Dragons have been imagined in multiple ways with multiple appearances, personalities, and powers, which is why they're always welcome in gaming. A new type of dragon makes its debut in Dragon Pow by Boltray games.
This 2D arcade-style shooter has you guiding the heroes all over the screen as they consistently move from the bottom to the top. As this happens, enemies will descend upon you trying to shoot you out of the sky or crash into you. Whether you'll focus on artful dodging or shooting them out of the sky first is up to you and your mastery of the swiping controls.
Dragons have served various roles, and when they're involved, there's bound to be some kind of grand adventure in the mix. That's what's happening in Dragon Pow, but it's a bit more direct than that. You play as the duo of Sig and Ale, the former being the last Dragon Knight wielding a legendary ancient blade and the latter being a young dragon.
Things kick off as the two pursue a villainous figure known only as the Devil seeking to gain powerful artifacts and manipulate other beings to his side. When the Devil steals Sig's legendary ancient blade, Ale takes it upon himself to gain new power as the duo sets off to reclaim the blade and stop the Devil.
When faced with a bullet-hell scenario, the panic may start setting in before you even pick up the game - and this is why it's so important to make it fun. Dragon Pow hit the nail on the head to provide this with its gameplay and mechanics. The most prominent is its main gimmick of eating bullets. Ale gains the power to devour red enemy bullets as long as he's not moving, which is a creative alternative to just flying out of the way. The more bullets you absorb, the more powerful Ale's counterattack is, getting as impressive as shooting out countless fireballs and shockwaves to decimate groups of enemies.
The game also incorporates elements of Vampire Survivors in its progression. In an arcade-style game, the powerups need to be satisfying and stand out, which they certainly do. In between waves, Ale will get the chance to level up and choose one of several upgrades that can give his fire additional attacks, passively improve his stats, give him circling elemental orbs, change his size, and more. There are so many combinations as well as additional bonuses that come with choosing powerups with similar themes.
On top of that, the bosses are quite an enjoyable handful. As you get further along, you'll be expected to fight multiple bosses in a single run. Each encounter is tense but exciting, and every hit you get on the boss feels good. There's nothing more empowering than absorbing a whole batch of the boss' bullets at once and then unleashing bullet-hell upon them at point-blank range.
The more impact something has, the more likely it is to give you a bruise with a pain that lingers for a while. There's a noticeable sting that you'll notice from the punch of Dragon Pow, and that is the progression. After a solid build-up at the beginning, the bullet-hell really begins to take hold with Sig and Ale revealing just how delicate they are in the face of danger. This means you'll need to be doing a lot of grinding and practice to guarantee that you'll be able to beat the levels. There are no checkpoints, and as you face more waves and multiple tough bosses, it can be frustrating to have to keep repeating the same encounters.
Dragon Pow is a stylized 2D arcade bullet-hell game about a knight and his dragon eating bullets to take down the Devil and his followers. It's vibrant and exciting with an enjoyable mechanic and lots of variety to experience while going through the levels. The difficulty can seem overwhelming at times, but that just means that you need to play more. If you do, you might be able to deliver a dragon pow of your own.