Now Available on Steam
Developed by Psychotic Psoftware
In the midst of a great war, humankind now hangs on the edge of extinction. All but one pilot representing the human race is left with nothing to lose, and a thirst for revenge. The story in Power-Up is simple sci-fi fare but is effective through its usage of snazzy dialogue and slick visuals that all give a nostalgic retro flare.
As the first stage starts the massive human vessel deteriorates in the background as I find myself dodging the pieces of its firey debris. The situation is intense and the narrative well thought out, pulling you into the role of this lone human pilot very well. When games were still all about the challenge, shoot-em-ups reigned supreme and Power-Up follows in that classic form. The game follows a horizontally side-scrolling view in the same vein as classics Gradius or R-type but with a visual style of its own personality.
Most importantly is your ability to 'power-up' each weapon individually allowing you to strategically distribute your pickups between desired weapons for specific situations. Personally, I mostly stuck with a high leveled pea-shooter and the spreadshot, but there were still plenty of moments were the game throws situations that require the other guns at you forcing you to think quick and on your feet.
Using a fully leveled weapon is where the intensity begins and the action really starts to shine. The feeling of shredding through a crowd of enemies with a high-powered barrage of bullets is an exciting one, and even more so when you face each of the huge and beautifully detailed bosses and their tricky attack patterns.
The retro atmosphere provided by the stylish visuals, detailed backgrounds, and heavy music are all the work of one man and obviously with a lot of love making this an even more impressive endeavor, as well as a seriously solid entry into any shmup afficianados library in its own right.
Power-Up retains everything we love and remember from the classics while giving it a unique makeover, and is something I would deem a modern classic in a dying genre. For the incredibly low asking price this is an easy buy that provides more than just a retro throwback but a completely new experience.