Power ups play an integral role in the outcome of not only single battles but sometimes an entire game. An effectively used power up can often swing the favor of a number of situations towards the player who is using the power up. There are currently five power ups in Altitude of which one of them, the Bomb, is unique in that it is the only way to damage an enemy base in a TBD game. The other four power ups have different uses and effects to give an advantage to the player using the power up. They are often placed in key areas on both FFA and TBD maps and slowly fade into the game as they become closer to being available to be picked up. It is often in the players best interest to control areas of the map that contain power ups as well as try to deprive their opponents of power ups in order to shift the advantage towards themselves in an FFA or towards their team in a TBD game. If someone is carrying a power up and their plane is shot down, the power up will be ejected from their plane and is available to be picked up by any player in the game who flies over it.
The shield power up is a very powerful tool that can be used in many different situations in game. Its main function is to provide a forward facing barrier that protects the plane from incoming fire and it lasts for a few seconds. However, it doesn't block/absorb the incoming enemy fire, but rather reflects the fire back towards your opponents in the game. It is very effective in individual dogfights as well as bigger fights in which multiple enemy planes are unleashing their arsenal of weapons. It is also very effective to have your team's bomb carrier follow you into enemy territory while you have the shield active as it will protect the bomb carrier from potentially getting shot down. The shield can also be used to reflect the opposing team's big Bomb and can be the last line of defense in order to protect your base from damage. If a bomb that an ally reflects hits an enemy base, it does the same amount of damage as it would if an ally had simply dropped a bomb.
Keep in mind that the Shield can be penetrated if the enemy plane is close enough, as the enemy's weapon will fire from inside the shield. Enemy Explodet rockets that are reflected can still be detonated manually, as well as remote mines, and the Miranda's fully-charged laser will simply be absorbed by the shield, not reflected.
The wall power up in unique in that it is the only item in game that can create an object that is collidable by enemy planes. It also causes an EMP effect on any enemy plane that runs into it, which is the same EMP effect that is caused by the Loopy secondary attack in both the Loopy's Tracker and Double Fire game play modes. Its main function is to deploy a wall that is perpendicular and behind you plane when you use it and it lasts for a few seconds before losing energy and falling apart. It is very effective at blocking off choke points as well as halting a pursuer in their tracks. It is especially good at stopping an enemy bomb carrier from successfully making it to your base or as a blockade to stop an enemy bomb from hitting the base. One of the keys to good wall placement is to not activate it until the following enemies won't have time to react and get out of the way. Walls can also be used to block off enemy fire. In the ball game mode, the ball collides with the wall no matter who shot the ball. Thus, a teammate should be careful before laying down a wall as it could bounce a helpful pass away from the desired location.
When launched, the missile power up flies straight until it locks on to any enemy plane or collides with an object. Acquired targets that fail to take immediate evasive action are likely to suffer a potentially fatal direct hit. Exploding missiles can hurt both their user and their targets, so plan missile use accordingly. Missiles can also be reflected towards their users by the Shield power up. Missiles try to lock onto and follow the enemy for a certain amount of time, but if the enemy manages to evade the missile or dies, it is not uncommon for the missile to then lock onto a new player. This behavior of missiles allows for killing of a member of one's own team if the correct situation arises. While often reported as a bug, this missile behavior was purposefully included by the developers to make the missile a bit more interesting as a weapon. A nifty trick that mirandas, excluding time anchor, can do is to reverse and shoot the missile at the same time. This shoots at the missile in the original horizontal direction that the miranda was moving before the reverse. However, the missile is facing the backwards direction, in the direction that the miranda is after the reverse. Thus the missile changes direction and then pursues a target.
The health power up is currently the only power up that gives an instant effect and does not get placed in your power up inventory. It is unique in that it is the only power that can be picked up while you are carrying another power up. Its only effect is to give your plane a full heal, no matter how low your plane's health is at the time of picking it up. However, the heal is not instant, it heals over a short period of time. So getting this power up is not a guaranteed escape from certain death. Also remember that health does not cancel acid effects. If you are getting hit with enemy fire at the time of picking up this power up, the damage is often greater than the health that is being acquired over time, which often results in your plane being shot down. The best application of this power up is to pick it up and then ensure it has enough time to take effect before returning to battle. It offers a quicker method to regain your health without either having to pick up the lesser health packs that are left by destroyed enemy planes or returning to your team's base in a TBD match in order to regain full health.
