Forced Showdown

Game review by
Marcia Morgan, Common Sense Media
Forced Showdown Game Poster Image
Violent action game show tries to hard to "force" fun play.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Mainly a battle-to-the-death beat-'em-up arena competition.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some characters might seem a little more, less heroic than others, but basically just cannon fodder tossed into a meat grinder. 

Ease of Play

Overly complicated controls. Even tutorial has a learning curve, lacking any sort of effective explanation for newcomers. 

Violence

Some exaggerated blood, gore, but cheesy nature, style of game lessen blow somewhat. Plus there's an in-game option to turn it off completely. 

Sex

Some characters in game, on virtual cards shown in revealing costumes. 

Language

"Damn" occasionally pops up during running commentary. 

Consumerism

Pseudo sequel of Forced, an action RPG.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some virtual cards feature art, characters smoking cigars, drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Forced Showdown is a single-player downloadable action role-playing game that also combines deck building and arena-style arcade play in one title. The game's story throws players into a last-man-standing, battle-royal-style arena fighting all manner of creatures with various magical and sci-fi-themed weapons and abilities. Despite appearances, Forced Showdown isn't exactly a "pick up and play" sort of game. It's pretty complicated and throws players right into the deep end without much help for newcomers. There's a lot of violence complete with blood and gore, but there's an option to turn this off. Parents might want to keep an eye on some of the characters, as they are sometimes shown in revealing clothing or doing things like smoking. 

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What's it about?

Congratulations! You've just become the latest contestant on FORCED SHOWDOWN, the hit intergalactic game show with a gladiatorial twist. On this show, we don't worry about pesky things such as trivia questions, missing letters, or what the survey says. No, on this show it's all about survival of the fittest. Players will need to build a deck of cards for special abilities to help them through the hazards of the arena and will need fast reflexes as they soften up their enemies with lighter strikes before triggering these powerful skills. No two games are alike, thanks to randomized gameplay. Call all your family and friends and tell them not to miss a moment of your stardom performance, which can be broadcast live to Earth through the wonders of Twitch streaming. Win and you'll take home some of the most exotic prizes this side of Horsehead Nebula. Lose and, well, we'll send your next of kin a copy of our fabulous home game. 

Is it any good?

This hybrid action-RPG tries very hard to succeed at many forms of gameplay, but overall it just falls flat. Most of the time, video games tend to cater to a specific audience with a love of a specific genre, but every once in a while, someone tries to mix things up and create a Frankenstein's monster that will have something for everyone. Forced Showdown is one of those games, blending elements of old-school twin-stick arcade shooters, deck building and card collection, and rogue-like action/RPG. Sadly, this particular mix of flavors is a little hard to swallow. For starters, the deck building part of the game feels out of place and adds an extra level of complication to what seems like a pretty straightforward shooter. Making matters worse, even playing through the game's long tutorial is a chore and never really does a good job of explaining things.

Forced Showdown does have personality but also more than a fair number of flaws. C-SAR, the robotic host of the show, provides some cheesy one-liners and play-by-play commentary, but he can get a bit grating and repetitive over time. The game is bright and colorful and has a very fun style, but that's only when you can get it to run smoothly. It feels like it's just barely chugging along sometimes. It's even possible to fit a Netflix marathon in during some of the game's loading times. It just feels like it's trying too hard to cram in too much without ever stopping to make sure it all works. As a result, Forced Showdown ends up feeling a bit forced on its audience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Would this game work if it didn't have the blood or gore from the combat? Is it acceptable because you have the option to turn the level of violence off?

  • Families can talk about catering to an audience. What is the appeal of game shows or reality shows that depict contestants dropped into a situation and suffering for entertainment (for example, Survivor, Ninja Warrior, Wipeout, etc.)?

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