Let’s take a look at … – Epic Showdown

Epic Showdown is a casual arena-shooter released this October by indie developer Naloki. With four unique characters to choose between, and two game modes available: survival mode and crypt (dungeon crawling type option), there’s premise for a fun little casual shooter. Unfortunately, although I try to find the best in every game I review, I cannot recommend this one in the state it is in. It is nearly unplayable, and here’s a list of reasons why:

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The trailer for this game on Steam – which is also very unpolished – gives some back story to the game, but the game itself does not. There is no explanation for the character with the green hand who is watching some very oddly put-together heroes fight on television. There isn’t background on the heroes themselves, either. They are just there with no content, so there’s no way to get invested.

Control are typical of this genre with WASD and mouse movement, but their implementation is rough making them very difficult to use. At first the game looks like it is third person, but it actually isn’t. It’s fixed behind the character but it can’t turn meaning you just sort of slide around the screen more, like an unnecessary addition to your crosshairs. I was killed so quickly over and over because I wasn’t able to see well around the environment and back-up out of the way. I didn’t even have time to monitor my health and it seems the enemies hit way too hard relative to your health!

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The titles shortcomings don’t step here. The graphics feel old, and not in an intentional retro way either. It’s also too easy to get blinded by the environment. i.e., if you back-up into a tree, instead of stopping you from moving it envelopes your vision and you can’t see. You clip right through. The menu system is ugly, hard-to-read, and poorly designed. For example, hints are provided on the load screen, but the text is cut off.

In crypt mode, there is a slapping sound that repeats over and over and is extremely obnoxious. I couldn’t survive long enough to find out if it was something in the environment, or a glitch in the game. Overall, the game is just extremely unpolished and unfinished. The game crashed while loading and I had to force the executable to stop through Task Manager. It’s not worth anywhere near the $9.99 price tag it currently has.

Tl;dr – A catastrophic lack of polish isn’t the only thing letting Epic Showdown down.  If the game had more story behind it, and the controls were fixed, there might be some potential here. As-is, this game is unplayable and is not recommended. Don’t buy this.

Rating – 3/10

Purchase – Steam £6.99/$9.99

Trailer –

Let’s take a look at … – Wolfgang Fights the Future

Upon entering the game you are presented with the main menu. It is very easy to navigate, the buttons around the menu are easily identifiable so you’re easily able to change your settings and the music to your desire. Upon clicking Play game you are given two options; Story and survival mode. In the main campaign the story is quite comical but rather unique; Mozart must fight the army of Jean-Pierce, who has travelled back in time to kill Mozart to prevent him from publishing music that helped spark the ideas of the French revolution, and this would in turn give Jean-Pierce total control of France!

Inside the game, the main fighting and unlock mechanics are very addictive and fun, however they are quite generic with a button mashing feel to them; spamming C and X while using the arrow keys to move will practically kill anyone around you. There’s just very little tactic to this and this ruins some aspect of the game for me. Another criticism I have is with the controls. They’re fine on themselves but you are unable to change them or do any key binding, so if someone dislikes the control layout they may have a hard time adjusting to them; some controls are tedious to use. To move down a level you must press down then hold x, and in this fast-paced game where if you don’t move you’re dead instantly; it isn’t worth using. The unlocks in the game are very useful as you can upgrade your max HP, speed, power, you can unlock a special ability and you can have a magnet to collect coins, potions and bird seed are also available, although everything in the game that can be unlocked is useful, I feel like the shop needs a little bit more added to it to make the game-play better and introduce new playing styles and tactics. New weapons would be a good unlock.

The progression in the story is challenging, with considerably more enemies to grind though on each level you may find yourself punching your fist through the monitor every-time you miss-click. On the later waves a miss-click or two will kill you, and this can get relatively annoying. However after a while of playing you will get used to the controls so killing masses of Frenchmen on rooftops will be no problem after 30-40 minutes of playing! You will have to kill more French people than you might imagine; the chances of you completing the campaign on the first run are very slim. Getting to the final round and completing it means you will have to try and take minimal damage, manage your money and concentrate quite well, because if you don’t have enough potions on the final wave you’re guaranteed to die. But hey, you have infinite live so dying is okay!

Your bird companion in this game can be helpful, however you have a lack of control over what he does; he will attack and possibly kill any enemy on the screen at random. This is great, however if you’re keeping one enemy alive to collect coins he can get annoying.

The survival mode of the game is exactly that; one life, a potentially infinite amount of gun wielding French soldiers from the future and a Mozart. It is fun for 20 minutes before it simply gets boring. If you have a short concentration spam or cannot focus on something repetitive for a long time then Survival is not the best game mode for you.

The last thing I’d like to talk about is the music. I think it’s incredible that they managed to get some of Mozart’s well known pieces into an 8 bit style without bodging it up, and it brings change and makes this game even more unique in a world where every other indie game has the same generic 8 bit techno style of music. The only problem I have with the music is that it’s quite repetitive. There’s a limited amount of songs and you find yourself repeating the playlist quite frequently, however this may be to no fault of the developers as this could have been a technical limitation, if it is, fair enough, if it isn’t and the company have enough funding for it, the addition to an extended playlist for the game would improve it greatly

Overall this game is very fun and addictive with a unique and funny storyline to it, and an equally unique style of music that matches the main character and just generally sounds pleasant. The controls can be a bit fiddly, the music gets to be repetitive and the game-play is somewhat generic, but put all this aside and it is a very fun indie game to play in your spare time that will give you a nice challenge.

The game gets a score of 7.5/10 from me!

-Rob.