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Five Huge Tips To Get You Started With Ultros

A sprinkling of help to get your space garden thriving

Ultros is a magnificent game, full of intriguing locations and fun problem solving – but I will openly admit that it might be gratingly vague for some. This can be charming in many areas of the game, but in others it is less than ideal.

To this end, I have decided that it is my duty to deliver just a smattering of exceptionally simple tips that will assist your Ultros experience – like spreading manure on seedlings, I want to see all potential Ultros gamers flourish and bloom.

Now, with that awful analogy out of the way – here are some huge tips to get you started on your Ultros journey.

1. Loot And Items Are Affected By Physics

This seems like a pretty generic tip – but it’s worth taking note of. The Sarcophagus is full of many twists and turns, with all manner of vertical spaces to ascend. Because of this, if you are not careful with your goodies you can fall victim to the harshest of mistresses – Gravity.

Dropping a sick combo on an enemy and seeing a prime snack pop out of their defeated body can feel exhilarating; less so when that prime cut of meat starts sliding down a ramp into an inaccessible nightmare zone. Perhaps you just finished climbing a perilous set of platforms that had your heart pumping and your game sense vibrating, do you really want to backtrack to grab your food? Maybe take this into account when combat begins, and have a thought to where your foe might perish – make sure it isn’t next to a pit.

This also should be taken into account when you are doing seed juggling. Before you unlock an ability to actually piff your seeds like a football, you need to instead juggle them via attacks – doing sick backflips to perhaps send a seed into a far off wall or ceiling. Be mindful with these manoeuvres, and make sure to have your ‘PICK UP’ button at the ready if stuff starts to go south. I wasn’t exactly swimming in seeds, and losing one to a bramble patch will be a big ‘ol bummer.

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Getting a PERFECT VARIETY bonus doesn’t mean jack when your loot is sailing off into the abyss

2. Unlock As Much Of Your Cortex As Possible To Get A Full Picture

So while the game is not truly a roguelike, there is a small roguelike’ish element by way of the reality loops. Each time a loop occurs, your inventory will be emptied and your Cortex – the skill tree – will be similarly nuked. The Cortex obscures your full potential by way of a pseudo fog of war, showing upgrade paths as they branch out, but not outright revealing an upgrade until you unlock the tier before it.

Any upgrades you have unlocked will remain visible in the cortex after a reset, even though they may be locked now. It means that you can spend the initial stages of each loop considering what path you want to speed down this time, because you know what kind of flavour is on offer if you decide to say, head south on the upgrade tree into a health regeneration gimmick. This is extra handy when you start getting your hands on Mnemonic Mycelium to lock in persistent upgrades – so gobble down nutritional goodies and explore that tree as quickly as possible.

Uncovering the Cortex means that each loop will have you primed for what you are unlocking next

3. Write Down What A Seed Does When You Discover It

I understand this may be my ‘Cuphead Tutorial‘ moment, but for the life of me I could not remember what each seed within the game was capable of. As you traverse Ultros, you will see the different flora established in parts of the ship – and after spotting a new exciting tree you will most often find one of their seeds in the immediate vicinity. Once you grab one of these suckers, you’ll then be able to look at it in your inventory – where it will have a fun name, and a helpful tooltip that reads “A seed that can be planted.”

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Now the very nature of Ultros (heh) is exploration, and you will often find an inaccessible paths have a tactically placed plot of earth to drop a seed. If you consider your approach, you may know exactly what seed is necessary to progress – but god help you if you drop an AUGEAS seed when you definitely needed a SPROGAN in this area, because initially you can’t dig the seed back up.

Start a gardening journal. Nothing fancy, just a list of seeds and the key feature of the thing they produce. Here is my cheat sheet:

  • MUSHISHI – Spreads on surfaces and grows swingy vines on ceilings
  • YODYOG – Big leafy, fruity guy
  • OGU MUMIN – Grows a solid trunk, and eventually platforms to stand on
  • STACCATI – Shitty brambles that hurt you and stop progress
  • AUGEAS – Grows a spout that spurts liquid and grows a flower where the drops land
  • SPROGAN – A wheat field that increases movement speed and lets you stick to walls and the ceiling
  • DEVDARU – Makes a huge flowered hanging plant
  • UBARBA – Long vines that can jam generators
  • GNOPPER – Little shop of horrors-like plant that will try and eat you

I am sure only half of that makes any sense to you – but in playing Ultros, they all start to become crystal clear. Especially when you start splicing plants and creating hybrids. Trust me.

My gardening journal was genuinely a massive help as I hit harder puzzle elements

4. Two-Step Jump Is Real Good

The game will hand you a double jump as part of its progression, entirely separate to the Cortex and the upgrades within. This is obviously key to getting to many new spaces within Ultros – but a surprisingly helpful tool is the boosted jump upgrade.

Within the Cortex you can unlock the ability to jump a little higher after landing, creating a ‘Two-Step’ jump. Do a standard jump, and immediately after landing, jump again to go higher – after which, you can then do your double jump as well. This provides a huge amount of potential for both combat and exploration as you can use it to cross longer gaps, but of course it allows you to get a little higher as well. The extra height also comes in handy for dodging concerning boss abilities.

Don’t sleep on this nifty upgrade. I was 60% of my way through the game before I finally gave it a go and realised I had been making it harder for myself by doing so.

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Experience the air up there with your two-step jump

5. Juggling Seeds Sucks, Throw Them Instead

In a rare moment of game tutorial help, Ultros does mention that you can use melee attacks on your seeds to juggle them to higher locations. This is true, as the enriched soil that appears throughout the game does appear on both walls and ceilings – handy for creating new opportunities for traversal by growing sticky SPROGAN or swinging MUSHISHI plants to get places.

Only juggling seeds sucks terribly. You drop a seed on the ground, and then do epic sword blackflips to try and launch it into the air – and hopefully into the plot of soil you are aiming for. It’s cool in theory, but in reality it will just have you flailing about with a seed that doesn’t quite agree with what you are envisioning in your head; leaving you frustrated and often chasing a seed that is at risk of being taken via physics to a dark corner of the ship you’d rather not revisit (see item 1 of this list).

Instead, you can actually unlock an ability within the Cortex to just outright throw a seed. Holding down the DROP button will actually bring up an aiming reticule, with an arc showing how it will travel. This entirely bins the need to do Tony Hawk tricks to land a seed, instead just hucking the bad boy right where you need it – crosshair and all. Get it as soon as possible, and marvel at how the whole world becomes your garden space.

I wanted to like seed juggling, but throwing stuff with an easy aim reticule just made it obsolete

So there it is. Five delightfully delicious little tidbits to save you a modicum of the frustration that found me during my time on The Sarcophagus – none that are critically game breaking, or even at risk of truly ruining your experience – but worth adding to your repertoire as you step into the shoes of the mysterious gardening heroine.

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Ultros is available on PS4, PS5 and Steam for a magnificently affordable price (less than $40AUD) and it comes with a solid 9/10 in our WellPlayed review. For Metroidvania fans, it’s going to tick those boxes in a big way – but if you are in the mood for something a little crazy and different, then you are in for a real treat. If you are still not convinced, perhaps I could interest you in our video review? Grab a drink and look at this puppy in action, it won’t disappoint.

Happy gardening!

Written By Ash Wayling

Known throughout the interwebs simply as M0D3Rn, Ash is bad at video games. An old guard gamer who suffers from being generally opinionated, it comes as no surprise that he is both brutally loyal and yet, fiercely whimsical about all things electronic. On occasion will make a youtube video that actually gets views. Follow him on YouTube @Bad at Video Games

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