hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Destructoid review: PowerUp Forever

9:00 PM on 12.27.2008 // Brad Nicholson

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.

I couldn’t be more wrong. Power-ups are not forever.

For many days now I have been walking the halls of my home, inebriated. I haven’t showered, ate, or slept. I obsessively think about how the name of a game could be so blatantly deceiving. Then I remembered something.

Your ship grows in size each time you receive a power-up, even if that weapon is maxed out. Size is a power-up, right? I think I can go to sleep now. Wait ... no I can’t.

Hit the break for the full review.

PowerUp Forever (Xbox Live Arcade)
Developed by Blitz Arcade
Published by
Released on December 11, 2008

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.

Guardians are the catalysts of change. Once dead the visuals fade to different color, your ship grows in size, and you are granted an upgrade or a special ability to use on the next guardian. These power-ups are limited in usage and range from lasers, explosives, to shielding. The upgrades earned run out of gas quite quickly, forcing you to stop between Guardians to kill the many defenseless and dumb-witted enemies.

Unfortunately, the power-ups from Guardians aren’t forever. There are a finite amount of power-ups and the game will tell you that with a “maxed out” prompt after 20 minutes of continual play. This threw me when I played for the first time. It’s felt like someone told me that Santa wasn’t real or something equally as crazy.

Progress in the game is nothing more than a circular effort. Search the level, find slaves, and kill the Guardian. Its monotony is never broken and it is quite easy to survive for longer-than-expected durations. The game’s HUD delightfully spells out everything you need to know (shielding, kills until a Guardian appears, points, etc.) and while very informative, serves to only dull the impact of a Guardian’s appearance. A small part of the game that should have been pronounced is scale. After killing a Guardian, your ship grows but it is almost imperceptible. The only cue is a funny little animation. As the ship grows, the monolithic fossil-structures that once held slaves come alive and turn into the same dumb (but bigger) centipede enemies that you have been fighting for minutes on end. It is an interesting dynamic, left wholly unexplored.

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.

There isn’t a multiplayer component to speak of – despite how the game seems to scream cooperative play. It also lacks bonus modes with any real substance. The other modes in the game are simple time attack or versus challenges that you have to unlock by playing the campaign portion of the game. They’re just little slices of what you have already been doing.

PowerUp Forever
is a medicore game that occasionally engages. The interesting fl0w-inspired visual style isn’t remarkable as a result of the bland and dirty color choices. The core mechanics of the game operate perfectly, but don’t translate to a fun or challenging experience. Aside from the boss creatures, the enemies are dull and seemingly serve to only occupy space on the screen. The gameplay is hampered by its circular nature that can quickly become all-too-familiar within minutes of play. PowerUp certainly isn’t the worst XBLA arcade shooter, but it is hard to recommend.

Score: 5 -- Mediocre (5s are an exercise in apathy, neither Solid nor Liquid. Not exactly bad, but not very good either. Just a bit "meh," really.)

Brad Nicholson,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Since my blog using this is basically useless, I still wanted to share it. [img][/img] CAN YOU DIG IT!?
Manchild avatarManchild
I don't think you should be able to say #Fuckonami if you are deciding to support their product anyways. I don't often agree with boycotting and am not condoning that, but get your story straight and show a little consistency.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
When the band began to play the stars were shining bright. Now the milkman's on his way and it's too late to say good night. So, Good Morning! Good Morning!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I just realized that MGS V unlocks for me tomorrow at noon. I'll be at work by the time this game unlocks, wich unless I manage to let it install remotely, I won't be playing it by Sept 1. #FucKonami >:C
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
I'm guessing all rock bands in the world must have stopped making music videos this year, since I read fall out boy's "Uma Thurman" won for rock video of the year. I can only assume there were no other nominees.that's the only rational explanation.
RatCasket avatarRatCasket
dtoid discussion has been awfully bitchy these past couple of days. knock it off. its just video games.
StripyTrousers avatarStripyTrousers
Just posted my first Dtoid Community blog. Hello all!
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Good Morning Good Morning We've talked the whole night through Good Morning Good Morning to you Good Morning Good Morning It's great to stay up late Good Morning Good Morning to you
Daniel Lingen avatarDaniel Lingen
Agent9 avatarAgent9
gonna help my mom move and pack some things. what it means is I'm gonna sit and get yelled at whether I do or do not do something. I can't be the only one with a picky parent that expects nothing less than clairvoyance (-_-)
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
If some weren't aware, Phil/Mike Martin needs some help right now but can't access traditional donation avenues like Paypal on his own. I'm offering to be a middle man. I'm also offering to match 50% moving forward right now. [email protected]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
At first I thought it would be fun. Then more ideas came, so I kept adding. More! More! But soon it just became stubbornness. Now, as I stare at 10000 words of meandering loon about a subject I'd almost rather be porn, I must question all my life choices.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Someone on Gamefaqs asking the real questions. How mad would you be if halfway through the Mad Max game he stumbles upon a tribe of kids and the rest of the game is a lighthearted romp?
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
I think, for my first try, I drew a pretty damn good Ryu, if I do say so myself [img][/img]
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Really sad that Wes Craven has passed away. He made really fun films.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
R.I.P. Wes Craven. I'll always remember you for A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream and Red Eye. I'll try not to remember you for Music of the Heart.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
So apparently Nintendo is taking down Mario Maker Let's Plays as fast as they can. Good job!
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
Phantom Pain is fucking glorious.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
Anyone remember the cartoon "Freakazoid"? I'm doing artwork for a box for work to hold my supplies, but I cant remember some of the better characters. Freakazoid, Steph, Cosgrove, Candlejack, the Lobe, Caveguy... but who else?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Gotta love all those Dtoid community members that magically appear whenever there's a giveaway.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -