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For years, The Showdown Bandit Show delighted kids of all ages. But that was a long time ago. The show was canceled and its puppets and sets were left to rot. Sometime later, Showdown Bandit awakens in the abandoned film studio to find his co-stars have become nightmarish monsters. The Bandit sets out to uncover the answer to the biggest question of all... who is really pulling the strings?

Showdown Bandit is an episodic "top-down, stealth-action horror game" developed by Kindly Beast, with episode one released on September 17, 2019 for PC through Steam.

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Showdown Bandit contains examples of:

  • Advertising by Association: All marketing for the game contains "From the creators of Bendy".
  • Affectionate Parody: The Showdown Bandit Show is one of Howdy Doody.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • The first episode offers very little information on what's going on overall. By the game's present the Showdown Bandit Show has been cancelled, yet not only are the set-pieces still up and about, the puppets are being moved by some unseen force, everyone acts like they're merely playing out another episode and the show was never cancelled in the first place, and those who don't (the Stringless, who are basically walking corpses and the beast in the Mines are clearly malevolent. Add to that the episode's ending, in which Bandit steps out onto the main stage where the audience is revealed to be a cult-like gathering of people (or puppets) in red cloaks and white masks and a giant hand reaches out to grab him right before the screen goes black and an unknown voice expresses his contempt for Bandit.
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  • Ambiguous Time Period: Judging from the TV-set shown in the release date trailer, as well as the shows general aesthetic, the game seems to take place somewhere in the 1950's.
  • And I Must Scream: In the beginning of the game, Bandit is shown to at first try to resist the strings, only to then be harshly yanked up and succumb to them anyway. This seems to imply that Bandit is not acting of his own free will, but is being controlled by someone else.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Many of the notes from the Showdown Valley citizens come across as this. Especially those of the missing puppets Davy and Betty, who can be found behind a Bookcase Passage in The Wild. Davy describes their escape from the Araknits, and how he hopes someone will find them before they starve to death.note .
  • Arc Words: "Play your part. Guard your strings. Don't Look Up".
  • As You Know: The games description states that the Showdown Bandit Show was massively popular, but was cancelled under mysterious circumstances.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The cork gun can down any Stringless in just one shot, but can only be used while standing in a specific spot, which you won't be able to move away from while shooting.
  • BFG: The Sparkblaster. Shame you can only use it in the mines.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Araknits.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Grieves. Their bodies are cut up, loosely tied together shambles and their right hands have been replaced by scissor blades.
    • Penny Hemsworth. She gouged out her eyes in order to follow the rules better.
    • The beast in the Mines. It's essentially a giant puppet with no lower body that gets around by dragging itself around on its hands and eats other puppets alive.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The episode titles.
    • Episode 1, "Showdown Bandit and the Trail of Shadows".
  • Character Title: Showdown Bandit is the name of the game as well as one of the puppets.
  • Cliffhanger: They're at it again. Episode 1 ends with Showdown Bandit walking through a door plastered in warnings and into an open spotlight. The camera then swings around to reveal the audience is made up of slightly larger puppets with creepy white masks. And just before the screen goes black, a giant photo-realistic hand comes into the frame to grab at the Bandit.
  • Creepy Doll: All over the place but especially the audience from Chapter 1's end.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Since Bandit can only use the cork gun in certain places, he also uses bear traps to get rid of enemies.
  • Death by Looking Up: Implied with the teaser phrase "Don't Look Up". And if Penny is any indication, a few of the Valley's residents have taken drastic measures to avoid doing so.
  • Easter Egg: Episode 1 has a neat one of Bendy and the Ink Machine, Kindly Beasts' previous and first game. If you bring the headless puppet his head back, he'll open a secret room for you, which contains a giant Bendy-hand and a Bendy-outfit for Bandit!
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The beast. It's a horrifying, cannibalistic puppet monster with no legs that roams the mines and will eat Bandit alive if you let it catch him.
    • The audience. You can't even see what they really look like underneath their cloaks and masks, but they're pretty unsettling either way.
  • Eldritch Location: The studio and former sets of the show.
  • Empty Room Psych: When Bandit enters the main stage, all there is to see is an empty room with a single spotlight shining down in the middle. As soon as you enter the spotlight, the room is revealed to be a direct connection to the audience, who have been watching you the whole time.
  • The Eponymous Show: The Showdown Bandit Show, named after its main character.
  • Expy: The Showdown Bandit Show itself is one of Howdy Doody, a popular Puppet Show from the 1950s, with Bandit clearly meant to emulate Howdy Doody himself.
  • Eye Scream: Penny Hemsworth, the Banker and every enemy puppet in the game are all missing their eyes. Penny herself admits this was her solution to "Don't Look Up".
  • Fetch Quest: In episode 1, Miss Undertaker sends Bandit to get her skeleton key from the graveyard. She is mysteriously absent by the time he returns, leaving the player with no choice but to use it to enter the main stage.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: All of the puppets have these.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The screeching sound whenever one of the death animations is played.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Beast and the Faceless Bandit.
  • Jump Scare:
    • The room where you first encounter a Stringless. You walk past what seems to be a heap of lifeless puppet bodies when all of a sudden one of them gets up and starts to come after you.
    • The corridor leading to the Mines. After Bandit takes a few steps forward, the beast suddenly crawls through, shredding a poor Stringless in the process.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Penny sings the Showdown Bandit Show theme song constantly as she wanders around the set.
  • Justified Save Point: Bandit can save his progress with the Banker.
  • Macguffin Delivery Service: Miss Undertaker sends Bandit on a Fetch Quest to retrieve her lost skeleton key in episode 1. It is later revealed that not only are there actually two keys, but that she hid the one she sends Bandit to get on purpose. It remains to be seen if and why she deliberately lied to Bandit.
  • Mysterious Watcher:
    • The audience. At this point in time it's not clear what their motives for watching Bandit and friends are, but if the poster room is any indication, they have been doing so since the beginning of the game.
    • It's a blink and you'll miss it moment, but during the mine cart ride, Miss Undertaker can be seen watching you from behind the boards. She makes no mention of this later on.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: King Bubu, although you really couldn't tell just by looking at him.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The Banker and Doc Carver will always await Bandit at the crossroads, but are never seen leaving their posts.
  • Perverse Puppet: The main enemies in the game, the Stringless.
  • Product Placement: As shown off in multiple teaser images for the game, the show would frequently stop to promote products from its sponsor, Basker Hill.
  • Protagonist Title: The game and the in-universe show are named after Showdown Bandit, who is also the main protagonist and character.
  • Puppet Show: The Showdown Bandit Show was a very popular one before its cancellation.
  • Subverted Kids Show: While the actual Showdown Bandit Show looks harmless enough (at least until you factor in Miss Undertaker), the game takes place after the show was cancelled. And now, the studio is overrun with evil puppets, there's some unseen force commanding the Bandit's movements and the audience is a collection of terrifying hooded figures in white masks.
  • Troubled Production: Averted in-universe. The show was doing more than well and its cancellation came as a surprise to everyone.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Penny turning around to reveal she removed her eyes.
    • The camera changing perspective to reveal the audience and the hand swooping down to grab Bandit right after at the end of episode 1.
  • The Wild West: The general aesthetic of The Showdown Bandit Show.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • Upon opening the graveyard, a group of zombie-puppets wake up and attack Bandit.
    • The Araknits in the old Carver place are many and aggressive.

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