What is Ultrakill?

Clovis Lebret
Discord: Fqde#6768

Hakita’s Ultrakill is a horrific, exciting, delightful, sensational, blissful, savage and brutal story presented with the following 3 sentences:


That’s it. If you expected an immersive walking simulator where emphasis is put on environmental storytelling and the beauty of mother Nature, I’ve got some very, very bad news for you. If anything this game is a big “fuck you” written in Bebas Neue Bold to both triple A giants and pro-peace journalists. And because I’m a rather consistent person, unless we’re of course talking about my daily mood swings and dating history, the approach chosen for this article will not diverge from this original statement. If anything, it might leave you with a bitter aftertaste similar to the smell of ITU’s toilets before the closing of Scrollbar.

So for the few of you curious psychopaths, trade your chai latte for a glass of absinthe and let us answer in-depth the oh-so-dreaded question, shall we?

What is Ultrakill, really ?

Ultrakill is a movement-heavy FPS you will consider buying for several weeks. It’s hours of your time spent watching speed runs on YouTube, wondering how it feels to flip harmless coins for no other reason than “that looks pretty sick”. It’s pondering whether you would even be good at the game, or whether you’re humble enough to put your narcissistic fear of failure on the side for a mountain of dopamine.

Ultrakill is only 21 euros on Steam. A price that will make you think out loud “That’s one fourth of the hourly rate of my psychotherapist!” with a sarcastic smirk on your face, perfectly aware that it’s 21 euros poorly spent. A purchase that will most likely end up as a glorious surplus to a never ending Steam library of what-ifs, accumulated over perilous attempts to make the mundane life somewhat exciting. Right? Except this game will be a good enough excuse to press the “Add to cart” button; ‘cause fuck it – it’s 3am on a Friday, and we both know the week-end is about to feel unbearably long without a gun in hand.

And boy, you have no idea what you’re getting into.

Because Ultrakill is also a next generation, low-resolution demon slayer simulator that will forcefully muzzle your inner dialogue. Because these curated experiences aren’t “free and meaningful activities”, they are drugs used to reclaim a long lost mental real estate. We’re talking hours of bloodshed and deafening sound effects, turning you into a power-hungry, cannibalistic machine. Forget about humanity: Mankind is dead, in and on every level. Forget about your soul crushing 9 to 5, endless school assignments, dysfunctional relationships, crippling financial situations, overall lack of sleep, feeling of inadequacy, partial existential dread,

fear of missing out, separation anxiety, and other inefficient or faulty usage of the prefrontal cortex.

Ultrakill is the discrete release of a long-held scream that comes from a place even your id and super-ego combined could not possibly materialize within the walls of your cranial cavities, your skull still vibrating from the impact of a railgun shot. It’s a list of never-ending options, carefully crafted to offer state-of-the-art screen shakes and blood splatters, with sliders going as far as “VIOLENT” or “JUICE” when cranked up to the maximum. It’s a laughing skull that will mock you repeatedly, as you will continuously die and brutalize your overpriced gaming mouse and keyboard from bottled up frustrations, again, and again, and again, and again. It’s an abusive partner that only speaks the language of criticism, letting you know that “you’re not good enough” at every respawn. It’s the purest form of a toxic yet beautiful relationship between an unhinged human being and a piece of software, forever at war against one another.

Which is also why Ultrakill is a reminder that it’s too late now. No, I’m not talking about the time. Although you should probably go to sleep by now, but hey, your friends normalized playing something at unreasonable hours these days, so who cares? No, it’s a reminder that it’s too late for you to find fun in shooters anymore. It’s a reminder that pressing the trigger has become the single point of interest. That it’s about losing yourself in a rampage that cannot possibly take place outside the magic circle. It’s a reminder that these escapisms are futile attempts to restore individual power, long-lost from a life of suppressed desires within an oppressive system. A sandboxed revolution against nameless humanoids we wouldn’t dare nor mind to headshot in the real world. An out-of-body experience in which the “real”, the daily, inevitably merges into the graphics, dancing back and forth between two planes of existence. Anger and sadness turn into bullets. Bullets into corpses. And corpses into flushed out memory, defragmenting for the distraught mind.

Ultrakill is an executable file cheaper than therapy. An endless pixelated hell, allowing any wounded individual to spam shotgun parries and rocket glides in their vain search for salvation. A desperate attempt to heal through harming the virtual other, thinking that the cure might lie there, somewhere amidst a sea of generated blood. Each sorrow-filled left click is a call for help or some sort of statement, adding velvet-tainted shaders to an already red sky. It’s the unique relief of ricoshots hitting in cathartic waves as the sun rises in the back of your room, reminding you of everything you’ve left behind for a temporary feeling of freedom.

By now, you’re probably debating whether this is some sort of twisted recommendation. If that’s what you’re after, I will refer you to another lowscore article that uses the spatial arrangement of toilet paper to rate the production quality of games at large. A proposition to which, unfortunately, Ultrakill offers no solid answer. I’ll just leave that to your own judgment. Ultimately, Hakita’s Ultrakill is a pleasant and meditative exercise that you should repeat three to five times a week for best results. For everything else, you can try ITU’s breathing workshops.