Forced Showdown is a rogue-like from Betadwarf, an indie developer from Denmark, and sees you play from a top-down perspective and has unique strategy mechanics. The game has deckbuilding that combines the action and ability to build decks of cards that suit your playstyle.
Forced Showdown is a single player game that has rogue-like elements but introduces some unique mechanics. The gameplay is all about trying out different strategies and finding what best suits you. You will die fairly often but that’s ok as it’s about learning from each time you die to improve on the next run. The main game has three main sections that have various difficulties and lengths. The sections are built up of a number of areas that are used as battle arenas. The game is presented in a game show world that sees you battling in chaotic arenas, with a commentator voicing what is happening.
These arenas are where you will face waves of enemies that are varied and possess different attacks. In a typical area there are around eight waves and this means you have to keep an eye on your health along with managing your deck. You will also face bosses after the waves of bad guys, that bring very different attacks and abilities. It may seem like there is a lot going on with the action and card system but in actual fact all that you need to worry about is taking out the enemies whilst using mana and cards to aid you. You keep going until you die and then spend your earnings on better cards for your deck. So each time you start over you are actually improving your character.
There are four characters to choose from with unique attacks and abilities. The game has taken two characters from the original Forced game and added two brand new ones. I loved the option to choose various companions to fight alongside you. At the beginning of each round you can spend your mana to use randomly drawn cards that grant you abilities and boosts like buffs, healing or timed abilities. The developers compared the card system to the popular Hearthstone game combined with lots of action.
The gameplay is great and does a good job of blending all these mechanics together to create a satisfying experience. I’m a huge fan of games like Gauntlet and Diablo 3 and tis game clearly takes inspiration from those titles. Action is relentless as you face multiple enemies in small arenas. I found it was vitally important to keep moving in order to survive. There are various objects and obstacles in the areas that can be a great way of hiding behind cover. The aspect of having the card system adds a second layer of gameplay to the existing skill based mechanics. I really enjoyed the option to choose which cards to use whilst keeping an eye on my mana. You only get one chance to get through the stage and it therefore becomes vital that you carefully optimize your deck to its fullest. It also has a deck editor that lets you make different 30 card decks, you can make multiple decks for each character and it will allow you the chance to use certain decks for different situations you encounter during the game show. Forced Showdown also has a wheel of fortune mini game. You use currency that you gain during the matches to purchase wheel spins, giving you the opportunity to win different items, including new cards.
The presentation looks great, with interesting and varied environments to battle in. I enjoyed the four playable characters and also thought that the enemies were varied enough to keep the combat entertaining. The bosses feel a little generic but they do mix gameplay up a bit after wiping out hoards of smaller enemies. The graphics are polished and looked great on PC. The game has a vibrant and playful style that you might see from something like a Ratchet and Clank game. The animations of the characters are smooth and overall the game runs very well. The sound design is very good with the commentator calling the action and injects some humour to the game.
Forced Showdown at first glance may seem like a game that is just about mindless combat, which it is on one level, but it also introduces the unique deckbuilding aspect that is what makes this game stand out. The strategic card selection and management combined with satisfying action makes for an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I enjoyed seeing my character slowly become more powerful as you gain better cards that will help you progress further. If you like top-down rogue like games but want something that adds some unique twists, then I would highly recommend this game.
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