Developer Asmodev’s mission statement is as follows: “Welcome to the Asmodev universe. You are in a world powered by electricity from the heart of hell. Choose your mask, and come, come into the coven…”. Published by Ultimate Games S.A., Ultimate Summer is a wonderfully unique example of this vision in action.
In an attempt to ease his troubled mind from thoughts of his lost love, a retired pig butcher decides to vacation on a zoo island only to discover there are no animals on the island, except for him. Met by an eccentric monkey, the butcher is told he must defend a special washing machine which cleanses souls of sin from the armies of hell. Uninterested and ready to leave, the butcher only stops when the monkey promises to supply books of poetry so the butcher may win back his sweetheart. This proves to be an irresistible offer, and players are thrown into the chaos that is Ultimate Summer.
Ultimate Summer blends traditional third person shooter and tower defense mechanics into a unique and smooth experience. The goal is simple: survive 14 days fending off demons, aliens, monsters, and other evil beings. In order to survive, players must fend off these hordes while protecting this giant soul washing machine in the middle of the island. Beginning with a hatchet known as The Sin Sucker, a red power up fountain for strength, and a blue fountain for speed, players use the sin gathered from their kills as a resource to purchase additional weapons.
There is also a sin bar that fills up when dealing and taking damage, which, when full, is used to enter AMOKK mode, allowing the player to deal heavy damage to enemies. The game relies on this particular mechanic a little more than it should, as without these massive damage boosts, defense would be near impossible. Apart from fighting enemies, the butcher can farm resources, such as wood and metal, to craft and upgrade traps. On the whole, the game feels incredibly smooth, the weapons look great, and although the animations can be a bit clunky, it’s still rewarding to watch monsters explode in a cloud of blood and guts.
Asmodev does a nice job at weaving the story into the gameplay and giving a sense of purpose to the seemingly endless slaughter. The plot feels loose and somewhat shallow in terms of depth, but the story follows the events of their previous title, Infernal Radiation, and is enough to hold onto to make this game enjoyable by itself.
The narrative is delivered via comic book strips and it’s awesome. The visual aesthetic during the story moments is incredible and is something that I wish would have been further incorporated into the game itself. The art style of the game makes sense given the overall concept; however, it could benefit from a little more polish. The animations for and experience of actually hitting monsters feels unrewarding. Damage doesn’t seem to register visually on the enemies aside from the numbers appearing overhead of the hordes.
They also don’t have health bars, so, if you aren’t paying attention, you can easily waste time shooting low health enemies instead of bosses. On the plus side, every swing or bullet produces a bucket of blood from the creatures, which is pretty satisfying at first. However, as the hordes increased in number, the blood started to block out enemies, which was pretty annoying.
Ultimate Summer‘s music definitely sets the mood for demon slaying. I found myself jamming out in between waves while waiting to start the next bloodbath. The sound effects were strong for most things in the game and definitely served to enhance the experience.
Ultimate Summer overall thoughts
In the end, Ultimate Summer feels great to play, provides challenging gameplay, and nicely blends the mechanics of third-person shooters and tower defense games. Sitting at $3.99 in the Steam store, it’s an absolute steal.