Ultrablast has one of those names that just screams ‘fun’. The marketing copy practically writes itself: “You’re not just going to have a blast with this game, you’re going to have an Ultrablast!” But while this is a fun, short shooter, it may prove to be too frustrating for casual players.
The nonsensical story is mostly unrelated to the game. You’ll quickly start skipping over the talking heads, who seem terribly concerned about an anomaly in space. Soon, though, it’s on to the action, and here Ultrablast doesn’t disappoint.
Target the BP oil rigs for extra damage!
You control your ship with a tiny virtual joystick in the corner, and while there are no options for sensitivity or tilt controls, this seemed to work fairly well. You can take a fair amount of damage before losing a life, and in a clever twist, you can even draw certain shapes on the rest of the screen to activate rare powerups, like a turbocharged attack or shield that can reflect enemy bullets.
Sometimes drawing on the screen is tricky during frantic battles, but it’s still a pretty good idea for a shooter. More frustrating to us are the total lack of checkpoints or a save system. If you get a phone call midway through the game, you’ll lose all your progress. This is a jarring oversight for any mobile game.
Here comes the sun.
The lack of a save system, or any kind of continues, also makes this game tough on newcomers. If you’re used to beating a tricky arcade shooter on one quarter, you’ll feel right at home. Otherwise, be prepared to replay the first few levels over and over again while you slowly learn the enemy patterns. One good thing is that you can watch replays of high-scoring players through OpenFeint, to see how it’s done.
Ultrablast is a solid top-down shooter, but it’s not nearly as accessible as Siberian Strike or as bullet-hellish as Espgaluda II. Ultrablast lies somewhere in the middle between the two, and for many players, we think that’s a good space to claim.