Review – UltraGoodness 2 (PS5)

Here we are with another twin-stick shooter, which at this point the genre has become a haven for indie developers. You can search on Steam right now for twin-stick shooters and there will be more than thirty results under “New and Trending”. Needless to say that if you’re going to out out a twin-stick shooter in today’s market, you need to bring it. Bring something new, unique, or crazy to really stand out. Does UltraGoodness 2 have what it takes to stand out above the crowded genre? It certainly has the ingredients to be something ultra good.

UltraGoodness 2 is the continuation of the battle between good and evil from the first installment. Satan and his minions are back and, who I assume is Jesus, must take them out with an arsenal of heavenly attacks. That’s about the gist of it. Jesus is just hanging out with his cat watching T.V. when he sees a breaking news report that demons are invading. So obviously he begins doing what Jesus is supposed to do, vanquish evil. There isn’t really any other story beats to this game. No mid game story twist, no part where Satan becomes harder after you defeat him once. You go through thirty levels, ten levels per chapter, and then you fight Satan. Game Over. Should I spoiler tag this?

UltraGoodness 2 Story

Satan corrupted cute little bunnies? Oh Hell no!

The gameplay of UltraGoodness 2 is just as shallow as its story. In a twin-stick shooter I can excuse a thin story if the gameplay is addictive. Unfortunately, there just isn’t much here to keep you engaged. Not that the gameplay itself is bad, it functions competently, it’s just stale. Each of the three chapters has its own visual theme and take on the enemy designs, but the objective is always the same: start level, eliminate enemies, find exit portal. This gameplay loop would be fine if the “eliminate enemies” portion was at least engaging. Being the meat of the game, it’s a shame that it falls flat.

This being a twin-stick shooter featuring Jesus and a flying cat companion, I was expecting some over the top bombastic action. Unfortunately, what I got was shallow gameplay that never ramps up. Jesus and Cat have nine different attack moves and for the most part Cat gets all the cool stuff. J&C (Jesus and Cat) both start off with a standard magical holy ball, and as you defeat enemies you collect currency to unlock other moves. The most expensive moves only cost about twenty-five hundred gems to unlock so saving your money for a handful of levels you can unlock the best moves in world one. These moves range from explosive shots, spread shot, shots that travel through enemies, to special moves for Cat.

UltraGoodness 2 Weapon Select

You can quick swap weapons by holding L2, but you likely won’t.

As I mentioned before, Cat gets the cool stuff with laser beams and massive missiles he will shoot. What’s a shame, however, is that most of these more expensive moves aren’t all that powerful. I unlocked the explosive shot in the first world and pretty much used that the whole time because it was more effective in taking out enemies. It also had a longer range than the spread shot so even groups of oncoming enemies were taken out easier with the blast radius. There isn’t any way to equip J&C with different weapons either. They both will use the same attack.

Outside of the main weapons, Jesus has a grenade with a smiley face on it, which became pointless with the explosive shots. Jesus does have a super attack, which is useful, called the Armageddon. Basically, you get to summon three meteors to strike where you select within your radius. This is beneficial if you want to take out a group real quick. This being a twin-stick shooter you can expect item pick ups, but these aren’t very imaginative. There is a boxing glove that does damage to anyone on screen, a shield, a mushroom that makes you small and increases your speed, and an item that either shoots in a circle or sends out a ton of grenades.

UltraGoodness 2 Items

No buffs or stacking items. Just generic items like shields without a cool design.

One semi-unique gameplay element in UltraGoodness 2 is that time only moves when you do. This means if you stop, enemies will stop and bullets will come to a crawl, much like in SUPERHOT. This idea was probably better on paper, because in practice it’s almost pointless. There wasn’t a single time this was helpful or needed since you’ll always be shooting or moving.

Art design is just as unimaginative as the gameplay. There are a ton of crazy designs to pull from with heaven and hell, but instead there is generic forest, desert, and snow levels. Enemies lack any creativity, and aren’t menacing or cool to look at. It reminds me of those Flash player browser games. Overall, it’s clean looking with some okay special effects with the explosions and weapons. It just lacks creativity in the designs. Perfect example are the bosses who are as boring to look at as they are to fight. We are fighting demons, Satan’s minions, and this is the boss design?

UltraGoodness 2 Boss

Seriously? A big pink Kirby bat?

UltraGoodness 2 does feature an eight track soundtrack, but somehow they all sound so similar. They’re also very short and will stop and replay mid level. It won’t go to the next song though, it is just a few seconds of quiet before the same song repeats. The songs themselves are okay upbeat techno tracks, but they aren’t memorable nor do they increase the feeling of fighting hellish demons. The other sound designs are mediocre at best. All of the main attack moves have the same sound effect besides the spread shot. All-in-all the entire sound design, much like the rest of the game, just feels generic.

My biggest issue with UltraGoodness 2 is the lack of imaginative ideas or even any difficulty. There are rarely any frantic moments with hordes coming down on you where you escape with only one heart. Boss fights are a simple distraction that you’ll barely notice. You have heaven and hell to work with but all the weapons, enemies, power-ups, and level designs all feel safe. You can blow through this whole game in a couple hours and there is no reason to go back. In fact, you can platinum this game by level seven of world one.

Graphics: 5.0

The visuals look like something out of a Flash player browser game. Character and level designs are pretty basic and aren’t as wacky as you’d think it would have. It doesn’t look terrible, but doesn’t really stand out.

Gameplay: 5.0

For the most part the mechanics all work well. Twin-Stick shooting performs fine with the DualSense. Unfortunately, there isn’t any depth, challenge, or variety to keep things interesting.

Sound: 4.0

Sound design consists of a small sample of sound effects that aren’t particularly well done. Majority of the weapons all sound the same and the soundtrack doesn’t have much of a variety with short songs that repeat mid-level.

Fun Factor: 3.0

This is a twin-stick shooter that isn’t frantic, it feels more like a isometric corridor shooter. UltraGoodness 2 lacks style and that heart beating bullet-hell gameplay. With its short run time and no reason to return to levels, there isn’t much fun to be had here.

Final Verdict: 4.0

UltraGoodness 2 is available now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on PlayStation 5.

A copy of UltraGoodness 2 was provided by the publisher.