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Ultraworld: Surreal First Person Explorer Comes to Steam Greenlight

Ultraworld, a first-person explorer and one-man project by industry veteran James Beech, needs your vote on Steam Greenlight

Ultraworld is the brain-child of one artist: industry veteran James Beech. After working on AAA titles such as DC Universe Online, Crysis 3, and Half-Life 2 mod "Weekend Warrior". Beech left his previous job to start his own company, Neon Serpent, LLC. Neon Serpent is dedicated to creating interesting, artistic games. All of the resources that went into making Ultraworld came straight out of Beech's pocket. 

A first-person explorer, Ultraworld takes the player into a series of fantastical, self-contained environments. The player must explore the areas and solve puzzles in order to help a lonely video game character face his existential crises.

Ultraworld was created using CryEngine. It boasts minimalistic textures and polygons paired with bright colors and interesting layouts. The overall effect is surreal and strangely inviting. According to Beech's write-up for the game, the visual schemes were inspired by his own acrylic paintings, his father's watercolors, and his great-grandfather's etchings. Its soundtrack is also very eccentric, featuring ethereal, electronic, ambient sounds. 

Players can expect a casual, relaxing experience with Ultraworld. The story takes about 2-4 hours to complete, though there is extra post-story game time for players who are interested. The official website made a humorous list of what players should and should not expect from Ultraworld:

FEATURING

exploring, relaxing, and thinking

NOT FEATURING

jumping, shooting, crafting, survival, Nazis, zombies, space marines, fetch quests, high scores, co-op, multiplayer, microtransactions, DLC, or DRM

Judging from this list and the game trailer, it looks like this game is shaping up to be a philosophical, narrative-heavy adventure. It is currently available for purchase straight from the developer's website. You can also vote for it on Steam Greenlight.

Published Sep. 10th 2014
  • QUICKSAVE_6870
    I've finished working through ULTRAWORLD and I must say that it didn't go in the direction I was expecting. Or, more to the point, it didn't really progress in any direction whatsoever.

    Pace: Various reviewers have referred to it as an 'exploration adventure' game, while others have used the more disparaging phrase 'walking simulator'. With many of the levels giving only a false impression of being open world, and given the absence of any run key, you certainly spend a lot of your time trudging around landscapes with nothing happening. Some people may enjoy that kind of thing, but it wasn't for me.

    Narrative: It starts off at a slow pace, and never gets any quicker. It's a very laid back kind of game. More problematic, for me, were then philosophical elements that underpinned the narrative. These were somewhat amateur and cringe-worthy, reading like a high school student copying chapter headings from [i]'A Brief Introduction to Philosophy'[/i]. The philosophical questions never really get answered, with the cop-out at the end that the game's AI protagonist can't decide what to do with itself without out input via forums and blog posts (surely, being pervasive across the internet, the AI can determine what's important to human life according to what's already available on the internet). None of it fits together and the whole thing falls flat.

    If you're interested in watching a playthrough of the game, to see what I'm getting at, I'll be publishing it in four parts every Thursday: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUK-YaAVCB6RFMPyIdJ_tq48HHOjzBkpw

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