For some, the 80s and 90s was the golden age of action movies. With such films as Rambo, Terminator and Die Hard; the action genre was all about big guns, and bigger explosions. That is the very essence Arrowhead Game Studios'(of Magicka fame) The Showdown Effect tries to capture. With huge guns, crazy firefights and multi-floored stages; this “2.5D” Shooter/Platformer hybrid feels just like those classic action movies. But does that feeling transfer into stellar gameplay?
Toting an interesting perspective, The Showdown Effect bills itself as a 2.5D action game, with the 2 making up the majority of the gameplay, and the .5 making up the backgrounds, and various shafts and ladders to climb. Additionally, the lighting is based on where the player’s character is located. This means that only the area where the character can physically see will be illuminated. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it makes for thrilling and exciting gameplay. On the other hand, it is often frustrating when coupled with the game’s perspective. Often, the player will be hit in the crossfire of two people fighting down a straight hallway from them, simply because the camera isn’t zoomed out enough to see the action.
The art style is also very reminiscent of classic action flicks. The characters run the gamut of action stars, from the gruff generic hero in a white tank top, to the city cop, all the way to the martial arts master. The Showdown Effect has them all. This further adds to the feeling of a classic action movie.
There isn’t much to say about the audio in The Showdown Effect. It doesn’t surprise, nor does it disappoint. Complete with the roar of gunfire from the other side of the stage, and with the characters trash talking; the audio only adds to the action movie feel. The biggest downside is that with the small amount of weapons and somewhat length games, the sound effects do tend to get tiresome incredibly quickly. Still, The Showdown Effect does sound like an action movie.
At first glance, this game looks like it would control like a dual stick shooter. For the most part this is correct, minus the control stick part. With a lack of controller support, the game feels very clunky right off the bat. That being said, once you adapt to the controls it does start to control very smoothly.
Sloppy controls aside, this game is great fun. Matches are viscous and thrilling complete with wall jumping and sliding across the ground. The game consists of various game modes, spread through the game’s 4 different maps. While each map may change the scenery and alter the paths, the action ultimately ends up in the same place: The longest stretch of the map. This does get old incredibly quickly, but there is enough action found in the other parts of the map to make up for it.
Like most games, The Showdown Effect utilizes an unlock based progression system. Unlike most games, these unlocks are mostly cosmetic and don’t give seasoned players a distinct advantage over newer players. This is great for a quick pick up and play game such as The Showdown Effect. Players can have fun even if they’ve only played it a few times before.
The biggest issue The Showdown Effect has is unfortunately completely unrelated to the gameplay. That issue is the community size. At times, there will only be a handful of players playing in total. This makes finding a game difficult, and makes finding a game with players similar to your skill level even more difficult. This is the main downside to any game that is released completely under the radar.
With an interesting perspective, sounds straight out of an action movie, and thrilling combat; The Showdown Effect is a great representation of a classic action movie. Much like an action movie, it has just enough problems to give it character, without damaging the overall product. The gameplay is exciting and brutal, and definitely makes up for the graphical, audio and control issues. The only huge downside is the lack of other players playing, but this may be fixed with Steam sales and other promotions. Overall The Showdown Effect is definitely a worthwhile buy.
The Showdown Effect is available now on Steam for $9.99!