The Showdown Effect Review

Showdown Effect

What do you get if you cross a platformer, a beat ‘em up and an action game? A Plaction ’em up? A Beactionformer? No. Don’t be stupid.  You get The Showdown Effect. Well, sort of, anyway.

Here’s the idea: take a platformer environment, featuring 2.5D graphics and the familiar vertical scrolling map, populate the map purely with online, multiplayer characters, provide them with an arsenal of firearms, melee and throwing weapons, then instruct them to wipe each-other out. Inspired by legendary titles Smash Bros and Liero, this is a game to get excited about. Run n’ gun is the order of the day, through beautifully designed maps, featuring destructible environments and pick-ups.

There is no single player campaign in TSE, no story to follow and no bots to pwn. This game is all about jumping into an online, multiplayer game as soon as possible. Sure, there is a tutorial, but this in no way prepares you for the mayhem of the real thing.

Multiplayer mode comes in two flavours: custom and ranked matches, both featuring up to eight players. Custom games have four game modes currently available: Last Man Standing (deathmatch), Team Elimination (team deathmatch) and a couple of variations on those themes – there are also unlockable rule mods to shake things up further. Ranked matches are pure Last Man Standing. The lobby system is quite wonderful and immediately intuitive; it even includes text chat (a world cheers). Worth noting, is that all servers are locally hosted. This causes me no problems, whether hosting or joining a game, but I know some people have issues with this.

As you might expect, successfully killing your enemies earns points, which can then be spent unlocking new characters, weapons and cosmetic items. For those with too much spare cash, cosmetic items can be bought with real-actual-money. Ker-ching.

The Showdown Effect is a PC game through and through. Made by PC gaming lovers, for PC gaming lovers. Mouse and keyboard are mandatory. There is no room for your sissy controller here, sonny Jim. This means you can expect a full range of video and control options, allowing as much tweaking as you desire. Mmmmm tweaking.

In a similar way to developer, Arrowhead’s recent mega-success, Magicka, TSE requires quite a bit of frenetic button-smashing to be successful. This, then, means tapping into those wonderful muscle-memory capabilities we have, if only we bothered to employ them. Yes, this requires quite a bit of practice to become any good at. Which means for the patient pupil, joyful rewards will come with a little time and grit. For the impatient, lots of frustration and tears. Not that memorising hundreds of spells is part of the deal, oh no. The nimble-fingers here are for running, jumping, flipping, sliding, climbing and killing. Lots and lots of killing.

I’ve played for around fourteen hours right now and have probably spent 75% of that time getting my ass well and truly handed to me. The last 25% of playtime has been rather more successful, though, I admit I have not actually won a game yet. Sadface.jpg. Just a few more hours and I’m sure I can finish first. Just a few more hours….

TSE is one of those games that sticks out from the crowd due to its originality and polish. The attention to detail is impressive throughout. Whether it’s the glorious maps, amusing voice acting, character animations or gameplay, this is the real deal. I’ve been jumping around like a flea on acid, swinging ma lightsaber and blasting ma rocket launcher like a giggling maniac. This game is fun. So much fun.

The characters are heavily influenced by classic action-movie stars – including one of the best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonations I have ever witnessed. Every character even has a special move, which when activated, prompts an incredibly cheesy action-movie line. Amazingly, this hasn’t even become annoying yet. The heavy metal guitar soundtrack has become annoying, though and began to melt my ears after around 30 minutes. That’s what volume options are for. Thank goodness.

Did I mention that you can buy this delicious treat of a game for the price of a take-away or couple of beers? Well, you can. So go and buy it and play it and tell your friends to buy it and have lots of wonderful fun.

Release Date: 5 March 2013
Developed By:  Arrowhead Game Studios
Published by: Paradox Interactive                                                                              Official Site

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Hardware Used:

Intel i5 3570k
ATI HD 7850 2GB
8 GB RAM

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This entry was posted by Ian Brown.

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