Ultratron was developed by Puppy Games and published by Curve Digital on Xbox One. It was released on May 8, 2015 for $9.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.
If any long forgotten genre of videogames has benefited most from the advent of digital distribution and the influx of creative, independent game developers over the last few years, it must surely be the shoot-em-up. We’ve seen more or less every obvious take on the theme imaginable, yet I’m almost always pleasantly surprised by the next innovation or twist.
Ultratron is the latest twin-stick shooter to launch on the Xbox One and it promises a number of interesting features, including “unique retro-futuristic sound and graphics, player responsive difficulty, and a subtle system of tactics combined with classic gameplay.” At first glance, Ultratron looked like a fairly uninspiring arena based shooter, but I’m pleased to report that despite a few minor complaints, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Ziggurat was developed and published by Milkstone Studios on Xbox One. It will be released on March 20, 2015 for $14.99. A copy was provided by Milkstone Studios for review purposes.
Ziggurat is best described as a Heretic style rouge-like first person dungeon crawler. That is certainly a mouthful of genres all stacked together, but the experience is a unique mix. Like most Rogue-like games, you are going to die many times in a series of trial an error encounters, which is exactly as the game intends. In Ziggurat each time you die, you are generally given a few cards that will be able to be found in your following adventures. Ziggurat features a number of various unlockable characters and items, all of which are displayed on cards you gain as you play.
The game itself plays like a mix between Heretic, Doom, and Diablo. There are various rooms to traverse, and each room contains a chance to battle either monsters, overcome traps, or partake in jumping puzzles. The creatures drop mana, life, and experience, all which are needed to further progress your hero. Generally, loot is found at the end of a large encounter or set of traps, and often after boss fights. Each level has a similar formula of many rooms with encounters, a room with a key to the boss portal, and then of course a boss fight. The difficulty increases as you progress through each level, and eventually you can beat the game with one final boss fight.
In case you missed the recent news, the first Microsoft Garage title has been rather sneakily released into the wild as a free download on Xbox One. Voice Commander is a single-screen shooter in the style of the arcade classic Asteroids, with a few notable twists which between them make the most of the Kinect technology and add an additional layer of strategy. Players are invited to defend their home planet from wave after wave of alien attackers, whilst the titular voice commands are used to deploy defensive structures in specific quadrants or to deploy smart bombs and other secondary weapons.
Microsoft Garage games are made by various Microsoft Studio employees in their spare time, and Voice Commander has set the bar pretty high considering that it’s free to download. Currently, it can only be located via a Bing search on your Xbox One, and your console must also be set to the US region. Non-US players can still download and play Voice Commander, but will need to change their home region to US, download the game and then change back.
For more on Voice Commander, check out the gameplay video after the jump.