Posted:  Feb 17, 2024
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Ultros was provided by Kepler Interactive for review. Thank you!

It's hard to look at other Metroidvanias and compare them to Ultros. It excels in creating a crazy, vibrant, ridiculous world that is rightfully labeled as "psychedelic" while utilizing some unique mechanics to create a special experience. It's one of those games where, even though I am done playing it, I would happily come back just to take in the sights of the insane world that the developers built, and it is complemented with fantastic Metroidvania gameplay systems that make it a worthwhile entry into the genre.

The biggest draw to Ultros is the world and weird story. In the game, you wake up in a giant, cosmic uterus that holds back a demonic being named ULTROS. Through this, you will investigate and constantly go through a black hole loop as you meet the inhabitants and break this cycle. Those two sentences are already enough to tell me this is going to be a memorable experience but add in the vibrant, plant-like structures, glowing mushrooms you can use to fly around, and all the food you can eat, and you have a game that feels unlike anything I have played before.


Then, we have the gameplay loop. So, you will be running around a 2D platform, getting new abilities, and backtracking to unlock new areas and fight enemies, but ULTROS stands apart thanks to its skill, food, and time loop systems. You will gain food by defeating enemies, which will raise one of four different bars you have, and if you use a variety of attacks, you will be able to get prime meats that will increase bars more. These are used to upgrade and get new skills, which will use different amounts of each bar.

Then, we have the time jump. So, when you defeat the bosses of Ultros, you will get sent into a black hole, and you will end up back at the beginning of the game. You will be stripped of your skills and have to go through again to defeat the other bosses. You can get special items that will help you remember skills through these jumps, but for the most part, you will be working your way up again. But, as time passes, new passages will unlock, and you can progress further than before.


These elements all work together well to create an addictive system that I can't get enough of. When I take breaks to charge my Steam Deck, I want it to charge faster so I can get back to the game! Speaking of the Deck, though, it has a couple of weird oddities.

ULTROS - Steam Deck Performance

On one hand, Ultros plays perfectly on the Steam Deck regardless of how you try to play, but it has some odd quirks. First, we have the framerate limit, which can't be turned off. While the game runs perfectly at 60 FPS, that is also the highest limit, which is weird to see in a PC release.

There's also a power-saving framerate option to help save on battery life, which is a nice addition, but I wouldn't recommend using it. The game is designed for fluid play, and it can look like minor stuttering when you stop and start walking again. I would say you can set it at 50 FPS, and it will save a little without feeling noticeable, but I kept it at 60 for maximum fluidity. Regardless, this is a setting you could leave alone and you may not notice the slight slowdowns.

Another weird issue is playing offline. If you play online or in offline mode, you will be able to play with ease. But, if you turn off WiFi or disconnect while still in online mode, Ultros will act a bit differently. While the game can still launch and be playable, it will not show any of your saves, and you can't change any settings. This does mean you can play the game at 90 FPS on the Steam Deck OLED, but you can't access your saves, so it isn't worth it.

Regardless, the game does play without any issues, and because it's 60 FPS, the battery life can stay below 9W for a great amount of battery life! Other than the framerate, there aren't any other compromises, so you will get the best experience possible on the go!


Ultros does feature some standalone accessibility features in its options! You can reduce damage, blur and desaturate the background, add a halo around you, simplify fonts, turn all the fading to white into a fade to black, and turn off vibration and screen shake. You can also change the language and sound bars in the game.

It doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, so you will have black bars, but you do have controller and cloud save support! There are no options for HDR.


Ultros is a one-of-a-kind Metroidvania that looks and feels wonderfully unique. It takes its psychedelic world, blends in a crazy story, and dashes it with some solid gameplay elements to create a fantastic entry into the genre. It plays extremely well on the Steam Deck, even with some weird occurrences, and I would highly recommend taking it with you to enjoy it! Overall, if you love Metroidvanias, this should be an essential purchase!

Since this is playable on the Deck without any changes, I will mark it as Best on Deck as it feels fantastic for the most part. I do recommend changing the power-saving framerate to 60 for a better experience, but keeping it as is doesn't ruin the overall feel of the game.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

ULTROS is an incredible, vibrant, and gorgeous metroidvania that feels wonderfully unique and runs great on the Steam Deck.

Build Score

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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