The Showdown Effect review

Matt Hadden (Twitter, Google+)
20th May 2013, 3:35pm

The Showdown Effect is a 2.5D side-scrolling action-packed multiplayer shooter which takes all the clichés from the 80s and 90s action movies and shoves them into the playable characters of the game. The main aim of the game is to jump into multiplayer, shoot each other with whatever weapon you have, or if you so desire you can also smash them in the face with a katana or anything that you find lying around the level.

Straight out of the box, The Showdown Effect has 8 clichéd characters to choose from, each with their own unique abilities. There is a good amount of levels with 6 of them available to you and then of course there are the 4 different deathmatch orientated modes for to jump in.

Starting off with the character and weapon customisation, there is no denying that there are a lot of options for you to choose from, you can unlock extra characters, weapons, rule sets and cosmetics (hats, trousers, shirts, weapon skins etc) through the use of the in-game AP system (awarded to you at the end of each match), or you can purchase cosmetic changes to your characters and weapons through the in-game store which takes your real hard earned monies. I thought this was a bit of a strange decision considering it isn't a Free-to-Play game but I suppose you can look at it as DLC rather than anything else; at least it wasn't pay to win. The items in the in-game store aren't unlockable via grinding your way through the game either, which is a bit of a shame but not too big a deal considering it's only cosmetic changes that can occur from using the in-game store.

The level design is solid and offers a lot of freedom to the players with plenty of different routes across the map which has a lot of different levels to it. There are also a few secret entrances and elevators that allow you to quickly get from one floor to another. The levels also looked visually pleasing with giant neon signs and plenty of detail to the levels in the foreground and background; there was also a good distinguishable line between the foreground and background in the levels. There are six levels to choose from in total spanning across three unique settings such as the city, the wild west and castles. The three different environments also give you unique environment weapons as well, such as castles having huge axes and the city maps offering discarded pizza boxes.

The weapons are also pretty damn varied, there is a wide array of weapons available from machine guns, to rifles, shotguns, pistols, throwables, swords, SMGs and RPGS. Each player is given a choice of two weapons for each match as well as their character's unique special ability. And yes, if you really wanted you could run around with two different RPGs if you're so inclined. There are then the weapons scattered around each map which you can pick up and smack across your opponents heads. The collectable weapons range from light (such as glass bottles and pizza boxes), to medium (brooms and baseball bats) and heavy (axes and swords), with the latter doing the most damage but taking longer to carry out the attack. There are also items that are useful for blocking and nothing more (these are usually bags of money or something along those lines).

Every weapon that your character has can be thrown at your opponents, even your two primary weapons, which will deal more damage depending on what they are. You can't pick them up once you've lobbed them so try to make sure you don't lob away one of your two primary weapons (I found this out the hard way). There is also a very unique mechanic to the guns that hasn't been seen before in 2.5D side-scrollers, instead of just aiming in a direction and holding down the fire button you need to actually put your cursor on your opponents to hit them, meaning that you need to be very agile and quick to get the better of your opponents. The most commonly used tactic seems to be jumping around like a mad man whilst you shoot at anything that gets in the way.

Next up is controls and characters, all of your characters handle the same as each other, the only difference between them is their looks and special ability. The controls for the game are simple since it's only a side-scrolling game, but at the same time they offer you the ability to jump around, slide around, roll around, dive around and block incoming attacks with certain weapons. Sounds rather complex but the characters are easy to control and learning all of those moves takes no time at all, a lot of those are key to how well you do since once you master how to dodge the attacks and still aim whilst doing those you will begin to start winning quite a few matches. The two primary weapons don't seem to have much of an impact and it's more down to how you utilize them in each match rather than having the best weapon in the game. This could become frustrating to players who can't get used to the way the game's mechanics work but I suppose it at least helps keep a level playing field in terms of no-one having a massive weapon advantage.

There are also a good amount of game modes for you to take a look at, ranging from your normal deathmatch to team elimination, the expendables and one man army. Each of these game modes have a slightly different rule set to each other.

Team Elimination is played in a best of three format, the aim is to completely eliminate the opposite team, the respawn timer for each team increases by 10 seconds each turn so this is more likely to happen further into the match than at the beginning.

The Expendables is similar to Team Elimination, each time a member of The Expendables team dies they have to wait an extra 10 seconds to respawn, each time a member of the Hunchmen team dies they can respawn almost instantly. Once again the aim is to wipe out The Expendables, you play two rounds as each team, the team that wipes out The Expendables gains a point, most points over the two rounds wins!

The final gamemode is "One Man Army", one person is the one man army and it is their aim to kill as many people as they can, they gain a point for every person they kill. Whilst they are doing that, the people they are trying to kill have to stop them and whenever the one man army dies, that moves across to another player on the server, once the round is over, obviously the player with the most points wins.

All of this sounds great on paper doesn't it? I thought so as well, but for a multiplayer game you need one crucial thing to work and that is of course the multiplayer. It took us a lot of pain to try and get into a game, and once we did, it was a great game. The problem we faced was that trying to get all of us into the same lobby was sometimes a struggle, servers didn't respond or some of us would get kicked because of ping limits, not to mention the fact that you would randomly loose connection to a lot of servers at times as well. A game like this needs dedicated servers and the P2P method that they have implemented just doesn't cut it, matches are around for one or two rounds and then they vanish and the pings to each player are well over 200 at times, something that isn't acceptable in an online shooter which as fast paced as The Showdown Effect is, especially when my normal pings are around 20-30.

Ultimately, The Showdown Effect is a good game once you get it working and it has a good variety of carnage and mayhem, (probably why they implemented Twitch TV streaming as well), there's unlockables to keep you interested in the game and the recent DLC drop with two new maps and characters will keep you interested a little while longer. If the issues with the P2P multiplayer were fixed or they went with dedicated servers where the pings were acceptable, this could be a really good game.

Should we give it a score? I have no idea to be honest, I don't even know how we're gonna do reviews for this site yet! If I had to give it a score I'd say probably a 6/10, mainly due to the fact that it is an amazing game, good customization, plenty of mayhem, interesting levels and plenty of fun to be had throwing pizza boxes at each other. However, you then look at the issues we faced actually getting the multiplayer to work and it just ruins what a good game it should be.

6 / 10

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