Ultra Goodness 2 is a cartoonish, bold and brash twin-stick shooter. It’s loud, garish and screams for your attention but after its initial wow factor is over, poor level design and stagnation sets in quickly. Ultra Frustratingly Close To Goodness 2 is my alternative title.
All of the tools Ultra Goodness 2 (UG2) has to offer are shown in the first few minutes. This isn’t always an issue so long as you have a well-designed game to use said tools in. For this example, we don’t. The main tricks for UG2 are the bullet time set up of the game. Everything is in very slow motion if you aren’t moving and it is only when you do move that things go at full speed. This allows you to plan attacks ahead of time although the close in viewpoint doesn’t let you take it for granted or cheese move the entire experience.
Alongside this, you have an angelic cat who you can level up that fights alongside you. Their gun power is often more powerful than yours so upgrading their gun means you can have spreadshots, missiles and so on alongside your feeble gun. Powerups are also everywhere but they only last for a few seconds and I found them too limiting. The same can often be said for the bombs you can lob too. However, in small tight areas, bombs can be very potent and so they have limited but powerful use.
With all of this available from the get-go, it falls to enemy design, controls and level design to really shine. Whilst your character handles nicely, the level design is atrocious. Most levels consist of hedge mazes that eek out the playtime by running the length of the level and back and forth again to kill every last monster so the exit portal opens. They don’t make advantage of weapons nor enemy patterns – they border on boring procedural generation instead. The first time I played through the game I thought it was randomly generated but alas no.
It is a real shame as no sooner are you ten minutes into the game than everything seems quite bland no matter how loud the graphics are. Occasionally some levels have a layout and some thought put in but these are the exception rather than the rule. When something feels good, gives bold feedback to your playing and has untapped comedy potential and attitude to boot, it is quite a painful near-miss really.
If you love twin-stick shooters, Ultra Goodness 2 won’t offend you at all – it’s just not one that I’d go out of my way to recommend. It has loads of positives reviews on steam and players seem to enjoy the throwaway nature of it. I wanted more personally and so its a tentative genre fans only recommendation for now.
Review code provided by publisher.
Ultra Goodness 2
Loud, brash and accessible but lacks staying power due to lazy level design.
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