Forced Showdown (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 04.04.2016

Review for Forced Showdown on PC

Forced Showdown mixes some varied gameplay elements to create a novel format that, while plagued with some issues has some real potential if fixed. The title itself is an overhead twin-stick shooter that is modified by a deck-building aspect to give it a RPG flavour that actually works quite well.

Forced Showdown is hard; Nintendo-hard, break the controller hard, and this is perhaps its biggest flaw in an otherwise pretty solid package. It starts off in a tutorial where you learn to move with one stick, aim with the other one (standard twin-stick shooter), while adding RPG elements such as spells/abilities. Generally, there are a couple of enemies that must be engaged using a regular attack and a couple of skills until the board is clear. It takes place over a series of short rounds in a random 'dungeon' of sorts before the next level. It adequately explains how everything works… except the fact players are likely to die a frustratingly high amount and may not even make it out of the tutorial.

Difficulty is nothing new in a genres like shmups, which are built around precise manoeuvres to avoid death, but games that are this way - if well done - make it obvious what was done wrong, or how it's possible to do better next time. In here enemies vary so wildly from one level to the next, that a fully-healed, fully loaded character can get ploughed down before there is any indication something is going wrong. In the reverse direction, occasionally only being one hit away from death and multiple levels can be cleared simply by bull rushing enemies who stand around idle.

Screenshot for Forced Showdown on PC

This is quite unfortunate, some its aspects are pretty cool, such as the when the 'mana' the player has to spend/equip new cards constantly increases. What this means is that, out of each deck of cards a player customizes, he/she will receive a few of them, something like "Increase spell damage by 30," "Cost 2," or "Heal 100, Cost 2," a decision that must be made carefully, given that most cards comes late. It is a fun concept to see the deck-building out of combat come into play, hoping that just the right card drops at the right time.

What this means, is each run in a dungeon could be very different, sometimes it is perfect where the cheap cards come early when there is little mana, and the best cards late; compared to a bad deal that has to be endured because the right cards aren't coming. It is a good balance of a risk-versus-reward element that is fairly well handled.

Time clearly went into this with the depth of cards, multiple characters to pick from, and various status effects, but at this point the very harsh curve will drive many people away. The developer seems open and responsive, which is a rarity in the gaming world, so this might be a title to look into if any of the genres it is mixed from have any appeal.

Screenshot for Forced Showdown on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Forced Showdown combines overhead twin-stick combat, with a deck building RPG element that works very well and is pretty novel. Its major flaw is the unforgiving and random difficulty, and the ever present threat that even perfect runs can come to a sudden end that leaves the player feeling that it is unfair and the hill to climb simply too steep despite the what good elements there are here.

Developer

BetaDwarf

Publisher

BetaDwarf

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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