Image: Solving Games
Mechanical athletes, rocket fists and spectacular goals: at Gamescom 2022 we played the new sports game from the creators of Demeo.
While conventional games often copy each other and barely reinvent themselves, there are always some pleasingly creative experiences among VR titles. The new VR game from Resolution Games (Blaston, Demeo) deftly combines mech action with ball sports in a compelling mix.
Ultimechs doesn’t do without models either: at first glance, the elegant arena in the metal cage is strongly reminiscent of the famous car football game Rocket League. Here too, the aim is to score as many goals as possible in short matches, either in direct duels or in two teams of two.
We played the VR sports game at Gamescom 2022 and then again on Steam – and we’re thrilled.
Arena Sports for Meta Quest 2, Pico Neo 3 Link and SteamVR
An important difference with Rocket League is immediately apparent: instead of pushing the ball with cars, you propel it across the arena with powerful mechanical strikes. You steer your fists like a remote-controlled airplane via VR controllers. This way you hit the ball from different angles.
Distance to the ball is crucial, as rocket fists don’t fly infinitely far. This is where super-fast locomotion comes into play.
“We also originally experimented with free and smooth movement for the Ultimatechs,” Resolution Games CEO Tommy Palm told us at Gamescom 2022. Ultimately, however, the team decided not to. do so and instead relied on fixed spots in the arena that you can direct your robot to.
Similar to a board game (or the VR shooter Rogue Ascent, for example), players switch between 24 predefined fields in real time: simply point the controller at an adjacent square and, with the press of a button, the robot will jump to exactly that spot.
“One of the advantages of this checkerboard division is, for example, the possibility of strategically blocking an opponent,” explains Palm. In addition, the principle of teleportation prevents motion sickness. It doesn’t slow the action down, by the way: mechs go back and forth between the opponent’s goal and their own goal in seconds.
You can also play Ultimechs seated, but you must use a swivel chair. Turning with the analog stick is much slower than physically adjusting the viewing direction. The position of the ball is indicated by a marker, similar to Rocket League, when it is not in line of sight.
Also there are special abilities of the three mech classes, which recharge with items that occasionally appear in the arena. We haven’t really gotten to grips with sniper fire yet: you can use it to shoot the ball into the goal from a longer distance or to briefly knock out your opponents. We liked the freely placeable barrier to better protect a flank. The fist explosion knocks the ball or two opponents across the arena at the same time, which is very useful.
Will Ultimechs become Resolution Games’ next hit?
In the Gamescom demo, which is also available on Steam until 28.08.there are only two modes, a workout, leaderboards, various party functions, and a few cosmetic extras.
The latter can be unlocked with experience points through the two-tier Season Pass. The paid version includes exclusive cosmetic bonuses. It remains to be seen whether the Free2Play concept can generate enough sales in the still relatively small VR market.
Resolution Games, however, is known for constantly adding new content and features to VR games like Demeo. The rousing dueling shooter Blaston, for example, is a very different game today than it was in its rather minimalist beginnings. Ultimechs therefore has great potential to become a long-time hit with eSports ambitions.
The fast, well-designed and really fun gameplay has already convinced us. Ultimechs will be released on September 15 for Meta Quest 2, Pico headsets like Pico Neo 3 Link, and SteamVR.