Double Kick Heroes is a rhythm game from Developer Headbang Club that is merged with a zombie shooter game. Packed with action, story, intense gameplay, the game is accompanied by a metal soundtrack. It features a rock band that only realise there has been a zombie apocalypse after the curtains are drawn at one of their gigs. Of course there’s only one thing to do in that situation, go on a rock and roll zombie killing road trip.
The game itself mechanically is similar to others of the genre, whether that’s mobile or console. However, in Double Kick Heroes there is a story mode feature which makes it stand out. It follows five almost stereotypical metal-head characters as they journey across the world, defeating not only zombies, but mechanised sharks and giant chickens who seem to have taken over. Everything really has gone to shit evidently.
Across the world map the journey takes you from level to level. The story itself is amusing, carries the game well and actually makes the player move around the world map back and forth rather than being linear. There are safe houses where you can stop and interact with the characters, and there are even some recognisable faces who have cameos. It also works really well with its pixel art style which is reminiscent of games such as Monkey Island with it’s quirky yet simplistic arcade style and looping animation.
It plays like any other rhythm game out there, except with the twist that timing button pressing with the guitar notes results in the car you’re all travelling in firing bullets at zombies, sharks or chickens trailing behind. For the lower difficulty levels, this consists simply of two keys to fire two rear guns, simple yet still surprisingly difficult. As the difficulty goes up from rock to extreme, the beats become faster and more often, before ramping up for those rhythm game fanatics to include two other buttons that play the snare or symbols. For most, Extreme would be literally impossible, but that’s part of the challenge.
On top of this, boss fights introduce being able to control your car on the road up and down. These are super tough and require a lot of damage to beat. The higher your multiplier with hitting notes, the more damage your vehicle does. Progressing through the story also results in car upgrades, meaning there are higher multipliers available to the player via gun upgrades. So keep up that multiplier!
Of course whilst all of this is happening, solid metal is blaring through your ears (I’ll let you decide for yourselves if that’s a good or bad thing). The music from Elmobo is pretty decent and features other artists. A big plus for players is that you can actually import your own music to create your own levels to share with the community. I find also that not knowing the songs in rhythm games makes it harder so this is a great feature.
Overall the game is good fun. For rhythm game fans it’s a no brainer. The varying difficulty means it’s accessible to newbies to the genre as well as veterans to whom Double Kick Heroes will provide a serious challenge. The game is still in early access on Steam however, therefore it’s not without bugs, but for the price and with the promise of extra content/features on the way as well as DLCs, it’s a bit of a steal. In the words of Headbang Club themselves: explosions, rebels, militias, undeads, road-rage, madness, apocalypse. Ready to hit the fury road?