The Ultimatest Battle – First Look
2D Arena Shooters can be things of beauty when done right. Games like Holodrive are shining examples of this formula done to near perfection. The Ultimatest Battle? Not so much.
The Ultimatest Battle is an ambitious game. It tries to combine class-based 2D arena shooting with the destructible environments and explosive carnage of games like Worms. Players join up with one of two teams and pick from six classes to duke it out in a series of standard PVP match types. There aren’t a lot of frills to the gameplay but the game doesn’t really need them.
The 6 available game modes are:
Deathmatch – The classic.
Save the Princess – a Capture the flag style mode where one team defends and the other hunts a princess.
Control Point – where both teams fight over a central platform and the first to hold it to the score cap wins,
Double Princesses – Like Save the Princess but you must steal the enemy princess while also defending your own
Arena Match – Deathmatch, but your team has a shared pool of respawns.
Attack or Defend – like Control point but with 3 points this time.
There are a few different maps, but I only seemed to encounter two in my time with the game.
The big variation in the gameplay comes with the classes. The Soldier uses rockets and a shotgun. The rockets can be charged up to increase their range and straighten out their trajectory. Vikings are a melee class with a shield, and can drink beer to increase their melee damage for a short time. Gluttons are heavy tanks. They’re slow but have a ton of HP and a grenade launcher that’s great for sabotaging enemy terrain. The Ranger uses a bow that has great range and can be charged for big damage. The ninja is the fastest class and relies on stealth and teleports to get in and out of combat quickly. They have the lowest HP but great damage. Finally, the Miner is the most unique. They have almost no offensive capability at all but can dig through destructible terrain and construct platforms as well as turrets to help their team. They’re by far the most interesting class, but you won’t see them picked often.
The controls feel decent enough in action, and the classes each have their own unique feel. With that said, though, there’s just something about the actual gameplay that feels off. The movement is incredibly floaty unless you’re playing the heavy, and the targeting reticle is extremely easy to lose amidst the constant explosions. The slippery and imprecise nature of the gameplay combined with the weird way jumping reacts on sloped surfaces gives the game an awkward feeling overall. Additionally, the destructible environments are great, but they cause some problems with balance.
Players can rush explosive classes to the front and dig massive trenches that other characters can’t jump out of on the enemy’s side. This is where Miners become super important, but unfortunately nobody seems to want to play them. I tried my hand at them a few time so I could build escape platforms and bridges to stop the trench strategy from working. It’s way too easy to be overwhelmed by the sea of rockets and grenades to viably counter this strategy as it stands. Still, it was a ton of fun to pull off the strategy successfully, so it’s give and take.
From an audio-visual standpoint, the game doesn’t do much. The nubs, which are the characters you control in the game, look great in most of the promotional artwork and menus. They have a sense of style and a cartoonish playfulness that works. It feels a lot like Worms in that way. Still, they feel very stiff in motion, and the game lacks the pop that the artwork around it has. The stages feel bland and boring, and the music is easily as forgettable.
There’s a character customization aspect that’s nice though. You can win hats and other items from leveling up as you play, and they can give slight stat alterations. There’s also not a single shred of pay to win monetization in the game, so that’s another big plus.
Ultimatest Battle isn’t a bad game. It’s just a game. It feels like it would have fit in well on Newgrounds in the early 2000’s and done well. Unfortunately that isn’t enough to drive a game alone by today’s standards. It’s great to see games embrace that feeling when they bring something new to the table; take for example Holodrive’s slick visual style and much faster gameplay. That combined with the old-school 2D flash shooter gameplay is what makes that game great. Ultimatest Battle just feels flat and uninteresting in comparison.
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