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One Of Steam’s Shiniest Hidden Gems Just Landed on Nintendo Switch

This sci-fi shooter feels deceptively simple — until it’s not.

Power of 10 game
Pew Times Three
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I find myself in a sea of mostly pitch-black, broken up by a few Earth-like planets here and there, which were connected by fast travel Warp Gates for convenience. As I swim through space in one of 10 unlockable starfighters, leaving fat puffs of exhaust behind me, I observe the octopus-shaped aliens that occasionally flap past, like bats, and the sweep of distant, shining stars that play an eternal backdrop. Moments later, I’ll be dead.

Power of Ten feels like a true hidden gem, the kind with such a secret existence, you're glad you found it, but surprised you did. It has a "very positive" rating on Steam, where it was initially released in 2023, but that rating comes from under two hundred reviews (pretty low by Steam standards). Its developer, Pew Times Three, is just one guy, Andrew Richardson. His social media presence barely exists aside from a few Reddit posts promoting Power of Ten as his first commercial game. Its new Nintendo Switch port, out March 20, probably would have similarly slunk under the radar if I hadn't happened to have noticed it slouching between bigger-name releases Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection and Princess Peach: Showtime!

The game's introduction adds a bit of backstory for the ship's unseen captain.

Pew Times Three

Everything about Power of Ten is more understated than those other games, but understated doesn't mean unimpressive. Even with its lo-fi pixel art, this twin-stick shooter roguelite excels at summoning the smoke and possibilities of the endless galaxy. And, after spending a few hours with it, I've found that its Nintendo Switch port feels great to play.

But first, I had to accept my status as a lone spaceship equipped with projectiles. The game's introduction adds a bit of backstory for the ship's unseen captain — Jonio, an explorer stranded in unstudied space — but you don't need to worry about him to enjoy the experience. Power of Ten gives you a very clear goal: no matter how many warships the mysterious and nefarious Deadeye army surrounds you with, save as many planets as possible. And if Deadeye's missiles prove to be too much for your one-person rebellion, try to relax and enjoy the permadeath. There's always a new procedurally generated map to spawn into.

These maps, at first glance, are deceptively empty.

Pew Times Three

These maps, at first glance, are deceptively empty; leisurely, even. I'd make my way over to a lumpy gray meteorite, blast it open with my single laser beam, and collect the minerals and gas bubbles that popped out. These resources repower defunct Planetary Shield Generators, which deploy a protective force field around nearby planets. I didn't immediately understand the need for this, or for the many spoils that restarting a Generator awarded me — including boxes of ammo, heavy missiles, and power-up improvements to my armor — until I ran into a random Deadeye fleet and blew up.

As you progress through Power of Ten, these enemy ships become more varied and aggressive. I was surprised when a manageable group of tiny, missile-deploying spaceships eventually turned into a flood of big, medium, and small ships — still with missiles, but also far-reaching lasers, and the ability to coat my feeble fighter with acid. Progressing through levels naturally earns you a handful of upgrades, and there are a few freighter ships that sell you new weapons, too. But, frustratingly, most of these power-ups don't immediately feel as powerful as the upgrades in comparable casual roguelites, like Vampire Survivors. So sometimes, while playing Power of Ten, I felt punished, watching the five notches in my health bar pitifully deplete.

You might not be able to save the world, but it's worth a shot.

Pew Times Three

Nonetheless, fragility is what I ultimately valued most about my fighter. There's a counter right under the map on the heads-up display that keeps track of all the lives you saved, and then in red, those you lost. These numbers fluctuate as you succeed or flounder against Deadeye, and, even after only an hour of playing, I noticed my heart stuttering as the "Lost" counter increased. With its lonely, dangerous maps and perhaps lackluster power-up system, Power of Ten makes you acutely aware of the fact that you're the galaxy's last and only hope. It's not ideal — you're weak, and you're only really helping out of necessity. Deadeye is attacking you, too. You'd rather be at home with the door locked.

But you're not, you're in space. Power of Ten forces you to make the most of it, and fortify yourself with generosity and drive. There aren't many shooters capable of motivating you with this sort of empathetic scrappiness, and so I think you should grab Power of Ten's new Switch port. You might not be able to save the world, but it's worth a shot.

Power of 10 is available on Steam and Nintendo Switch.

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