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Timed Power-Up

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Power Ups usually don't last forever. One common limiting factor is to have them expire after a set amount of time. This is very common with Invincibility Power Ups, where a limiting factor is necessary to avoid a Game-Breaker but other such factors like losing the Power-Up upon taking damage don't make sense. Also common with Quad Damage. Nearly always accompanied by an indicator to tell you how long it lasts, whether it be a timer in the HUD, a visual effect that gradually fades, or a Power Up Motif.

In arena-based games such as First Person Shooters, these Power Ups often respawn in the same place on a fixed timer, making knowledge of their location and respawn timing a key element of strategy. Even in single-player games, knowing the rules for when and where such Power Ups can be collected or activated helps to get the maximum possible utility out of them before time expires. If they are activated immediately upon pickup and placed in spots where they are not of immediate use, can cause Power Up Let Down.

A Sub-Trope of Power-Up and Status Buff. Compare Breakable Weapons, which wear out from use instead of over time, and Super Mode and Hour of Power, similar tropes that are story- as opposed to gameplay-mechanics-based.


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  • In the original Bomberman on NES, all of the power-ups are permanent unless you get killed, with one exception: the "?" power-up, the game's Invincibility Power-Up, lasts only a certain amount of time.
  • In Dodge, both the black trailed and white trailed power-ups wear off after a few seconds. The fire-trailed power-ups don't use this, as their effect is instantaneous.
  • Each of the power-ups in Ghostrunner has a blue meter that depletes until the power-up is gone. Each lasts a few seconds, with the high jump going the fastest and disappearing as soon as you use it.
  • Pac-Man's power pellet works as the Invincibility Power-Up variety.
  • Some power-ups in Temple Run, including the coin magnet and shield, are timed. You can increase the duration of these power-ups by upgrading them with in-game coins.

     Action RPG 
  • Diablo franchise:
    • Every game since the first Diablo features Shrines, stationary objects with random effects that commonly include temporary buffs to speed, defense, offense, experience gain, etc. A common strategy in Diablo III is to clear out the enemies in an area without activating its shrines, then run through the area activating all of them as quickly as possible to stack several bonuses before teleporting into a challenging area such as a rift, Whimseyshire, or a boss fight.
    • Diablo III introduces Nephalem Glory, Power Ups which randomly drop from enemies and grant a temporary buff to damage. Picking up additional Nephalem Glory orbs resets the timer and stacks additional bonuses up to three levels, while picking up health globes extends the timer slightly.
  • In E.V.O.: Search for Eden, eating one of the rare red crystals gives you a powerful form based on a real or mythological creature for a few minutes. This includes the Dragon form found inside the cloud maze in Era 3. These can be recorded like any normal form and used again with a green crystal, though still on a time limit.


     Beat'em Up 
  • In the various Dynasty Warriors games (From the original Dynasty Warriors to Samurai Warriors and to Gundam, Fist of the North Star and Hyrule), power-ups are available to increase your character's strength, speed and musou. The only catch is that it can last for at least a few minutes.
  • The Bloody Rose lollipops and the Yellow Moon lollipops from the Bayonetta franchise only last for a short time, with their Mega versions lasting twice as long. This presumably is because they only work for as long as Bayonetta is eating them.
  • In Wonder Momo, Momo can transform into her Henshin Hero form, Wonder Momo, when she builds up her "WONDER" bar and touches a tornado power-up. Being in this form gives her a Wonder Hoop projectile and other extra attacks in addition to her standard melee attacks, but slowly drains her "WONDER". When it runs out, she returns to her regular form. Since the whole game is a parody of toku, it serves as a reference to the timed transformations of heroes from Ultraman and similar series.

     Fighting Game 

     First-Person Shooter 
  • Heretic. The following Power Ups only give their benefit for a limited period of time: Torch (can see in darkness for 120 seconds), Shadowsphere (invisibility for 60 seconds), Tome of Power (increased weapon damage/effect for 40 seconds), Ring of Invulnerability (immune to all attacks for 30 seconds), and Wings of Wrath (allow flight for 60 seconds).
    • The invention of jumping, plus characters with different movement speeds, led to the timer on the Wings being removed for Hexen. Level design changed so that the Wings aren't available until any platforming puzzles have been solved in a hub; once found they're available until moving on (and still useful for combat mobility, especially against the Death Wyvern).
  • The Power Ups in the Quake games' multiplayer modes (as well as the SP mode of Quake) not only last for a limited time, they also respawn on a regular timer, allowing expert players to attempt to return precisely when it respawns in order to maximize the amount of time they spend in a buffed state.
  • Unreal series:
  • Serious Sam series:
    • All the games have the Serious Damage powerup, which usually lasts 40 seconds, except in II where it lasts 60 seconds instead. Bogus Detour renames the item as "Serious Strength", but the effect and duration are still the same.
    • Serious Sam: The Second Encounter and Serious Sam II have the Invisibility item, which lasts 30 seconds.
    • TSE, II, Serious Sam: Next Encounter and Serious Sam: Double D have the Invulnerability powerup, which lasts 30 seconds.
    • TSE, II, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter and Serious Sam: Bogus Detour have the Serious Speed powerup, which increases Sam's movement speed for 20 seconds in TSE, 25 in II and 30 in Bogus Detour.
    • Serious Sam II has the "Serious Jump", which allows the players to jump five times higher for 60 seconds.
    • Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope has the Drone Squad (which summons five drones that help Sam over 25 game seconds), Money Time (which increases the amount of credits earned by Sam during 20 seconds), and Rage (which doubles the rate of fire of Sam's weapons during 10 seconds).
  • Many of the power-ups in id Software's Doom series have a time limit. Invulnerability turns things photonegative, renders the player immune to damage and lasts twenty seconds. Invisibility that makes the player tough to hit accurately lasts about thirty seconds. Radiation suits that shield the player from passive hazard damage turns things greenish and lasts about forty seconds.

