Utopia 9 is a short, cleverly made, procedurally generated rogue-lite with plenty of challenges, slight humour and excitement. Unique for its take on the nemesis system, this colourful twin-stick shooter provides loads of vengeance-seeking fun. Even though the solo experience is praiseworthy, support for local co-op with up to four total players raises the experience to a new level. I cannot praise Whalegun enough for making such a fun little game. Most indie games either try to make something too big and fall short or are too short and leave their players disappointed. Utopia 9 gets the right balance and nails its gameplay mechanics perfectly.
You take the role of the tourist who has just crash landed on Utopia 9 and to survive you can collect two sets of weapons, one set they hold out and one set they can hold in their holsters. The easy switch, just by pressing tab, allows you to adapt to the situations you come across – and with the wide variety of weapons, the combinations are near endless. I spent a lot of my time with the starting handgun and suitcase with a revolver and baseball bat just gunning and bashing everything in my way.
Mutating is a major form of character progression in this game. By collecting soylent from downed enemies, the character may level up, or mutate, and choose how they mutate by selecting abilities of different kinds. The mutation options are also randomly generated each time, so you never know what perks you’ll get as you start each playthrough and what your enemies might take from you when you die.
Despite the great combat I found the enemies to be very similar to each other as I progressed, just looking different in each area. Green enemies were melee, blue were bullet weapons, purple were energy, red for shell weapons and orange enemies were explosive. It’s a good way to identify the enemies but it was a little repetitive. Despite the repetitive design of enemies the world still seemed like a very colourful place.
The game is filled with vibrant tones and shading, and you’ll mostly see purple blood as you go through smashing your enemies with your trusty suitcase, or by blowing them away with rockets and mines. Overall the entire world and each area’s shading and choice of colour, makes the game feel absolutely fantastic, and just add to the feeling of having fun when you are playing.
I was only able to play this solo, as no one was free to play it with me, but Utopia 9 for the solo game alone is worth the £8.99 on Steam. For me, if a game doesn’t occupy a £1:1 hour ratio, it’s not going to be worth my money: this game however could allow for 10-20 hours of solo gameplay, and from the looks of other players’ gameplay the local multiplayer can add a fair bit more hours on top of that. At the moment the game is £4.23 on Steam, with 53% off, and I would recommend going and grabbing this while you still can at this price as you will not regret it. Overall though I would like to see more kinds of weapons in the game and all new levels, maybe holiday destinations as well.