a devastating beam that penetrates through lines of enemies. The second Revolver you get has an alt-fire that targets individual enemy weak points instead. You can have both guns with you and alternate between the two to adapt to different situations.
Enemies are aplenty and have just the right amount of variety to them. They have different designs, movement speeds, and abilities, forcing you to constantly swivel your eyes to note of any possible incoming threats.
Map and level design is another thing ULTRAKILL deserves praise for. In it’s current state, it’s pretty buggy and there are several unintentional exploits uncovered by speedrunners. If you play the levels as intended, however, you’ll find that its design compliments your character’s abilities beautifully. Wall jumping and dashing to avoid environmental hazards and speeding through a corridor of enemies is incredibly satisfying.
Hell is Full, Blood is Fuel
Combat is extremely gratifying. Shooting targets give off satisfying audible crunches complimented with 90’s blood splatter. You can parry projectiles with just-frame precision to cause devastating explosions.
The game also somewhat gives off the vibes of a 3D bullet-hell. Enemies and projectiles will be coming at you left and right and you’ll have use every ability in your arsenal to make it out alive.
To add to the chaotic nature of the game, it actually PUSHES you to engage the enemy. To recover lost health, you need to douse yourself in the enemies’ blood. You can only do this by killing them at a close distance and letting them shower you in their death. Additionally, it has a letter-based scoring system akin to Devil May Cry. Killstreaks, speed, and variety all contribute to your final level score.
That wraps up the ULTRAKILL gameplay experience! While we sometimes see games as desperate clone attempts of more successful titles, but in the case of ULTRAKILL, it’s a love-letter. It clearly draws inspiration from other games of various genres and is not shy to admit it. In fact, they even dedicated their Steam store directory page to it: devilmayquake.com. Additionally, it has those typical 90’s warning screens stating that the game has “explicit scenes of violence and gore”. Seeing that was such a reminiscent throwback!
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