It has been forever and a day since I’ve played a rhythm based video game. I enjoyed playing Rock Band and Guitar Hero and I’m still pretty good at them so when word buzzed into my ear about a new rhythm game coming to Steam I said yes to reviewing it. Turns out, Double Kick Heroes isn’t your ordinary rhythm game. The days of hitting perfect beats to get the audience to scream louder are gone, because now you have to hit the beats for your survival!
The appropriately named Headbang Club are the indie developers behind Double Kick Heroes. The game is fairly simple but I did have fun with it. The introduction begins with the Double Kick Heroes backstage preparing for their next gig. The sounds become louder, making the band question if the audience are partying a little too hard…we haven’t hit the stage yet! What is all the commotion? The band makes their way to the stage and much to their surprise, the audience are zombies! Oh, the horror!
From there our heroes gather up their gear and haul ass to escape. The opening song is amusing as they sing about their escape, with lyrics and music reminiscent of King Diamond. Sounds entertaining, right? Hell, we haven’t even begun to play yet! You quickly move on to a short tutorial on how to play and from there you are thrown into the depths of hell, also known as Los Angeles, to fight to stay alive.
Let’s start with the gameplay. I am hardly as skilled of a PC player as I am a console player Hate away, let me hear it. (editors note: CONSOLE FOR LIFE) With that being said, Double Kick Heroes is an easy game to pick up and play. You use the W and S to move your fully loaded “Gundillac” up and down on the screen and you use the arrow keys, control, and shift to shoot your guns and bombs. The keys control the drums that fire the weapons, but be careful to not mash the buttons too much, as you might overheat the guns and then you are really screwed. The notes scroll across the bottom with the marks you have to hit to score and get your streak up. The higher your streak, the more powerful your weapons become, so you better have your A-game ready!
The difficulty options range from “Rock”, which is the easiest to “Extreme”, which as you can imagine is faster and much harder. If you are a rhythm game veteran, it is pretty safe to start in the harder difficulties. You might get eaten but you will quickly adapt. The patterns start out simple, but before you know it you’re alternating your fingers pretty fast as you battle bad-ass bosses like Sharkmungus!
The graphics are pretty decent. The story looks like an old school 16 bit game and the main action on the screen looks closer to a very polished 8 bit style game with a nice variety of zombies and bad guys. I dealt death on numerous creepy looking zombies, with various colors, and there are tougher villains like a shark with earrings that I had to disperse as well as a number of Mad Max style vehicles. I did get lost in the action at times because as I progressed the difficulty increased and I found myself concentrating more on the notes on the bottom rather than what was going on with car firing on the zombies. I was looking quick enough only to determine when to move the “Gundillac” and which weapons to fire.
If you’re going to play a game about a heavy metal band using music to battle zombies, then you expect the creative team to bring it with the music, yeah? Well the Headbang Club crew delivers with the tunes. The music ranges from a mellow sounding rock to a full on heavy metal blitz and it all sounds awesome! I even caught myself nodding my head as I had to repeat a level a few times due to me sucking and getting killed.
Overall, I was pretty happy with Double Kick Heroest as it brings back a bunch of old school nostalgia. It is a basic rhythm game, so it is easy to pick up and play, and the story is entertaining as you encounter characters based off of real life rock stars. I see you, Marlene Branson. *wink wink*.
If you don’t have time to dive into the story, you can get your face melted off by playing the fast paced Arcade mode. The Headbang Club might have a platinum record…..errr game on their hands here. If you are into heavy metal, zombies, nostalgia, and basically fun, then I suggest you check out Double Kick Heroes.