  • League of Legends: Many large monsters in the jungle give power-ups when killed. Baron Nashor gives a powerful timed Status Buff to your whole team if you defeat him, as does Vilemaw, his analogue on the Twisted Treeline map. Control of the "red" and "blue" buffs (as they're affectionately known) granted by the Brambleback and the Sentinel, respectively, is considered an important objective on Summoner's Rift. The Dragon normally provides a series of team-wide permanent buffs, but killing it five times in a single game results in a temporary boost that triples the bonuses of all the other four buffs.

  • Elsword: There are "aura" and "potion" items dropped in dungeons (and randomly in PVP) that give whoever take them temporary buffs, such as stronger attacks or increased body size.

  • The Super Mario Bros. franchise:
    • The Starman, which debuted in Super Mario Bros., is the Trope Codifier. It makes Mario flash different colors and inverts the game's usual Collision Damage: rather than Mario dying on contact with enemies, the reverse becomes true. It is accompanied by an iconic Power Up Motif and when the track ends, so does the effect. It is often placed directly before a sequence of enemies clustered close enough together that, if Mario defeats them all in rapid succession with the Starman, he can rack up large amounts of points, sometimes enough to earn a 1-Up.
    • Super Mario 64 DS, New Super Mario Bros., New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D World also feature a Mega Mushroom that make Mario a giant and also make him impervious to normal enemies, as well as ram through anything, including pipes, flagpoles, and all types of blocks. Additionally, in New Super Mario Bros. you get 1-Ups based on how much destruction you caused after the time runs out.
    • The Fire and Ice Flowers and the Red Star which grants flight work this way in Super Mario Galaxy and sequel. Notably, the Fire Flower traditionally lasts until Mario is hit in most previous games in the series. Here, it is usually placed only where it can be used to solve puzzles, and respawns as soon as the timer ends so that Mario can re-collect it and try the puzzle over again.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby's Dream Land features three:
      • The Invincibility Candy, which has remained a series staple ever since its introduction here (appearing in every mainline game except Kirby's Dream Land 2), makes Kirby immune to damage for a brief period of time and allows him to inflict Collision Damage on enemies until it wears off.
      • The Superspicy Curry and Mint Leaf allow Kirby to continuously breathe fire and spit air puffs, respectively, for a brief period of time. The latter additionally allows him to float indefinitely until it wears off, and a permanent version is provided for the boss battle against Kaboola.
    • Kirby's Return to Dream Land: The "super abilities", as opposed to regular abilities, will go away after about a minute. It's to balance the fact that these abilities are VERY powerful and capable of clearing through levels and dealing major damage to enemies on his way.
  • In the Crash Bandicoot series, picking an Aku Aku mask gives you a Single-Use Shield. However, if you collect 3 of them, you'll become invincible for about 30 seconds before Aku Aku reverts to its normal state.
  • In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, there are some pedestals which Spyro can run through to get a special ability, such as free flight or fireball breath, that lasts for a limited time depending on the place he gets it.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic's Invincibility Power-Up and running shoes work on a timer.
  • In The Addams Family game for Sega Genesis, Gomez can collect a timed Invincibility Power-Up in certain sections, as well as a helicopter cap that lets him fly for a limited time.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SuperSponge features items like the Karate Glove, Squeaky Boots, and Glove World Balloon which each last for the short time. Respectively, they grant you karate chops, walking on spikes, and floaty jumps.

     Racing Game 
  • Mario Kart:
    • The Starman from the Super Mario Bros. platformers returns in the Mario Kart games, where it not only confers invincibility and inverts Collision Damage but also increases the user's speed and acceleration for the duration.
    • The Bullet Bill and Chain Chomp do all of the above, plus vastly increase the player's hitbox and put their kart on auto-pilot. The latter effect can turn this into a Power Up Letdown when it causes the player to miss lucrative shortcuts and item boxes or otherwise take a sub-optimal route.
    • The Golden Mushroom allows the user to use an unlimited number of speed boosts (identical to the single-use Mushroom Power-Up) for a limited time. Tends to make the user hard to control unless they're lucky enough to get it right before a series of straightaways. It also takes up an item slot until the effect expires, which tends to last just long enough to make them miss the next item box.
    • The Lightning Bolt is something of an inversion; rather than boosting the user directly, it shrinks every opponent on the track, slowing them down and making them vulnerable to getting run over by the sole normal-sized player left. The effect wears off after a short time.
    • Similar to the Lightning Bolt, the Blooper covers all enemies' screens in blinding ink for a short time. In the Nintendo DS versions it's pretty easy for a human player to steer by the map on the second screen, but computer-controlled karts will veer wildly.
  • The All-Star power-up in Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed makes you temporarily faster and invincible.
  • Mickey's Speedway USA features the Shield Shell, which is the equivalent of the Mario Kart Starman and grants you temporary invincibility.

  • Dungeons of Dredmor has certain rooms that grant a temporary one-time bonus if you step on a tile, drink from a fountain, or whatnot.
  • While most power-ups in The Binding of Isaac last until you leave the current room, there's still a few of these. The Chariot card, for example, makes you temporarily invulnerable and lets you deal damage to enemies by charging into them, and the Rune of Algiz gives you a temporary shield that blocks all damage.