Preview – The Showdown Effect


One part 80’s/90’s action movie, one part clever quip, two parts explosion and all multiplayer, The Showdown Effect, the newest game from Magicka team Arrowhead Game Studios, is finally in Beta.  How does it measure up with the likes of Last Action Hero, Demolition Man and TimeCop?

What is it?

The Showdown Effect is a 2.5D multiplayer side-scrolling action game where the player takes on up to 7 other players in the shoes, guise and wit of 80’s action movie-inspired characters.  Using accumulated experience, you can customize your loadouts with chain guns, shotguns, deadly katanas or the raw power of… a frying pan?  The Beta gives players up to five of the six characters to unlock and play around with as well as a good arsenal of weapons to try out.  Of course, that doens’t include some of the characters exclusive to pre-orders and deluxe versions of the game.  If you don’t find enough in your weapons locker, there are various weapons scattered around the two themed maps available in the beta for you to pickup and try out.  The aesthetic, the sound effects and the beautifully rendered scan lines all scream classic action film!


I’ll Be Back

Just like the Terminator once said, you’ll be back again and again… when your character respawns.  The three maps available in the Beta are Castlemania, Fishy Business and Battle Of The Bandits.  Each has it’s own set of corridors, vertical pathways, hiding spots and weapons to pick up and use.  Although the full game will feature more game modes, the beta only came with two: Showdown, The Expendables and One Man Army.  Showdown is your typical team deathmatch, One Man Army is a free for all mode and The Expendables pits the heros against a team of henchmen whose weapons rotate, similar to Gun Game in Black Ops 2.  You traverse different pathways on one of the available maps trying to rack up the most kills for yourself or your team.  Don’t let the ‘arcadey’ appearance fool you; the game features many modern multiplayer features such as character and weapon progression.  Each character also has a special ability that requires keen timing and a brief cool down period before being used again.  Buyer beware, the beta is constantly being patched, game modes are being added and subtracted, new features are also being given and taken away, so it is a rapidly evolving game, as of yet.  I would imagine that updates will be less frequent, post release, but will probably still change the face of the game from time to time, just now without resetting your stats.

As of now, the game plays with only mouse and keyboard, but the forums lend to suggest that Arrowhead has not ruled out patching in controller support.  Your mouse controls the character’s aim while the typical “W-A-S-D’ keys control movement, making the game hearken back to not just old-school movies but an old-school game with similar controls: ABUSE.  You use the space key to jump, the ALT key to trigger your character’s ability and the mouse wheel to change weapons.  That’s all you need to know to get the carnage started!

There’s also an interesting feature The Showdown Effect is attempting to show off: complete TwitchTV integration. You can login with your existing TwitchTV account or create a new one and start streaming with a few simple clicks.  It’s a great feature to add, and it makes you wonder how many more publishers and developers will follow suit with similar integration (maybe even Steam integration Valve?  Hello?).


More Information Please

If you want to pre-order, please feel free to check out the game’s page on Steam or the official website here.  The game will retail for $9.99 for PC/Mac on March 5th of this year, and no console port is currently planned.  Pre-ordering now not only gets you into the Beta, it nets you a unique character and some unique items like a lightsaber!

If you really want to splurge, spending $19.99 on the Digital Deluxe version will net you yet another unique character, 2 unique weapon skins, 2 unique costumes including a Magicka robe, a permanent +3% XP boost, a copy of Magicka and the official Soundtrack.  Be warned, all of your stats will be reset upon the game’s launc,h but the unique content is, of course, yours to keep.

Given the plethora of DLC available for Magicka and the hints dropped by the team already, I’d say that the game’s launch features will be complemented by a rich assortment of DLC options.  I can only imagine what new characters, weapons and game modes will be dreamed up by the team that brought us Magicka : Vietnam. I hope to see you out there in the Beta, where you will be erased.

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