Thursday, April 10, 2014

IOS Spotlight #55: Power Grounds

Title: Power Grounds
Developer: Diego Cathalifaud
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $0.99
Power Grounds originated as an entry for 7DRL 2014. Influenced by Cathalifaud's previous game Amber Halls, one might dismiss Power Grounds as being more of the same. But playing this new IOS roguelike reveals that the two games are very different, and personally I find Power Grounds far more strategic and fun.
As with more roguelikes, you find yourself traversing a randomized series of rooms, each housing more enemies than the last. Enemies move when you move, and you can only get hit a few times before dying. But unlike most roguelikes, you're (relatively) defenseless, only able to evade and maneuver around enemies. However various power-ups appear in the level; collecting them unlocks tiles on the map that grant special abilities while standing on one. This free-form mechanic allows for different strategies and tactics. Is it better to remain evasive, using movement abilities to keep space between you and your enemies? Or is it more effective to activate a shield and muscle your way through a gauntlet? Perhaps you want to freeze enemies, then teleport to a better position or smash through your frozen foes with a dash attack. The tile system lets you customize your skills on the go, but this doesn't make the game any less challenging or strategic. You will still die fast without planning ahead. In fact the gameplay makes planning even more critical since you can't normally attack. Assessing the level and enemy positions, seeing what abilities are available, which you want to use and in what order, if you can reach them without getting cornered...all this makes Power Grounds a fun challenging strategic roguelike.
The original 7DRL version is available to try here, but the IOS version is the definite edition of Power Grounds, introducing a cleaner look, challenging achievements, more balanced abilities, and a wave-based arena mode. You can purchase Power Grounds for $0.99.

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