Paradox Interactive has some quirky games under its wings for a publisher mostly associated with stuffy titles like Europa Universalis. By far the quirkiest are the people over at Arrowhead Studios, who are previously responsible for laugh riot Magicka. With their latest title The Showdown Effect, they’re keeping this reference-heavy pop culture joke going in an exclusively multiplayer action game, viewed in 2D. While not without flaw, there will definitely be laughs in this explosive title and there is potential for some amazing action sequences.
Partially responsible for this atmosphere is the game’s carbon copy of 80s action movies. References like almost-retired cops, generic action heroes and so on pass the revue of almost inappropriate characters, parading in multi-tiered stages. From castles to cityscapes, levels are filled with multiple platforms to jump on, walls to climb, crevices to slide under and more. This, paired with a fast pace creates hectic matches. Controls can get a little complex to try and manage all this bluster, but the simplicities of platforming are at least graspable. However, it could do with controller support, though its unique aiming system may prevent that. For now, be prepared to have Guitar Hero fingers to manage everything with split second reactions.
While there are few game modes, most boil down to the fast pace regardless and so they stay serviceable amidst the core gameplay. In particular the most unpopular game modes offer the most variety, aside from simple deathmatches. In contrast, these modes let players hunt particular characters or let them kill as many goons as possible before being wiped out. A similar lack of variety can be found in weaponry, but as there are already slight balance issues in the few available, it’d be best to tweak those first and add more later. We can say that obliterating someone with a rocket launcher is quite pleasing.
Its biggest issue, like most online games based on twitch reactions, is connectivity problems both in finding games as in-game. As a split second is critical, the lag difference between players can cripple some matches.
For a lot more insights, we welcome you to sit together with us in some gameplay commentaries, which we’ll list below.