Power Grounds

Hi guys, I just finished my game today’s morning.


Power Grounds is a game about choices. First, you have to decide if you’ll aim for a high score or just try to beat the game. Next, room by room, you have to pick the abilities that best suit your strategy; also, you have to decide how to use them.



My idea for this game was to have the player choose a strategy as the game developed. I determined that the objects of decision were going to be power ups. With this in mind, I designed a set of 9 abilities, and decided that they would be unlocked by catching “ability gems”. There are two ability gems in each of the first 4 rooms and one in the 5th, which forces the player to decide step by step, based on incomplete information.

Another key factor for me was the idea that more abilities should not necessarily be better than less. I thought this would add a lot of variety to the gameplay. To achieve this, I decided that every level would have a fixed number of power ups (16). This means that if you unlock 4 abilities, you get 4 instances of each, whereas if you unlock 2, you get 8. Less variety gives you more consistency but less flexibility.

I drew some inspiration from Starseed Pilgrim to come up with abilities that are tied to tiles in the floor.


As it turns out, my iOS game “Amber Halls” (a roguelike for iOS) was set to be released on Thursday 13th. I didn’t think it would affect the development of my 7drl because, to be honest, I didn’t expect too much success with that game because it is extremely difficult. But it did manage to get a lot of attention, which means I had way less time to develop Power Grounds. This ultimately resulted in me having very little time to balance the game, which in turn means that some abilities are very overpowered. But hey, the game is playable, is interesting and there are many valid strategies to achieve different objectives!


You can download the game here.

You can also follow me on twitter: @diego_cath.

Go play the game! If the game freezes on dying, just press enter… it’s a bug that I did’t have time to fix.

12 thoughts on “Power Grounds”

    1. Thanks! For some reason all my games look very simple but turn out to be extremely hard. With Power Grounds it is the opposite: it looks impossible but there are some very reliable strategies to win.

  1. Hello. I can’t start the game. I can run .jar just fine, but pressing enter doesn’t start the game! Any ideas? And fullscreen mode on 23″ fullhd display is a bit of overkill for this kind of game.

      1. Yes, there is a problem with OSX and full screen… Just a question: when did you download the game? Last night I uploaded a new version trying to solve this bug. If the problem persists, I will just set the default mode to windowed.

    1. Ok, I just uploaded a new version that runs windowed on OSX.

      You can toggle full screen by pressing escape, but once in full screen mode, I don’t know if keyboard input will be received.

  2. Latest version works fine in windowed mode on mac os. After switching to fullscreen it stops reacting on keyboard.
    It took me a few tries to figure out that you need to press right while standing on the arrow.
    Nice puzzler. My favorite combo is fireball and freeze 🙂

  3. This game is awesome!! I like it way better than playing Lee Sin top but less than playing Ashe adc carry (because let’s be honest no amount of fun can match that), and just about the same as going Udyr jungle, unless I pick the wrong masteries in which case I like your game better. Also, I go gg every time with the freeze gem so it is a lot of fun to use. Thanks!!

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