In most shooters, a player is rewarded by earning upgrades to their equipment making them more powerful, even if the enemy stays weaker. But what if that system were flipped on its head and you became weaker as you went along? DeGrade is an arena shooter that puts that idea to the test. Your (unexpectedly cute) bear protagonist can be moved using [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, and fires all of his weapons simultaneously when you hold the mouse button. After each wave of enemies, whatever weapon caused the most damage in that wave will be downgrad— sorry, degraded. Sometimes your weapon simply weakens a bit, sometimes you lose it entirely. After several waves of enemies, you'll get a much needed upgrade before entering the next world... and losing everything again.
We really like the game theory-ish idea of becoming weaker as the game continues, forcing you to play with more skill rather than more firepower. If you're careful, you can force a certain weapon to be the next one to degrade by making sure it does the most damage, which adds an extra layer of strategy to the game. Unfortunately, there is a flaw in that if you're constantly moving, you'll take very little damage and the game becomes significantly easier, and the game's main conceit loses its edge. However, DeGrade is still an interesting illustration the ideas you can create when you take the Overused Game Mechanics Handbook (2nd ed.) and toss it in the wood chipper.