Uoptia 9 A Volatile Vacation is a 3D isometric shooter combined with rogue-like elements. You play as a holiday maker who has arrived on Utopia 9 which is a holiday resort set in the future. The game also includes a nemesis system which we saw in 2014’s hit, Shadow of Mordor, allowing the player to take revenge on enemies which killed them on previous attempts.
The game starts out with your character crash landing on Utopia, and straight away you are greeted with an easy to follow tutorial system as it is etched in the ground below you. Your aim is to make your way to the customer service building in Utopia, obviously to make a complaint about this holiday resort ruining your vacation! As you traverse through the world, you’ll come up against hundreds of enemy aliens armed with different weapons, and suitcases…of course! Your character has the ability to hold two weapons at once, as well as two other weapons in your holster. Combining different weapons together such as Tasers and pistols allow you to create some interesting combinations and really some gaming changing solutions too. Every enemy you kill will drop experience points, once you amass enough experience points you will level up, allowing you to spend a talent point in the game’s Mutation system. The mutations you can pick from range from straight up damage increases, to faster movement speed or firing speed, or more bespoke abilities such as enemies having a chance to drop a whiskey bottle that will grant you health points when they die.
If you die in Utopia, you will lose all of your equipment and mutation points, and have to start right at the beginning of the game again. The enemy which killed you will grow stronger and loot all of your gear. You have the option to go back the same route you went previously to avenge the last tourist, and attempt to take out the upgraded enemy to get the loot back, or you can choose a completely different path and avoid it all together. This reminded me a lot of how Dark Souls worked, although the experience was different here.
Utopia 9 has one of the most catchy theme tunes I have heard in a very long time. Right from booting the game up you are presented with an upbeat soundtrack which is present throughout the game. The production values are very high on the rest of the sound effects in game which match the overall look of the game. . Visually Utopia 9 is great. Plenty of character and colourful environments can be found through the game, as well as some really interesting and quirky character designs. The game’s UI is really nicely presented too. Clean and slick menus make everything much easier to navigate through and all of the relevant information is always on screen for your viewing such as ammo counts, health and a mini map.
This game is hard. I thought it was going to be a really easy experience, this stemmed from past games in this genre having a watered down gameplay which could easily be beaten after a little bit of practice. Not Utopia 9 – this game is punishingly hard. It took me over 5 hours before I could even get past the third stage in the game, and even now after ten hours, I am nowhere near completing it. The nemesis system adds an extra level of challenge, but also rewards players for taking the challenge as killing upgraded enemies will result in more experience and a bigger quantity of rewards.
All of the levels in this game are procedurally generated, you won’t experience the same map more than once, which also adds to the difficulty factor as you be going into each run blind. Enemies will spawn in random locations, and will sometimes even spawn right where you start your adventure so you really best be quick off the mark. Throughout each stage, you will come across chests which will include loot such as new weapons, shields, and health upgrades. These soon become your aim and bench mark for reaching a certain check point throughout a level as you will rely on them like you life depends on it (because it does). There is a real art between conserving your ammo and not dying – one that takes a lot of time and practice to master.
With the procedurally generated levels, and the challenging game play, Utopia 9 has a huge amount of replay ability and length to it in general. Like I said above, I am nowhere near close to finishing the game after over ten hours of game play. Like many other roguelike games, this can easily be a twenty hour plus title.
Utopia 9 seemed to be a bug and glitch free release. I didn’t have any technical problems throughout. I was able to play at a steady 60 FPS even on a 4k resolution; I had no screen tearing or anything. A technically sound release.
Overall I really enjoyed my time playing Utopia 9. The game play is satisfying and fun which is probably the most important factor here but there is so much more to this title; with a really awesome soundtrack, to endless amount of content on offer. The dev team are constantly adding new content as well, with more items planned to be added in the future and improved AI. Utopia 9 is a solid release that would be well worth your time checking out.