PowerUp Forever is a twin stick shooter available on both Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Store.
PowerUp Forever is surprisingly not a game in which you power-up forever. Something you would think the developers would have taken into consideration when naming their game, but apparently they didn’t. There is a fair share of power-ups in this game yes, but they aren’t infinite and not even all that exiting.
The game initially got my interest because of its unique and interesting art style, so that’s where I’ll start. You control a funny looking ship-thingy made up of several geometrical shapes, you use this “ship” to navigate a sort of primordial puddle where everything seems to be made up of coloured cloudy liquids, much like FlOw. This puddle is of course home to many strange inhabitants, most of which look like bacteria and parasites. As you move around or shoot, the liquid reacts and makes coloured waves expand outward from your ship, and it does so very convincingly. The soundtrack is also top notch and kind of reminds me a little of Aphex Twin, so if you’re into that you’ll definitely like it. This all makes for a very cool looking mellowed-out shoot em’ up, that makes you zone out and simply go with the (gah) FlOw.
But the gameplay is unfortunately lacking. Much like the first part of Spore, you start of small and grow larger as you kill enemies. After a while of shooting parasites and bacteria you’ll encounter a guardian which looks pretty much just like you, this guardian will follow you and try to kill you, but is fairly easy to deal with. Once the guardian’s dead you’ll advance into the next stage, which just like in Spore makes you bigger and changes the colour palate. As you do your basic attack will get a wider spread with more bullets and change colour.
The problem with the gameplay is that it just gets to boring and repetitive after a while, most if not all shoot em’ ups have the same problem but make up for it with high speed action and score chasing. But with PowerUp Forever you’ll just get all chilled out and numb. It gets a little more exiting after a while and you do get more weapons, but it’s just not enough. There are multiple modes to unlock, but they don’t really change the game enough to be worth elaboration, and one of them is just plain overkill.
In the end PowerUp Forever is a game that I’m not really sure about, on one hand it’s a great game to have running while doing something else like listening to a podcast or talking on the phone, On the other it’s just too easy and not exciting enough to be taken seriously as a shoot em’ up. It also has an absolutely beautiful art style and great sound design. So much so, I really hope developers start using effects like these in future games. So in short, check out a few videos and talk to people who’ve played it to determine if it’s worth a purchase for you personally. If the game was a few bucks cheaper it would be a definitive buy, but as it stands, I’m just not sure.