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iPhone  header logo

Power Grounds


For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Random acts of cruelty

Product: Power Grounds | Developer: Axaxaxas Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.2
 
Power Grounds iPhone, thumbnail 1
With just a sliver of health remaining, you step through the portal to the next level, hoping against hope that the gaming gods will be kind to you.

They aren't. You die.

Many a player of Ending or Hoplite will have found themselves praying for a favourable level layout or enemy formation - for some miraculous escape route to be presented so that you can survive another minute in these turn-based meat grinders.

Power Grounds, the latest iPhone roguelike puzzler, is rarely so forgiving. But it does provide its fair share of miraculous escapes.

Colourful Ending

Power Grounds plays a bit like a cross between those two games referenced above. The goal is the same - to edge your hero to the level exit, one grid space at a time.

Each time you swipe to move your character, randomly arranged enemy formations will take a step towards you. Or at least, some of them will. Their movement and attack habits vary.

Your hero is a fragile thing, capable of shunting an enemy out of the way and not a lot else - and only at the expense of one of your three hearts.

It's tough going, but the game's core twist is a colourful one.

Powering through

Throughout each compact stage, you'll find power-ups. When collected, they'll activate several coloured power-up squares. Whenever you stand on one of these, you'll be able to cast a one-off spell that grants some advantageous effect.

There's one that sends out fireballs in three directions, one that allows you to charge through multiple enemies, one that raises a temporary shield, one that teleports you across the level, and several more besides.

It's the unique provision of these power-up squares that lends Power Grounds its distinctive flavour, but they also highlight its weakness. Their random assignation can either empower you to blitz a level or leave you high and dry.

Dying on a level often feels unavoidable, with the random level design and enemy configuration frequently combining with an unfavourable power-up spread to give you a hiding.

Quick and not-so-easy

Still, the quick nature of each doomed run will have you reaching for that 'restart' button more often than not.

The additional wave-based Arena mode is another incentive to return to the game, taking the whole idea of flight out of the equation and sharpening your crowd control skills.

Power Grounds is a welcome addition to the growing roguelike puzzler crowd, though its random acts of cruelty stop it from being one of the very best.
 
Power Grounds
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 16 April 2014
Power Grounds adds an interesting power-up twist to the roguelike formula that excites and frustrates in almost equal measure
 
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