Ultra Pixel Survive – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by Gold Skull Studios and published by Ratalaika Games, Ultra Pixel Survive is a 2D survival adventure where players must battle monsters, collect resources and survive each night. This title is now available on all console platforms after launching originally on android devices, this release also contains all content and a link to each version will be available at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank PR Hound for providing the copy of Ultra Pixel Survive that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. There is no plot for this title, so I will be going straight into covering the gameplay.

Gameplay – Ultra Pixel Survive is an action RPG styled adventure, with a focus on surviving the hazards of the world for as many days as possible, featuring different environments to explore. When starting a new game, players will begin with no resources but they will have a safe haven house, as well as a selection of tools that can help them survive in this world. Here is general breakdown of the tools that players will have;

  • Weapon – the player has a weapon that they can use to battle enemies, these weapons range from the typical RPG fare of swords and staffs, to a shotgun and slime blade. Each of the weapons have their own benefits, with downsides that balance them out.
  • Axe – the wood cutter axe is one of the two key resource tools that the player has, the player is able to chop down trees to collect wood. The wood that is collected can create traps like spikes, walls and more.
  • Pickaxe – the player can use the pickaxe to mine materials, like stone, salt and ore to be smelted into ingots. The materials collected can be used to create equipment to upgrade other items, as well as create special defensive objects.
  • Special Skill – each character has a special skill that is unique to them, these items can be very useful in battle and help players get out of a tricky situation. The skills can be either offensive or defensive based on the character that is used.

As the player battles through each day/night, they will gain experience and collect money that is collected to be used in the in game shop. When enough experience is gained the character will level up and increase their base stats. Also, treasure chests can appear, providing the player with additional loot that can be used. When first starting the game, players are limited to the adventurer with the other characters needing to be unlocked over time.

In order to unlock the majority of characters, the player needs to use gems that are bought from the game shop. These gems cost between 100 – 300 coins each, which adds some replay value but also can make it feel like a grind to unlock all of the characters. There is also the ability to level up the characters with gold, increasing their starting level when the player starts a new game and giving a better chance of survival.

The player can also increase the level of their equipment, using the resources they have collected, making it faster to farm materials later. Resources aren’t the only thing that players need to keep in mind, there is a hunger system that will deplete over time. When this meter is fully depleted, players will start to lose health until either death or it is refilled. The only way to refill the hunger meter is to eat food, either from cooking after farming it or collecting it from trees.

During a run in the game, at different points the player will gain support from characters that will join them to help them to survive.  These support characters will also level up and gain extra attack over time. There are also boss battles that can occur during a run after reaching a set day, with these battles having a health bar which can take a while to deplete. When the boss is defeated the player can get loot for succeeding.

So with the gameplay covered, it is time to move onto the other aspects of this release, starting off with the controls.

Controls – the control method for this game is easy to pick up, with the inputs for this release being laid out in a comfortable manner. All of the key inputs are easy to use, with the different keys for the different features, like attacks and skills being shown on screen for players to use as references during play. The game works well with both the Joy-cons and pro controller, regardless of the game mode that is being played.

Difficulty – this title can be difficult when starting out, as there is a lack of tutorials for players when they first start the game. This can be tough when the player is figuring out what needs to be done at the start, but the recipes for crafting and upgrades are listed on screen with color coding to help players. If players want an additional challenge, they can toggle the option of permadeath, meaning having to start from the beginning upon death rather than the last save.

Presentation – the visual style for this release uses a simple pixel art style, which may be reminiscent of Terraria for some players. This works well for the game as it is focused on simplicity, with both the graphical style and the gameplay experience. The sound for this title is implemented well, with contributions to the music from Kevin Macleod, Wingless-Seraph and Koichi Morita, adding the needed atmosphere to the tense battles.

Final Thoughts – when I first saw this game, I was not sure what to think as my first impression was that it would be similar to other titles of the genre. However, when I got into it I was pleasantly surprised, as it was much different from the others in the genre. The simplicity of the gameplay along with the unlockable content provides a lot of replay value, as well as an experience that players can get lost in for hours at a time.

I can happily recommend this title to players, as it offers a lot of content for a modest budget. The characters that the player can unlock provide a reason for players to keep going, as the player challenges themselves to get the highest score they can. The difficulty may be a little steep right at the beginning of the game, but it does ease up over time as players get used to the way that the game functions.

In the end, I give Ultra Pixel Survive a final score of 4/5. This is a simple yet engaging survival title, with a visual style that is reminiscent of others in the genre, while providing something that is different from the others on the market. If you want to check this game out for yourself, a link to each version of the game is below.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation version (HERE)

Link to Xbox version (HERE)

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