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Forced offers engaging, cooperative play in a gladiator setting

Forced, BetaDwarf's tactical role-playing game, requires players to work cooperatively while solving puzzles and taking down enemies, as demonstrated by the hands-on time we spent with the game at PAX Prime 2013.

In Forced, players take on the role of gladiators undergoing different trials. In addition to fighting off waves of enemies and larger bosses, the game requires players to work together intellectually. Much of the game's tactical presence comes from the players' Spirit Mentor, Balfus — a levitating blue orb that players can pass back and forth.

During our demo, Balfus was key in trials. During our first exercise, we used Balfus to destroy statues scattered around the arena. Balfus can only hover over short walls, however, and we had to work cooperatively with our partner to successfully pass him back and forth over obstacles. A second trial required us to use Balfus to hook onto and drag heavy weights onto switches.

The game features four different gladiator types, which only one player can occupy at a time. Each gladiator is based on a different elemental ability, such as ice or fire, and fills a different role. As the fire-based character, we had heavy tanking abilities and could take out enemies with a huge hammer. The game's green, earthy gladiator, meanwhile, gave us long-range abilities with a bow.

Each character has a different progression tree with specific abilities suited to their type. Players can easily switch over to other characters without being punished — our levels were shared across each type.

Forced is being developed for Windows PC, Mac and Linux. The game is available now via Steam Early Access and is expected to launch in full Oct. 24.

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