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Ultra Age is an surprising indie release that will blow gamers away

Developers Next Stage prove you don’t need a massive budget to create an visually stunning game

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Ultra Age Trailer

Ultra Age Review

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Indie games are famous for pushing the boundaries of gameplay and offering a unique experience, but it is rare to see one of these titles try to visually match a Triple-A game.

Developers Next Stage may have just done that with their futuristic hack and slash adventure Ultra Age which looks pretty outstanding.

The story of Ultra Age is set in a post-apocalyptic world that has been brought to the brink of ruin. Humankind has been divided into two with one half living in a space colony called the Orbital Arc and the other half Earth in a facility called The Shelter.



Ultra age is a new hack and slash adventure from indie developers
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Image:

Next Stage/ Visual Dart)




The main story will follow Age, a member of the Exploration Team who has been sent to collect a relic with his robot companion Helvis in exchange for eternal life.

After being double-crossed by his teammate Madea, Age finds himself caught up in a bigger plot that will see him carry the fate of humanity on his shoulders.

The plot may not be highly original, but it is fun and reminds me of a number of sci-fi, anime that I have seen in the past.





The story does seem to take itself a bit too seriously at times, but the witty banter between Helvis and Age saves the day giving a slight buddy-cop comedy feel.

For this review, I played Ultra Age on the Playstation 4 and it looks really remarkable for an indie title.

Running on Unreal Engine 4, Ultra Age really shines during the fast-paced combat that is filled with dazzling particle animation and amazing detail on all the characters.



It has stunning visuals that can match some of the biggest games
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Image:

Next Stage/ Visual Dart)




The developers made a game that visually looks outstanding, although the locales can feel a tad repetitive in each story segment. I felt like each of my battles took place in the same room over and over.

Enemy designs boast fabulous brazen designs that really lend themselves to each locale with the robotic foes popping up every now and then to shake things up.





But other than the boss battles enemies are really repetitive and there are so many times you can fight the same enemy with a different colour variation.

Overall the developers should take a bow for creating a game that visually can go toe to toe with some of the bigger titles out there but just a bit more variation would’ve been nice.



Combat is looks amazing and is seriously satisfying
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Image:

Next Stage/ Visual Dart)




The soundtrack is a nice collection of dramatic tunes that help to elevate the Age’s adventure. While exploring, the ominous music always feels like it is alluding to something sinister around the corner.

The heavy metal music during each fight goes hand in hand with the high-speed battles and will really get your adrenaline going.

Ultra Age is mainly a hack and slash adventure but there is some exploration, and even though it takes a back seat to the combat players will want to make sure they search everywhere for crucial upgrade items.





Age will be able to use his whip to reach new areas alongside some other abilities that can be unlocked later on. The main items scattered around are crystals that, once drained, will give Age access to upgrades and swords.

Finding these crystals will be important because every time you die you lose a certain amount of what you have collected, so knowing where they are will help if you need to access them again quickly.



The story is filled with interesting characters
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Image:

Next Stage/ Visual Dart)




There are different types of Crystals, but the main ones that players will want to find are the ones that improve the durability of your blades. Crystals come in different colours that correspond to a specific blade and some are harder to find than others

Players will also be able to improve their stats by finding purple crystals, but it’s random what players will get from them.





Once you drain a Crystal it will become active again after a long period of time or players can use Helvis to help reactivate them quicker.

Also scattered around the world are save points which also allow players to upgrade their swords via a skill tree, improve their gear and upgrade Helvis.

One of the main issues with Ultra Age is the lack of save points which are sparse throughout the game, alongside the random difficulty spike of enemies just means players are going to have to redo a lot of levels.



It’s world is filled with so many different locales
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Image:

Next Stage/ Visual Dart)




There isn’t an option to save on the fly, which could be forgiven if players could change the difficulty level to stop the constant dying. Ultra Age has a really steep learning curve that can be punishing at times.

A nice addition to the adventure is the wise-cracking robot Helvis, who plays his part very well. He comes with four different abilities that really are really useful throughout the game.





He can control Age’s perception of time allowing him to travel into the future, this allows players to access crystals straight away after draining them.

He will also loot close items to you and has a Critical Rage attack that will blow enemies away.

The most useful feature is his Healing pocket which basically allows players to restore the HP and any given moment which is very handy as enemies can become ferocious.





The biggest selling point of Ultra Age is its high-speed combat which is reminiscent of games like Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden.

Age will have access to an abundance of different blades that come with unique abilities and will affect different enemies.

Players can set four blades at the same time and switch them on the fly. Each blade can be upgraded to cause more damage.



Enemy designs are great but can get repetitive
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Image:

Next Stage/ Visual Dart)




Combat mechanics are really fun, players will be able to chain together all sorts of combos while switching between different blades.

The stylish combat is filled with different camera angles and fast zooms that make the well-choreographed action look magnificent.

It may seem like a button-mashing affair, but there’s some depth to knowing what sword to use on which enemy and timing your dodges right, players will feel like they can accomplish anything if they master this system.





One of the frustrating aspects of Ultra age is the enemy difficulty which spikes randomly during the game.

Players will cause some serious damage in one fight only to get destroyed straight away. This can be good as it will push players to up their game and master the system a lot faster, however, it can be really punishing and might put off gamers who just want a casual playthrough.







VERDICT

Ultra Age is a really fun fast-paced action game that shouldn’t be missed by fans of the genre. It may be lacking in certain areas but makes up for it with its addictively satisfying combat mechanics.

The game will take about 6-7 hours to complete, so it is not the longest and there isn’t much replay value. But the visuals are amazing and a real testament to what indie developers are capable of at the moment.

Ultra Age is out now for Playstation 4 and the Nintendo Switch




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