The bomb power up is an unusual power up that is often unique to TBD game modes. It is the only weapon that can damage an enemy base in order to achieve victory in a TBD match. In the TBD matches it can either be a team specific power up or a neutral power up like all the other power ups. If it is a team specific power up then there will be a colored circle around the bomb that indicates which team it belongs to, while a neutral bomb will look like all the other power ups and will not have a colored border surrounding it. The bomb is also unique in that it(and the demolition charge) are the only two power ups that are displayed on the plane of the person who is carrying them. This makes the player who is carrying it a prime visual target for enemy planes. When the bomb is picked up by a player it will immediately display a tracking icon on all the players' screens that are currently in the game. This allows for your teammates to help find and escort a friendly bomb carrier and it also lets you track and shoot down enemy bomb carriers. The tracking icon adjusts its size and location based on where the bomb is currently on the map. So it gets bigger as it is approaching your playing area and smaller as it gets farther away. It also tracks the altitude of bomb carrier by moving up and down the side of your screen. One key difference between a team specific bomb and a neutral bomb is that an enemy team can never pick up a team specific bomb that's been ejected from an opposing team's plane that's been shot down, but they can pick up a neutral bomb that has been ejected from an opposing team's plane that's been shot down. However, a team specific bomb can be defused if an enemy plane flies over it after the plane carrying it has been shot down. This difference means that sometimes dropping a neutral bomb when you are close to your base is the best course of action because an enemy player can quickly pick it up and drop it on your base if you aren't careful about protecting it. The bomb power up is the most important power up in TBD games and it shouldn't be activated for no reason as the number of bombs your team gets is limited by its spawn timer. Also, a bomb can be reflected by a Shield power up and also can be blocked by a Wall power up, so using those power ups defensively is often a good strategy to prevent damage to your own team's base. If the reflected bomb hits an enemy base, it does the same amount of damage as it would if you dropped it originally.
The ball is generally unique to the BALL game mode. Unlike other powerups, the ball gives a player no additional combative capabilities. In fact, a plane that is carrying the ball loses speed, climbing, and turning ability while carrying the ball. Faster travel with the ball can be accomplished by passing between teammates or dribbling the ball by passing or bouncing it back to yourself. Players can score points in BALL mode by either flying into the enemy goal while carrying the ball, or shooting the ball into the enemy's goal. The enemy goal is marked with a goal indicator while a player is carrying the ball. The ball can be blocked by opponents who are not carrying a powerup, or by walls placed in its path. Unlike the missile or bomb, the ball will not pass through friendly walls. Unlike the bomb, the ball is always neutral, meaning that players from either team can catch, carry, and score with the ball. Players cannot, however, score on their own goal. When the ball is picked up, the player carrying the ball will be marked on all other players screens with a tracking icon. Like the bomb, the tracking icon indicates direction to the ball with its poistion on screen, and distance to the ball by its size. This tracking indicator means that the ball is usually the center of the action in BALL mode, and a player carrying the ball is typically the primary target of enemy players. A loose ball will also be marked with a tracking icon. If a loose ball is not picked up within a short time, it will be lost, and reset to a neutral starting position. After a team scores, the ball is reset near the team that was scored upon, giving them first possession of the ball before the next goal.
The demolition charge is utilized in the 1DE game mode and is very similar to the ball power up in feel and usage. Like the ball, the charge gives a player no additional combative capabilities and severely limits the mobility of any plane carrying it. For this reason, it is often advantageous to pass the charge to teammates or dribble it in order to gain speed and mobility when not carrying it. Like the ball, the demolition charge does not pass through friendly walls. The infiltration team in 1DE attempts to plant the demolition charge on one of the enemy team's bases by landing on it. When the charge is planted, a colored indicator appears on the defending team's screens and a countdown begins until it detonates. The defending team must land on the base housing the charge and defuse it before it blows up in order to win. If they fail to save their base, the infiltration team is victorious.