Follow Genre: action strategy RPG rogue-lite
Developer: BetaDwarf
Publisher: BetaDwarf
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC


Site Score
Good: Great graphics, deck building fun
Bad: No multiplayer, freezing loading screens
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

So many strategy games, so little time. You might enjoy the action of smashing your enemies, but also a card-playing element might be your thing…so what do you do, especially when you can’t decide between the two? Well, you need to try FORCED SHOWDOWN of course, the game that combines these two options- plus so much more!

Forced Showdown 1


Find yourself competing for your life in a Galactic Game Show, where quick reactions and a good strategy will keep you alive- and you must learn from your deaths so you don’t continually repeat them. C-SAR, the Computer-Simulated Arena Referee, is your host- and the architect of your demise! Well, actually…he’s the one who designs the environments you find yourself in…which will eventually end in your spectacular death, of course!

There isn’t much more to the story apart from this, which you would expect from an action strategy rogue-lite. However, the idea of having an arena of death with different enemies being thrown at you isn’t new, but it’s a fun premise, and it works really well here.


Graphically, FORCED SHOWDOWN is a very attractive game. The start screen itself has intricate circuit board designs that make you think instantly of the future, and the way that the ‘programs’ (the game’s different modes of gameplay) are advertised in the style of an old circus poster already sets the scene before you’ve even started playing. The environments themselves are wonderfully detailed, even down to the last barrel in the arena. The characters though are what really steal the show. Each one looks very unique, from C-SAR the computer referee announcing the game and what you need to do, to Rathbone the weird creature (the like Arnold Schwarzenegger sound-alike) in the top left hand corner that gives you tips. Trust us, this title is definitely a treat to the eye, regardless of whether you’re playing on rubbish graphics or on the highest end of the spectrum.

Forced Showdown 2


Another thing that FORCED SHOWDOWN does well in is its music. With each theme, it’s hard not to nod your head along to the beat since it’s all pretty epic strategy game music- with some of it having added choral elements which add to all that epicness. Even the defeat theme itself is really cool, so at least you won’t be annoyed too much even if you die repeatedly.

One minor drawback however is that there is no option for subtitles, which when considering that the two characters that give you the tips have difficult voices to understand at all times, is a bit unfair for those who are hard of hearing. It would be great if this could be added as an option in the future, as it will mean that all players can get the most out of the game.

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FORCED SHOWDOWN is an action strategy rogue-lite that employs a number of different elements to create a unique game. The controls are the usual WSAD for movement; hold down the left mouse button to attack; mouse movement to aim these attacks, and later on more buttons that allow you to use your special abilities. In addition, you also have R to skip cutscenes, which, with a game that makes you replay the whole part of a session after a defeat, is an absolute godsend. Holding the left mouse button can sometimes prove difficult for those just playing with a mousepad though, so the use of a mouse or controller is advised. You don’t want to die repeatedly, do you? Anyway, so far, all is fairly standard. It gets so much better, though.

In FORCED SHOWDOWN, there are four heroes to choose from: The Squire of Light, Ravager, Volco, and Stormbringer. As far as we can tell, these characters are designed for each type of player when it comes to strategy- meaning you won’t have to be stuck with a close combat hero when kiting is your main tactic. Then the use of decks come in. Fans of titles like Hearthstone will enjoy being able to use an unlimited combination of different cards for each hero, meaning that you can truly customise your gameplay to suit you as a player. What’s more is that you can use the in-game gold that you win from…well, winning to buy a ticket for the card lottery machine and have the chance to get some sweet, sweet cards. Companions also make an appearance during the game, which can give you a bonus in the arena if you don’t let it get killed- so make sure you take care of your animals!

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There are also three game modes to keep you entertained, if you want more variety. The Crucible is the first, and is the only mode that is unlocked at the start, and is an arena with several levels in which you must overcome your enemies to pass to the next one. Be careful about getting defeated though, or you’ll have to go straight to the beginning. Frontline is the second game mode, which can only be unlocked after completing the Crucible. Here, you will battle your way to the final titan Ruby von Wouthingtonne IV. The third and final mode is The Grand Return, which is unlockable through completing quests and entails battling your way to the final titan, [Classified].

If you’re worried about the level of difficulty, there’s no need. What might start off seemingly easy becomes increasingly more difficult on the next level of difficulty- especially when bosses draw random cards against you too, meaning you have to be on your toes at all times. And boy are the bosses challenging. Have no fear, though, for you will feel like a god when you finally manage to defeat them. Okay, maybe not like a god, but you will definitely be chuffed to bits.

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The online presence of FORCED SHOWDOWN is also prominent, what with an option to watch real people to play real games on Twitch (with a link offered in-game under the ‘Watch’ option). There are also servers dedicated to getting your daily achievements, although it has been noted that some people have had difficulty when it came to being kicked and trying to reconnect. One other minor complaint we have is that the game does have a tendency to freeze on loading screens, leading to Windows thinking it is no longer responding, but this does seem to right itself after a few moments. Hopefully it will be fixed at some point, but at the moment it just seems like patience is the key.

Perhaps another feature that would have been great to have, and will hopefully be added in the future, is the possibility of multiplayer. Truly, this game could be even better if you could play it with friends or online opponents rather than it solely being a one-person affair. Think of the potential carnage you could wreak with others…

Forced Showdown 5


FORCED SHOWDOWN is a really fun strategy game that, as far as we can see, doesn’t have that many negatives pinned to its name. After all, what with beautiful character and setting design, as well as awesome music, and a really interesting amount of customisation in terms of your deck and cards within the arena, what’s not to love? Perhaps the lack of a subtitle option is a small issue, as well as the slightly unreliable servers and freezing on loading screens, but these are fairly minute details considering how well this title delivers on all other cylinders. We also hope that multiplayer might feature one day. However, in its current stat, this certainly still is a game you can play again and again!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
FORCED SHOWDOWN - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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