In PowerUp Forever you have to grow to survive – and to grow you must destroy! Hunt and defeat enemy Guardians to harvest their glowing energy cores, gaining power to grow your ship and expand your weaponry. As you evolve you attract the attentions of ever-larger enemies, and your fight for survival goes on.
Reviewed February 2009 by Keith Murray
In our feature with the developer James Goddard, he highlighted the fact that he wouldn’t like to be in the position of pushing a twin-stick shooter onto the likes of PSN/XBLA due to a saturation of the genre. These comments have proved prescient, especially in the case of PowerUp Forever which was recently released for both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.
The player takes the helm of a ship with the aim of destroying enemies. Once a set amount has been destroyed, a Guardian appears to challenge you. Defeating it will release an upgrade, either weapon or shield based. It all comes across as a hybrid of PSN title flOw and the basic elements of a shooter. This process is repeated throughout the course of the game, and although there are different modes and difficulty levels to contend with, there is no real change in the base game mechanic. While a lack of online multiplayer isn’t a huge disadvantage, it might’ve added something to the overall package, providing a selling point.
The game’s Psychedelic visuals mix and merge, morphing and changing as passage to the next level is granted. It’s certainly one of the more engaging environments created for a title, and brings to mind XBLA shooter, Schizoid. They do a good job and have a lush style that is memorable if nothing else.
Unfortunately it becomes clear that there is very little that engages the player on a meaningful level. Even the least savvy players will soon realise all they need to do is locate where the squid like creatures are (these more than any other trigger the release of the guardian bosses) and fall into a pattern of rinse, repeat. While the premise and supposed unique selling point is that you, like the title, Power up forever, the game ultimately suffers because of that. With nothing approaching an end or ultimate goal, it feels like a futile exercise and eventually a lethargy will wave across the player, causing them to give up.
While there’s nothing terribly wrong with it, PowerUp Forever is so lacking that it just cannot be recommended to anyone, especially in light of more substantial titles in the genre that are already available. Hopefully the developers will heed some sage advice from an old hand, aiming for something more unique and taking inspiration from what’s gone before instead of mixing and matching, hoping for the best.