Released on Steam today, ZAM enjoys some co-op shenanigans and reviews FORCED.
If you log onto Steam today looking to pick up a new title, might I suggest that rather than wading through the steaming piles of mediocre games you instead just go straight to FORCED. It's not often that ZAM covers indie games, but we couldn't pass up this one.
While it’s already been available to purchase and play in early access, it was officially released today, so there's never been a better time to check it out. What are you in for? Well here's how the developers, indie company Beta Dwarf Entertainment, explain their unique title.
"FORCED is a one- to four-player co-op arcade adventure with puzzles and tactical elements. You are cast as slaves in the toughest fantasy gladiator school of them all, condemned to fight as a gladiator and eventually win your freedom. You will face deadly trials and huge creatures, but Balfus, your Spirit Mentor will guide you in your quest for recognition."
While we admit that that description alone isn't enough to make you jump up and down, this is one game that just has to be experienced. So grab a few friends and get together on your preferred VoIP and have a go at it; you won't be disappointed.
FORCED proves that indie developers are making games fun again. And it's about damn time. As you work together to overcome each new level, swapping classes to fit each other's play styles, arguing over how best to utilize your groups shared Spirit Mentor and even failing in a delightfully gruesome manner, you'll find yourself laughing and having fun. What a bizarre concept.
It's not overly complex, the skill systems and combat are straightforward but enjoyable, the gameplay and controls are relatively simple (though perhaps better suited to the hand-held controller option than a mouse and keyboard) and the use of a collectively controlled Spirit Mentor to activate various features in each level encourages basic problem solving and team work. Somehow all of this comes together to make a very enjoyable and well implemented co-op experience, one that manages to capture all those fond adolescent memories of afternoons spent playing split-screen console games and hot-seat strategy games in a friend’s basement.
Isn't that what games should really be about after all, having fun and creating moments that become fondly remembered collective memories? In just a few short hours of game play FORCED did just that, created great memories.
What kind of memories you as ask? Well one that comes to mind is watching as an unfortunate friend tried desperately to out run a giant rotating laser beam that he had just unwittingly sped up, as the rest of our group cheered on his futile efforts and eventually vaporization.
And I'm certainly not above laughing uncontrollably after blowing up one of my own team mates when I accidentally dragged our explosively charged Sprit Mentor into his unsuspecting and rather indignant avatar.
While there is also a solo play version that is sure to appeal to the avid puzzle gamer, memories such as those experienced by my group and I, make FORCED a game best served up as co-op. So be sure to get some friends on board and group up for your first game together. Hilarity and good times will ensue.
To download FORCED and check it out for yourself head on over to Steam today, and stay tuned to ZAM for MMO gaming news, reviews and more!
Robert "Caergan" Gray
Follow me on Twitter @Caergan