The Showdown Effect supports up to 8 players per map, and you can play a custom game or a ranked game. Custom games pop faster and offer unlockable rule modifications, map / mode choices, and private map functionality for the host, while ranked games raise or lower your ELO rating depending on your performance. Twitch TV and spectator mode integration ostensibly allow you to watch and learn (or broadcast and brag), but I couldn't get spectator mode working. It may well be a temporary casualty of TSE's early lag woes (as mentioned in the gameplay section).
"I'll take unloackable rulesets for 100 AC, Alex."
The unlockable rules mechanic has a lot to recommend it, but can be pretty punishing to new players. Custom rules like Unlimited Block help melee players close with their target, while Kung Fu Bonus Score and Explosive Throw favor players that run loadout free or with thrown weaps. It's not enough to make such players unbeatable, but you should definitely learn to modify your play style to suit the match.
In addition to Showdown mode (free-for-all deathmatch), the game also supports One Man Army (alternating king of the hill mode), the Expendables (one team spawns as Expendables and must survive lengthening spawn timers), and Team Elimination (team deathmatch). Friendly fire is enabled for all team matches, and with life as fleeting as it is in The Showdown Effect, you're guaranteed to die at the hands of a teammate plenty of times.
At $US 9.99, you're getting 4 maps, 4 modes, 6 unlockable and unique characters, 10 or so unlockable weapons, and a whole lot of entertainment. If anything in this review appeals to you, if you've ever watched a buddy cop movie purely for the comedic value, just buy the game. It won't disappoint, either as a popcorn game you play when you're in the mood or the newfound focus of your hardcore energy.
The Showdown Effect does have an in-game store, but the shelves are pretty bare at the moment. All gameplay-affecting items (and a goodly assortment of cosmetic upgrades, such as an 1876 Gatling gun to replace your AR-15) are available as unlocks.
Pros and Cons
- A unique combination of online shooter, side-scroller, and platformer genres.
- A relentless assault of comic one-liners makes Bruce Campbell seem shy by comparison.
- Flavor, intensity, and smart reflex-driven gameplay mechanics raise TSE into a class of its own.
- Lag and odd server behavior create enough headscratcher deaths to be noticeable.
- Kung fu and thrown weapons seem overpowered.
- Custom rules as an unlockable can seriously favor certain characters and loadouts.
The Showdown Effect is already one of the great gaming values of the young year for competitive gamers. Provided Arrowhead and Pixeldiet can work out some of the netcode and ping issues, The Showdown Effect has potential to become that rarest of games: one that keeps you entertained and laughing as you die over and over and over again.
- Game Name: The Showdown Effect
- Review Date: March 5th, 2013