Published on September 28th, 2013 | by Zach (beezn) Beason0
PAX Prime 2013 allowed for an overabundance of indie gaming. On the last day, while making a last pass through the Indie Megabooth I met Kenneth Harder, CTO of BetaDwarf Entertainment. Graciously, he invited us to give their first full-fledged title, Forced, a try. Forced brought to the table a fun and polished multiplayer experience, the likes of which have not been seen on the PC gaming stage in a great long while.
When people think about co-op gaming on the PC, the normal description that you would expect is that it’s a two or more person LAN or internet based multiplayer. Forced allows for both of those networked environments as well as allows two to four players to play together on a single PC, a setup that is pretty difficult to find in current games. With the multiplayer options there are, as well as a single player campaign, there are many ways to play. Forced, however, is best played with a few friends to join in the fun, this is how the game truly shines.
Forced is a co-op battle arena styled RPG that puts players in the role of captive slaves that fight for their freedom through a gauntlet of gladiatorial bouts. Each arena that the players must complete has a puzzle in it that you must solve while fending off waves of demonic and otherwise foul creatures. The puzzles are solved by commanding a floating orb named Balfus, your Spirit Mentor, to float across the map, imbuing him with a magical flame then lighting shrines elsewhere in the level. Using Balfus properly requires players to work collectively, as commanding him to run into walls, spikes, or any other obstacles means that you are forced to start over from the font of magical fire in order to try again. Balfus also has the ability to cast a healing aura if different shrines are lit. He can also be filled with an explosive energy that on contact with anything causes a large swath of damage. Throughout all of this, Balfus also talks to you and your party guiding you through the onslaught and providing you with tactical tips as well.
Forced lets you play as one of four classes at a time and at the beginning of each level you get to switch between the class that you play as. Either an archer that shoots electrically charged arrows with the Storm Bow, a damage absorbing tank that uses the icy Frost Shield, a dual wielding rogue carrying the twin Spirit Blades, or the heavy hitting volcanic themed character that uses the Volcanic Hammer. As you progress through Forced’s arenas your character will get upgradeable attacks and skills, both passive and active abilities that will allow you to deal with taking more damage and inflicting more devastating attacks. Collectively, you and your group will be able to use “marks” on your enemies to know which of them are the most susceptible to any of your special attacks. When it comes to marks, the more the better.
Who is Forced for? Fans of Torchlight will like the isometric camera and the 3D level design as well as the RPG elements. Left 4 Dead fans will also appreciate the co-op teamwork. Regardless of it’s current state as being an early access title on Steam, this game has a lot of polish already. The detail and functionality that BetaDwarf has been able to get out of the Unity Engine shows just what a powerhouse that it is.
Forced has a release date of October 24th on Steam for $20 for PC, Mac, Linux (at the time of this article’s publication, Forced is available through Steam Early Access for $11.99 as a preorder through both Steam and Forced’s website), and is also has plans to be released on the Wii U via the Nintendo eShop.
Click here to purchase Forced directly from BetaDwarf currently for $11.99 as a preorder.
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Editors Note: a copy of Forced for the PC was provided to The Geek Link by BetaDwarf for the purposes of this preview.