The Showdown Effect Review

The Showdown Effect

This time it’s personal.

People have found reasons to kill each other for centuries. What are children’s street games like hide-and-seek if not a training of hunting instincts, which have noticeably dulled since we stopped being savages and moved into cozy homes made of glass and concrete?

Deathmatch games have become an inevitable expression of these reflexes. The task of developers is to find new ways to tickle this rudimentary impulse, and the latest attempt to crack this nut comes from the depths of Arrowhead Studios, the creator of the indie hit about wizards with guns – Magicka.

The Showdown Effect is Quake crossed with Super Smash Bros., which crashes at full speed into the scenery of blockbuster movies of the year 1987: the developers simply took the uncomplicated excitement of a chase and dressed it up in action movie clichés. As a result, a fast-paced 2.5D multiplayer game was created, where you just need to jump, roll, run, and fight with seven other players on a maze-like map.

But at the moment, the game only has eight cartoonish characters. Four are available from the start, including an Arnold Schwarzenegger clone and a Japanese schoolgirl samurai, while the other four will be unlocked as you earn points. The characters are armed with both firearms and melee weapons. In addition, each of them has a special ability, the activation of which is accompanied by some old-fashioned cinematic sharpness. You can pick up and use (as a shield or weapon) any element of the environment. Currently, there are only four maps, two of which are designed in the style of a medieval fortress, while the other two offer battles in the future Japanese capital – New Tokyo.


Customization is a significant component of The Showdown Effect. Players will have to unlock a variety of items (from weapons and costume elements to various game rules) using points earned in the game. Additionally, there are microtransactions available, but only for purchasing items that have purely cosmetic effects (a very wise decision). The prices are slightly inflated, but if someone wants to spend a couple of bucks to make their machine gun look like a Gatling gun, which, by the way, won’t give them any gameplay advantages, well, it’s all about the size of their wallet.

At its best moments, the game feels very fun and energetic, but (as in the case of Magicka) you’ll first have to acquire better equipment. Furthermore, the controls are too stiff and sluggish for an arcade game: jumping occurs after a significant delay, and movements to the side are very unpredictable. This is especially problematic when trying to interact with environmental objects, as it’s very easy to pass by them, while wall jumps to reach higher levels are overly clumsy. The genre requires light and graceful movements, but The Showdown Effect constantly trips over its own feet.

Now, let’s talk more about the convoluted controls. In addition to basic movement, jumping, etc., you can block, heal, switch weapons, reload, and swim – each with its own separate button. There is also a double tap to roll to the other side, and a special button that needs to be held while the mouse aims at the player (more on that later). The right mouse button opens an advanced aiming mode, allowing you to see the entire map, but at the expense of movement speed. Overall, there is too much to handle in a game where death comes within seconds, but there is no option to use a controller, which is usually more arcade-friendly.

Mastering Blocking

And all because the main idea of The Showdown Effect is precision. The game is not like its console counterparts – you can’t just aim at another player and shoot. Here, you have to keep your aim on the opponent until they catch the bullet. This automatically raises the skill requirements for the gamer, which is good in itself, but only until you realize that for a normal game in this arcade, you will have to dig deep into the control settings. Yes, for FPS games, this is normal, but we are dealing with a ruthless two-dimensional multiplayer shooter with a crazy amount of buttons, for which it is not easy to find acceptable controls right away.

Thus, random encounters with other players can be divided into several categories. Firstly, players can simply jump at each other and shoot wildly from all weapons until someone dies. Secondly, someone can just rush towards you and immediately kill you with some cold weapon while you futilely shoot bullets into the air. Thirdly, you can die from a shot made off-screen. The prospect of finding a quiet place to hide and heal in the long run looks quite tempting, but seems unlikely. You will die. Very often.

This game is completely unfriendly to beginners. As part of the tutorial, you will have to find and destroy nine static mannequins. This will teach you basic movements, and for everything else that is a more or less acceptable level of skill to start collecting scalps right away, there are only text hints. So you will have to learn these skills during the game.

Showdown Deathmatch

Among other lying policemen, servers, or rather their absence, can be added. The game uses P2P connection, which leads to not quite stable work, to say the least. In an arcade game that is full of unpredictable encounters and requires high precision from the player, underestimating the danger of fluctuating ping is completely contraindicated.

The Showdown Effect is full of promises, but it needs balancing and improvement to fully utilize its potential. It is important to note that Arrowhead Studios actively involves the gaming community through the forum and plans to switch to dedicated servers in the future. This is to be expected from developers who took the horribly buggy Magicka and turned it into a real hit, never ignoring the players for a minute. However, for the same reason, we would not recommend playing The Showdown Effect immediately after launch. We advise you to wait a little.

Someone will surely fall head over heels in love with this crazy gameplay, filled to the brim with simple teenage humor. If you find the strength to make peace with the overly stubborn controls and then find like-minded people (or even better – friends) to play a match or two with, you will probably really enjoy this game. However, more often than not, gloomier thoughts visited me – The Showdown Effect is praised much more than it deserves. At least, at the moment.

The Showdown Effect
Action, Multiplayer
Paradox Interactive
Arrowhead Game Studios, Pixeldiet Entertainment
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews