The power-up can be found in every genre of gaming, from driving and puzzle games to action-adventures and shooters. They are dropped by defeated enemies, hidden in treasure chests and breakable crates, and sometimes just lying all over the place in the middle of the road.
A well-designed power-up is concentrated action! A player only has to touch it to become energized to move at lightning speeds, blow up the world and return from the dead! The great thing about a power-up is its effects are immediate: who wouldn't want to immediately gain awesome power?! The only downside is that its effects are usually temporary, so use that power wisely. A designer should be wise when creating power-up and ask the following questions:
What does the power-up do?
What does it look like? How will it (or its effects) visually stand out in the world? Does it glow or strobe? Rotate or bounce?
Can power-ups be combined or can the player only have one active at once? Can the player retrieve power-ups that are unused or discarded?
How does it affect the player's movement? Rate of speed? Number or type of attacks? Health or status?
How are its effects communicated to the player visually? Aurally?
What is the player's trade-off for using the power-up? Some reduce speed or mobility or the type of moves you can do while under the influence of the power-up.
If the power-up ...