FORCED Review: Sweet Arena Co-op

FORCED Title Card GraphicFORCED Quote GraphicWhat it is about:   “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.”

FORCED Info Graphic


  • 1-4 player campaign, carefully balanced for the number of players
  • Local and online co-op, it’s easy to plugin controllers and play on one computer
  • A challenging Gladiator campaign with monstrous foes and tricky puzzles
  • Four Unique Character Classes, with very distinctive playstyles
  • Skill focused: all enemy attacks can be evaded, it’s your job to figure out how!
  • The Spirit Mentor, an extra party member which players must control together to gain an upper hand over the enemy
  • Survival Arena Mode (more modes coming)
  • Mark Combat System. Apply marks to enemies with your basic attacks, to set them up for devastating special attacks from you or your allies.

About The Developer: “BetaDwarf was formed by a small group of persons, who moved into a classroom at a University in Denmark. It took the University 7 months before a lecturer accidentally walked into the room and realized that 8 guys actually lived in one of their classrooms. So BetaDwarf was thrown out and decided to move together in a big house, where they made a successful Kickstarter and are now on their 3rd year of development on FORCED.”

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The Looks:  FORCED looks graphically in line with games like Torchlight.  Colorful and good to look at but simple enough that no matter how low you choose to run the game, it still looks great.

What You Hear:  The game has some good gladiatorial dungeon crawler music that fits the game.  All the sounds and effects are right on and further pull you in.

Controls/Gameplay:  The game has excellently simple controls that are not hard to grasp or control.  WASD for movement, mouse left-click to attack, right-click for special, Q for special, and Space for calling Balfus(the Spirit Mentor is an extra team member with special powers, which the players must control in unison to solve puzzles)  Plus you can even use a controller.

The Enjoyment:  FORCED is one of those types of games that you can sink many hours into with a group of friends.  What is interesting about the game is what it does new and brings to the established genre of ARPG’s and dungeon crawler style, and that is its Spirit Mentor Balfus.  The players can call the orb between them to solve puzzles, defeat bosses, and use it like magic.  It is such a refreshing mechanic that adds a whole new layer to this style of gameplay.  No longer are relegated to simple hack and slash, now you must solve puzzles, using the orb, with your teammates.  Not since Portal 2 have I enjoyed solving puzzles with a co-op partner as I have with FORCED.

The other part of FORCED that is cool is that it is extremely accessible to all players while having the necessary depth for seasoned players.  The game has four gladiator hero types that you can choose from and change before each arena in the ready-up room.  You have your basic fast melee attack type, slow powerful hammer type, the defensive shield type, and the long range archer.  These sound pretty basic, but it is not until you realize, that as you defeat each arena, you collect crystals that unlock your active and passive abilities.  Each hero type can be modified and customized before every battle to suit the arena situation.  Plus when you change hero types the crystals used to unlock each new bit carry over.  It is simple, flexible, and rife for tactics and strategy.

When I played the game with my buddy, he and I were having a hard time dealing with the enemies tackling more than what the game should have thrown at us, given we were not a team of two.  This is the games weak point the scaling for the amount of players to enemy difficulty needs to be tweaked.  This one arena he and I played and died over and over again for about an hour.  However once we had defeated and won we were ecstatic, it was super rewarding to finally best it, a virtual high-five situation.  In any other game one might have chosen to break there, however we were ready to jump right into the very next arena.

The game allows you to tackle each arena over and over again, but each must first be played in order.  Each arena unlocks a crystal that adds up and unlocks new abilities and extra slots.  As well each arena has specific goals to undertake, as well as a timed run.  This adds to an excellent reason to replay each arena to perfect it.

YouTube External Link

The Good:  Features a unique twist to the established ARPG formula, a fun co-op game that makes you actually think while hacking and slashing.

The Bad:  Somewhat repetitive when you die over and over again and you have to repeat the same arena.

The Ugly:  Repetition of having to try to beat a level over and over again is due to a poor scaling for number of players in game.

Who is the game for?  Anyone who enjoys a good co-op game that is fun and challenging.  Simple and accessible to all, and yet deep for tactical play.

FORCED Verdict GraphicPurchase FORCED On Steam Here

Check Out The FORCED Website & Read About BetaDwarf Here


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