BetaDwarf's launch of Forced, its co-operative action brawler of critical acclaim, established a sound foundation for the indie studio. It's easy to get trapped in the role of perpetually attempting to recreate the success of previous launches – we've all seen it – and BetaDwarf is working hard to avoid becoming “type-cast” as a maker of co-op arcade-brawlers. But it's risky to build a new IP – so BetaDwarf's taken a rare, but logical path: Build upon the franchise IP with a deviation from the core genre mechanics, netting a new type of game with familiar characters.

Forced: Showdown gameplay takes the primordial composition of “Forced” to build upon the playful, action-driven arena mechanics, but switches a few ingredients. For one, co-operartive play is gone; Showdown is all about single-player arena-crawling. Cards have also been added – like playing cards in a CCG, but simplified. Cards are dealt (and can be mulliganed) at the beginning of each major arena match, adding ancillary mechanics that deepen the pool of strategies. Companions, another add-on, have effectively replaced Spirit Mentor Balfus and add a more brute-force means of supporting the player.

We'll have a full review of Showdown online shortly, but for now, we're giving away twenty keys for the game. We're also handing-out two mechanical keyboards, five jerseys, and five 'swag bags,' thanks to supporting system integrator iBUYPOWER (makers of the Revolt 2 SFF PC).

Helldivers. I'll sum the story in a sentence: You are a “Helldiver” whose only mission is “spreading democracy” from Super Earth to the Cyborgs, Bugs, and Illuminates by landing on various planets. Each intergalactic democratic mission consists of two or three objectives – such as activating SAM Sites or carrying briefcases across the map – and then getting the hell out of there, all while battling aforesaid enemies of democracy. Truth be told, if you’re playing Helldivers, you’re not in it for the story; you’re in it for the pure arcade carnage it so gleefully relishes in providing.

Action/arcade twin-stick shooters are a tough market. They've been around for decades and have years of design refinement, and still, only a few stand strong. It feels like we're bombarded by dozens more arcade-y action games every year, and there's simply not enough space for them; games are no longer an infinite sum game – the market is arguably oversaturated.

In a move reminiscent of Far Cry's over-the-top, 80s-inspired “Blood Dragon” title, CIG has launched its “Hyper Vanguard Force IV” in-fiction mini-game using official Star Citizen ships. The arcade-style game draws basic concepts from the likes of Galaga, which is, consequently, one of a few arcade cabinets present at CIG's offices we toured.

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