Ultraworld is a surreal and beautiful first-person exploration adventure

Ultraworld—or ULTRAWORLD, as it prefers to be known—immediately grabbed my interest with a strong trailer accompanied by a weird and ethereal electronic soundtrack. I know, I'm pretty easy to please. It's an exploration-driven indie game created in CryEngine by James Beech, who previously worked on Crysis 3 and, of all things, the classic Half-Life 2 mod Weekday Warrior . It's a game that boasts "exploring, relaxing, and thinking" as its primary features, which should give you some idea of what to expect.

I've played the first hour or so and, after an extremely slow opening in which you're asked questions such as "what is true?" and "what's my purpose?" the game opens up into something interesting. Ostensibly, you explore a series of self-contained environments leading off from a central hub. Each tasks you with "solving" a "problem", which usually involves finding black triangles to reveal another segment of dialogue.

All of this is done at the behest of the Ultra, the world's AI. The way the game toys with the fourth wall does creep close to coming off as pretentious, but eventually it settles into what seems like a purposeful rhythm. Beneath the basic objective runs a sub-plot that, so far, is what's compelled me to carry on.

It helps that the colourful, lo-fi environments are so captivating. The art style comes across like the middle-point between Proteus and Fract OSC. And, while the music is less adaptive than either of those games, its soundtrack remains a highlight.

Ultraworld is currently available to buy direct from the developer . You can also vote for it on Steam Greenlight .

Thanks, Indie Games .

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.