Reviews, Video Games

Katie Plays Stuff: Forced Showdown

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Forced Showdown is a fairly interesting and rather clever game.

The game is basically a combination of a top down action RPG with a customizable card game. It takes place in a kind of weird, futuristic gladiatorial arena where your fights are being broadcast to the masses. It’s sort of like Magic: The Gathering meets The Hunger Games, except with your character actually entering the ring willingly.  You go through different stages, each of which culminate in a boss fight. At each different arena, you gain mana which can be used to play cards that allow you to heal, summon useful companions, and upgrade your character.

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The best part of the game for me, though, is its sense of humor. This is quite obviously a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this comes through in its often hilarious dialog and some of the bosses. For instance, one of the first bosses in the game is called Ratbo the Exterminator:

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He is a Rambo parody who talks like a squeaky-voiced Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another boss, Jahun, is basically a grumpy old man made of rocks who, at the beginning of his fight, actually shouts “Get off my lawn!” at the player.

I found the keyboard controls to be somewhat clunky and unwieldy, but, thankfully, the game is compatible with a gamepad, which I found much easier. This may be a matter of personal preference, however, as I mostly play console games  The game’s art style is very colorful (which is good in an era where a lot of games are mostly brown), with somewhat cartoony character models that do a good job of reflecting the game’s sense of humor. The sound direction is also very good, with and excellent score and voice acting cast.

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It’s not a particularly easy game, however. I actually had to try campaigns several times because I died. A lot. Of course, this may not necessarily speak to the difficulty of the game itself, but may just be me being bad at games. I took some gameplay footage earlier, so you can all watch me suck at it:

This game is actually quite addictive. While the controls do take a little getting used to, once I started to get the hang of it, I found it rather difficult to put down. It also has one of the most entertaining game over screens I’ve seen in a while (and that’s a good thing, since I saw the game over screen a lot):

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Right on, game over screen.

I should note that the history of the studio, a Danish developer called BetaDwarf, is worth a read as well. It looks like they had to go through quite a few obstacles to get their game out there.

In conclusion, Forced Showdown is a fun and funny little game. It is currently available on Steam for $19.99, and I highly recommend checking it out.

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