I don’t always play surrealistic metroidvanias about escaping the clutches of ancient demonic beings, but when I do, I prefer for them to be set in giant cosmic uteruses. A difficult scratch to itch, but that’s the setting for Ultros, developed by Swedish studio Hadoque, and due for release in 2024.
Above is a new trailer shown during the PC Gaming Show: Most Wanted livestream, offering further proof—in case you need it—that Ultros is a gorgeously distinct adventure. Its setting and themes are embedded in sci-fi, but the art style avoids any of the cliches associated with that tag. No, Ultros looks fecund, ornate, alive. No surprise then, that Ultros’ dextrous hack-and-slash combat is balanced by a meditative farming component, which appears to be how the protagonist develops their abilities.
If I had to make comparisons, I’d imagine Hollow Knight adopting the more varied color palette of Dead Cells. Or perhaps, a more goth Spinch. It’s not just the art that begs comparisons with the former two games, because Ultros’ precision-oriented close-quarter scraps remind me a lot of Dead Cells. Wrap that in a surrealistic coat with a bizarre time-looping system at its core and, oh geez, I’m ready.
Ultros releases on February 13, 2024, and you can find it on Steam now.