I’ve never had strong opinions about a Rambo-inspired rat before, but now I know with every fiber of my being that Ratbo must die.
After the devious little bastard blew me up with home-made rockets, his demise was the only thing I thought of while cutting through the hordes of minions in between me and another chance at that ugly Ratbo chump. Every card I played and every consumable I chugged was picked solely for the purpose of building my character into the perfect Ratbo-killing weapon. And I was. I sent that sorry squealer to the grave without an ounce of remorse. And I did it all on live TV, with spectators cheering and robots snapping my photo over the slightly charred corpse.
These are the moments that got me hooked on Forced Showdown, and the reason that I can’t stop playing this awesome adrenaline-dripping arena battler. Cards, carnage, and puzzles mesh into a wonderfully entertaining, fast-paced brawler that’s perfect for a solo-player like me.
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Watch Me Play It
In the video, I incorrectly say the developer is “Betadog” — it’s actually Betadwarf. Sorry about that!
How It Works
- Choose 1 of 4 heroes, who each have 4 unique abilities — like a light-smiting cleric or an angry rager with a volcanic hammer.
- Build a deck from a pool of cards that can boost your hero’s stats, upgrade their abilities, or give them sweet, sweet consumable items.
- Enter the gauntlet — a series of arenas that lead up a big boss battle. These all have randomized rules that can help or hurt, and affect the number of enemies spawned. So repeating the same gauntlet gives a totally different experience.
- At the start of each arena, you draw cards and can choose to play them, like you would in Hearthstone. The effects will stack over the course of the mission to define your character’s build and playstyle.
- With the prep done, it’s fightin’ time! Use awesome powers to tear up the arena, which is filled with enemies, destructible objects, and hazards (like flame vents). And just when you think you’re safe, turrets rain from the heavens to disrupt your plans. Your goal is simple: kill them all.
- The controls are like a twin-stick shooter, where WASD (or left joystick) controls your movement and the mouse (or right joystick) controls the direction you aim. You’ll have to get creative with how your use your abilities (plus whatever your cards give you) to outsmart and outmaneuver the throngs of enemies going for your throat.
- Like the upgrades cards give you, your current health value is persistent through the whole gauntlet, so even little mistakes early on can hose you later down the line. You can put cards that heal you in your deck, but that’s one less buff or upgrade card you’ll have access to.
- As you beat gauntlets and face-stomp suckers, you’ll complete achievements to earn stat boosts and unlock more heroes, companions, and cards that you can use to take on harder challenges.
Why You Should Play It
- Real single-player challenges. I can’t remember the last time I died in tutorial, but the learning curve is so quick that I didn’t mind at all. Getting revenge kills on bosses like Ratbo feels so good.
- Little robots follow you around taking your picture constantly. My self-esteem has never been higher!
- Art is super charming and fun, with fun ragdoll physics and diverse settings like industrial, desert-steampunk, and high fantasy.
- Combat is fast-paced and gives the same sort of adrenaline rush as a MOBA, without the pressure or frustrations of multiplayer.
- Matches are fast, often under a minute, so you can crank through them to keep the virtual crowd HYPED!
- Abilities are multi-faceted with lots of channeled options that open up tons of tactics for the creative strategist.
- Cards have super clever mechanics on them. My favorite gives you an adorable puppy squire that runs around the arena. If you keep him alive for 1 round, you’ll get a permanent damage buff.
- There’s so much randomization baked into the levels, the rules, and the cards you draw that make me excited to replay maps over and over again to try out different builds and strategies.
- Cards + RPG + Arena = <3