What is Ultreïa?
Ultreïa is the destination. Ultreïa is the meaning of life. Ultreïa is enlightenment.
Ultreïa is also a great little game about a robot seeking revenge that’s one part western, one part Grim Fandango, and all parts mechanical. I’m always weary going into point and click adventure games due to mixed past experiences with the genre, but I came out of this one feeling extremely satisfied.
Let me tell you why you need to play this game.
Many thanks to RedDeerGames for the review code.
The game’s grimy robotic post apocalyptic world opens with our protagonist Nymo standing over the grave of his murdered father. He has only one thing on his mind: revenge. Setting out out on a pilgrimage to Ultreïa looking for answers, he hopes that it will lead him to the assassin he seeks.
The mysterious voice in his head pushes him further towards his answers as he tries to find transport to the city of Mount St-Troy. On his way he will encounter corruption, decadence, giant alchemists, and a squid with a big-ass guns. The story is really well-paced despite its brief runtime, and it all leads to a very satisfying conclusion – one that proves even more enjoyable if you can trigger the true ending after the credits roll.
With a visual style reminiscent of Grim Fandango (heck, there’s even a very unsubtle nod to it early in the game), the world of Ultreïa is absolutely gorgeous to look at. Everything has a depressing mechanical feel to it, and each character has their own unique design to make them stand out. Their fantastic designs reflect their rather colourful personalities, although unfortunately many of them never really get fleshed out as much as you’d want. The travelling musicians prove to be particularly likeable, so it’s a shame that you end up leaving them with barely a word. But then, this is very much Nymo’s story – and he has no time to concern himself with anything other than finding his father’s murderer.
The main gameplay loop in Ultreïa is your standard point and click affair, with you picking up anything the game will allow you to and using it wherever you can. Interactable objects can be subtly hidden, which can result in them being pretty hard to spot at times, but thankfully a simple press of a button will highlight anything interactable on screen. Considering a lot of games in the genre can involve pixel hunts to find that one random object, it’s a very welcome addition that allows you to focus on the puzzles and the narrative rather than having to scour every point of the screen.
The puzzles in the game also largely make logical sense for the most part, with only the occasional one leaving you feel a little clueless. One section required me to stop the water that was interrupting the elevator, and I was determined that the little cocktail umbrella in my inventory provided the solution. It took me a while to realise that I was doing the wrong thing, and eventually realised that I had to get the lady robot in the guest room out of the shower to stop the leak instead. It’s puzzles like these that seem tough, but then you look back and realise that they’re not as obtuse as you had initially suspected. There’s no hint system here, but things will never get tough enough for you to feel like you need one either. Veterans of the genre will no doubt lament that the game is far too easy, but I felt it was just the right amount of difficulty to keep me entertained while following the story.
Ultreïa really is a nice relaxing little game that you can play through in a single sitting. It has its issues for sure, with the interface feeling a tad clunky at times (but not enough to prove an annoyance like in some other games), and conversations with NPCs can feel a little bit under-baked compared to other similar titles, but these all feel like minor problems in the grand scheme of things. Other games may do individual elements better to varying degrees, but Ultreïa feels like a fun compact package for casual adventure game fans and it’s one I had a blast playing.
I was not prepared for how much I enjoyed Ultreïa. It may not be the most challenging point and click adventure game ever made, but the puzzles and story were interesting enough to encouraged me to dig further into every facet of this intriguing mechanical world. There may be some missteps here and there, but that still does not stop it from being my favourite RedDeerGames title to date. I look forward to seeing what Olivier De Rop has next in store for us!