Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

FORCED

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Description

In FORCED, the player takes the role of a slave who becomes a gladiator in order to gain freedom. But before this is an option, the player has to survive a series of deadly arena challenges.

This is a (slightly angled) top-down action game in which the player directly moves the character while fighting a lot of monsters. The viewing direction, and therefore the attack direction, is controlled separately from movement. The main speciality is Balfus: this sphere does not only serve as mentor and likes to comment, but is also an important tactical element. By pressing a button, Balfus moves in a straight line towards the player character and if he passes directly over a shrine, Balfus changes his abilities. For example, moving over a healing shrine gives him an healing aura or another shrine makes him into a bomb. Each arena has different winning condition, e.g. beating a boss or solving switch puzzles.

When starting the game, the player can choose between classes which have different attacks and abilities. After solving an arena, the player receives one crystal which are invested into active and passive skills. Additional crystals are earned by solving a special challenge (e.g. no healing) and beating a time limit. The game allows one resurrection after death per challenge, but then the extra crystals are automatically out of reach.

The campaign can be played in co-op with up to four players. The catch is that there is still only one Balfus which is controlled by all players.

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Trivia

Development

FORCED had a rough development story. First, the development team occupied an abandoned class room in an university in Copenhagen. They not only used it for development, but completely moved there. After seven months, they got busted and had to move out and rent a house in the middle of nowhere. One year later, money dried up and the team had to resort to Kickstarter crowdsourcing.

About a week before the campaign ended, it did not look too well. So they turned their history into a photo story which managed to mobilize enough supports - in the end, they received €65,413 after asking for €40,000. But it still was not enough, and in the end a private loan of €200,000 was necessary in order to finish the game. After three years (and almost two months in Steam's Early Access), it was finally released in October 2013.

The updated photo story can be viewed on the official website.

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Contributed to by Patrick Bregger (107481)