🀟🏻 Review: Double Kick Heroes - "METAL RAWKS!" 🀟🏻 #IndieGame #GameDev

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Game Title: Double Kick Heroes
Developer: Headbang Club
Platform Reviewed: PC (Steam)
Rating: Ice Cool
Double Kick Heroes (DKH) is easily one of the most fun rhythm games that I’ve played in recent years due to the (admittedly loose) story.  

The combination of Lucasarts style graphics, individuality, original music, tongue in cheek characters and solid gameplay really won me over.

The story of DKH is that the titular metal band have been holed up in their windowless rehearsal room for three months straight whilst preparing for a show, completely cut off from the outside world as they riff ever harder(that’s dedication, that is). However, when they burst onstage ready to rock, it’s clear that during their time away something untoward has happened to the human populace, turning them all into zombies and so our heroes (Derek, Snake, Lincoln, James and Randie) jump in their ‘Gundillac’ and begin a mad dash across the USA to find out the source of the problem…and eat chicken… and bicker…and party... and meet Danny Trejo.
As a rhythm game, DKH has a relatively simple premise when it comes to gameplay, at the bottom of the screen notes will scroll across and you have to hit them at the correct time. Doing so will make the Gundillac shoot and the bigger your combo, the more powerful your shots will be. There are also changes in regards to which difficulty level you choose, for instance, ‘rock’ and ‘hard rock’ are relatively straightforward but when you up the ante to ‘metal’ mode, you not only control the double-kick pedal that fires the guns, you have another button that acts as the snare drum in the song. Building up the snare drum combos in tandem with the double-kick pedal will unlock grenades that decimate groups of zombies and are a MUST if you want to finish the level.

As you are concentrating on nailing the rhythms, the zombies are concentrating on eating your faces and they pour onto the left side of the screen, slowly gaining on you, needing to be blasted away. Some stages (and higher difficulty modes) have you in control of the vertical motion of the Gundillac, adding an extra layer of challenge as you then need to line up shots. There are also boss stages which are really good fun and also well-designed, resulting in some seriously pulse-pounding riffs and gore (my third album).
The graphical style in DKH is really evocative of golden era Lucasarts and is a joy to behold, chunky, fluid animation (and some hard-core parallax-scrolling backgrounds) absolutely set the tone of the game. I was also impressed by the music, there are 18 original tracks in the game and they get more frantic and heavy as your journey progresses. I loved the slow, doomy songs at the start of the game and especially the stoner-rock overworld map music. Admittedly I’m not much of a thrash / extreme metal fan but it’s clear to see that this is the music needed when hips-deep in one of the button-mashing boss battles and so the music fits perfectly and is also really well-produced to boot.
I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through DKH, the faux-celebrity cameos are fun and there are some nice jokes and lyrical references thrown in that should even be accessible to someone who isn’t a metal fan. Sometimes there’s a bit of an over-reliance on swearing but it’s all in-character for the people in the game. As an early access release on steam (April 11th) the game isn’t yet finished but it’s designed in such a way that you wouldn’t know this because of how well it runs and how polished it feels to play. The entire game at the moment is set over three areas which are split into smaller sections. Without giving anything away, by the time you finish this portion of the game, it’s clear where the story will head next and that a lot more content is in the works, the replayability of the game and the amount of current and future content is definitely great value for money.

I found Double Kick Heroes to be a surprisingly addictive blast of fun. I intended to have a quick dip into it just to see if it had installed correctly and was running fine and three hours later, I was still playing. The game is really well laid out, the easiest difficulty level means that even someone with a low skill level can have a lot of fun with it and the higher difficulties are genuinely full-on and challenging. There’s also an online mode and the ability to create your own levels which I can imagine will be a feature that skyrockets if the game takes off, which it thoroughly deserves to.
If you are a fan of Guitaroo Man, Rockband or Mad Maestro!, you’ll feel right at home with Double Kick Heroes, and if you aren’t sure it’s your bag, there’s even a free demo available on the Headbang Club website to use as a taster.
Right, I’m off to scour the garages of America to try and locate the last icon of glam metal…Marlene Branson.

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

Review By Britt