Forced Showdown: PAX East 2016

The Indie Mega Booth at this year’s PAX East was bursting with brilliant new games for the public. While some games were being shown to let the public know of something coming down the pipeline, some games were there to generate hype for an already launched product. One such game was Forced: Showdown from Beta Dwarf studios.

Forced: Showdown shares the same name as Beta Dwarf’s previous game, ‘Forced,’ but the two boast two very distinctive and unique styles of gameplay from one another. While the first Forced was more akin to a Diablo-style dungeon crawl, Showdown looks to cash in on the continued and expanding success of digital deck building games. However it doesn’t rely on that game style exclusively, mixing in a hearty helping of massive online battle area with a dash of some old school, ‘Smash TV.’

In Showdown, players find themselves trapped within a galactic game show officiated by a floating computer screen with a face named C-SAR, which stands for Computer-Simulated Arena Referee. C-SAR informs the players that they are here to entertain the galactic audience and, if they manage to survive the subsequent challenges, they will (maybe) be freed. From that point on players are launched into challenge after challenge of arena based murder, mayhem, and destruction. Wave after wave of enemies will be unleashed at you and you must use your character effectively if you hope to survive. But rather than level up after a successful round, players are given the option of choosing cards.

The cards in Showdown lend a nice layer of strategy to the game, as you will be forced to build and use your decks before, during, and after gameplay. The cards are standard affair and award your player additional buffs, abilities, and sometimes even a minion that can assist in the battle arenas. Knowing which cards to play and when to play them can be critical at times and could be the difference between victory and bloody defeat.

The Beta Dwarf team were very happy with their base product and wanted all testers to know that they will be continuing to tweak Showdown well into the year. There is also talk of a major DLC bundle due out in August to provide players with more cards, arenas, and characters to choose from.

While Showdown was graphically stunning with fun, thumping tunes to drive the game play, the challenges themselves began to feel stale after a relatively short while. The excitement of new cards and new abilities, even unlocking and playing as new characters, didn’t help the over all stagnant and repetitive feel to Showdown. The game is still getting positive reviews on Steam and gamers looking for an arena challenger may want to spend some time with this one. If you are on the fence about Showdown, it could be argued that you should wait until Steam puts this one on sale and then grab it. I personally don’t think you should feel forced into paying full price for it.