Released today into Steam's Early Access, Double Kick Heroes is a game that has already entertained me a great deal.
To be honest, I was sold on it after simply reading that it was a rhythm game featuring metal music set in a post-apocalyptic world. But then I realised it was also a shoot 'em up, and my interest was piqued even more. I mean, who doesn't find shooting zombies while driving a red Cadillac... sorry, Gundillac, and banging your head appealing?
Like most music rhythm games, Double Kick Heroes features tracks in which notes appear, although here they travel horizontally at the bottom of the screen rather than vertically. Play on easy and you'll only have to worry about one track - the kick drum - though as it also doubles up as your main attack it allows you to use two buttons to fire high or low.
At the start of each song your kick drum powers a standard pistol, but by pulling off a combo of notes your weapon is upgraded accordingly. It serves as a nice reward, and also makes killing the encroaching zombie hordes much easier. Essentially then, pulling off strings of combos is pivotal to your success in Double Kick Heroes, as well as knowing when to shoot high or low.
Crank up the difficulty level, however, and there are a quite a few of them, and more tracks are brought into play - the snare and cymbals. These are essentially your special attacks, with successive successful notes filling up gauges until a grenade is thrown, for example. All in all, a game which initially seems rather simple soon becomes complicated, but not in a bad way.
And that's not even the end of the complications, as you're even given the ability to move your Gundillac too. Again, on easy you don't really have to care about it, but on anything higher you'll be required to manoeuvre your Gundillac out of harms way, and even align your guns with enemies to hit them. Honestly, there's more to Double Kick Heroes than initially meets the eye, and that's a nice surprise.
Content wise, Double Kick Heroes currently features incomplete but highly playable story and arcade modes, letting you be entertained by the antics of your band or jump straight into the action. There's also a track editor, letting you import your own songs before creating your own track arrangements for them. Though that's not to say that the game skimps on its own tracks; there are over 15 in the game at the moment, and all those I've played have been top notch.
It may be an Early Access game, but you can already have a great deal of fun with Double Kick Heroes. It's mechanics are solid, its humour hits the mark rather well and it has got enough content to keep you entertained for quite a while. I'll certainly be keeping a close eye on this title as it hurtles towards completion, and I suggest you do so too, especially if you're into metal music and rhythm games.