Video Game Forced (PC) (2013)

Overview: A puzzle and action game for 1-4 players (local or online co-op). Most puzzle mechanics revolve around manipulating a spirit named Balfus.

20171010: AM Hours in Texas
After trying to play Mercenary Kings, I decided to switch over and try Forced. Our group consisted of a non-gamer, a casual gamer familiar with Counter-Strike, an advanced gamer, and myself (another advanced gamer). As such, part of the game's fun was in coordinating goals and conveying that information to the players less familiar with this type of game. It was especially helpful that I was able to use the mouse to point out objectives.

Balfus (near center) has been charged (by the hand) and is floating towards my character (near right)

Remark: the game is presented in an isometric view, so very useful directional commands can be given by "Northeast," "Southeast," "Southwest," and "Northwest." Sometimes "North," "East," "South", and "West" are also useful.

Setup: Mouse/Keyboard (me), Xbox 360 Controller (Avi), Logitech Controller (Ayin), Steam Controller (Michelle)

Steam Game Time: 95 minutes

20171011: AM Hours in Texas
Avi was leaving to the airport in the early morning and so we decided to play a game. Everybody who had played the game yesterday enjoyed it and so we decided to load the game up and play a couple of the missions.

Setup: Mouse/Keyboard (me), Xbox 360 Controller (Avi), Logitech Controller (Ayin), Steam Controller (Michelle)

First Area Boss (left) arguing with Balfus (right)

Steam Game Time: 85 minutes

20171015:
Today I played the game as a single player and learned a couple of things that we didn't catch as a team.

1) Balfus moves towards the location the player was standing when he was called, it doesn't follow the player. This is still true when he is a bomb.
2) The hourglass objects are called Spawners. I previously suspected they spawn enemies, but wasn't sure. I can now confirm they spawn enemies.
3) The blocks that can be moved when attached to Balfus can be moved with a single button press. Before we thought only the red character could move it, but apparently the rest of us were holding the button down which will pull Balfus out of the socket.

I also discovered that the game keeps track of time trial records with respect to the number of players. That is, a player's best individual time on a level is recorded separately from the player's best two-player time (and so on).

Starting the game with three of my friends.

Setup: I started playing with the Logitech Controller but it was giving me trouble and so I switched to mouse/keyboard.

Steam Game Time: 1.7 hours

Thoughts:
Pros:
+ Challenging
+ Builds teamwork (when playing co-op)

Neutral:
~ Reasonably balanced
~ Graphics are decent

I ran into a small bug: I killed the spawner just as any enemy spawned and it froze there. I soon learned it was still alive (when I went up and touched it... and it exploded in my face).

~ Story is okay

Con:
- Couldn't find a way to give local co-op players different names.

Summary:
While the game was rough around the edges in terms of control, graphics, and story, it provided an excellent puzzle solving experience. Furthermore, it was especially fun to play with friends.

You will, however, need a patient group of friends if you're interested in achieving good times on the leaderboards. Fast times tend to require planning, teamwork, and repetition.

Overall, if you (and your friends) have ever enjoyed playing Gauntlet Legents (Arcade) (1998), or any game from the Gauntlet series, then you might have fun with Forced, which has a similar style of action, but shifts the focus towards puzzle-solving.

Forced (PC) (2013)

Technically touched the blue banner, but died doing so and so I didn't achieve the challenge.

Relevant Links:
FORCED Website
Forced (Wikipedia.org)
FORCED: Slightly Better Edition (Steam Store Page)

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