Blitz Arcade’s PowerUp Forever is an arcade shooter that requires decent reflexes and a healthy desire to decimate foes. The most important feature of the game (as Blitz would have you believe) is collecting power-ups after defeating a special foe. From the title alone, I gathered that the amount of special upgrades or abilities was unlimited.
PowerUp Forever (Xbox Live Arcade)
PowerUp Forever (Xbox Live Arcade)
PowerUp Forever is a mosaic title, characterized the most by its Geometry Wars gameplay concepts wrapped around a visual style reminiscent of fl0w. Like Geometry Wars, it relies on you wanting to kill an endless horde of enemies for points. Like fl0w, PowerUp insists that you want to navigate a perpetually shifting visual environment endlessly in search of something to damage. As a dual-stick shooter the game operates smoothly and a perfected control scheme won’t have anyone up in arms. Despite its perfected mechanisms, uninspired and dull enemies clutter the forefront of an ultimately ugly backdrop. PowerUp Forever is definitely a clever mix of two highly touted games, but the execution should have wielded something special – not insipid.
The game puts you in the driver seat of a gun-laden spaceship in search of enemies called Guardians. Guardians are essentially larger versions of your spaceships, outfitted with better gear and driven by retarded AI. Finding a Guardian isn’t exactly thirsty work – they come to you if you kill enough of a specific enemy.
The enemies in PowerUp Forever aren’t numerous and can be described as nothing more than obstructions. The enemy that blots the majority of the landscape is spherical and does nothing more than float endlessly towards your vehicle. The more interesting variety is a centipede. Its segmented body throws random bullets from hidden guns as it scampers randomly throughout the map with no objective or real purpose. They rarely respond to your actions and never attempt to escape from your hail of bullets.
There are only two enemies in the game that threaten to be engaging. One is a special spherical enemy that only appears if the game believes you have been searching for slaves too long. In a sense, it’s a punishment. They automatically avoid your bullets and hound your ship. The Guardian is the only real enemy, simply because it targets you and forces you to out maneuver it.
The visual flair is certainly interesting, but I never felt any special admiration of it. The rippling, ever changing background has a dirty, watercolor quality unpleasing to the eye. Enemies swap colors akin to the background, but their unchanging physical appearance is definitely noted. Weapon and particle effects have an unnatural, fiery quality within the context of the visuals at the moment. I would have liked to see a bit more vibrant color or sharper contrasts between the background and foreground objects.
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