Double Kick Heroes
Gameplay 7
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Double Kick Heroes is a unique blend of rhythm action and shooting wrapped up in beautiful pixel art and a heavy metal soundtrack. The game is challenging, especially on the higher difficulty settings and the music is good enough to put a smile on the face of any metalhead. However, it’s a pity that doing well requires players to watch the rhythm bar like a hawk and thereby miss out on all the pixel art action. Nevertheless, this is a fun game with lots of modes to keep players coming back for more.

Gameplay: An interesting new take on the rhythm action genre.

Graphics: Lovely pixel art visuals with plenty of great enemy designs.

Sound: If you love metal you’ll love the soundtrack

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Double Kick Heroes

Developer: Headbang Club | Publisher: Headbang Club, Hound Picked Games, WhisperGames, Kakehashi | Release Date: 2020 | Genre: Action / Rhythm / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

The first time we saw Double Kick Heroes it was hard not to be reminded of the brilliant opening cinematic for Rockband 2. For those who don’t remember, it featured two bands playing their hearts out while standing on top of speeding cars. Of course, the actual game was an ordinary rhythm title played with plastic guitars, while Double Kick Heroes is anything but ordinary.

Selecting the “Story” mode reveals that the band, calling themselves Double Kick Heroes, is in the middle of what appears to be a zombie apocalypse. To escape the zombies at their concert they jump into their “Gundillac” named Sheila and take off across the wasteland. Players take control of the drummer and fire the weapons of the gundillac by tapping along to the rhythm bar shown at the bottom of the screen. On the easiest setting, this is as easy as nailing all the drum kicks, but bumping up the difficulty throws in snare drums to charge grenades and cymbals to charge a sniper rifle too. All of this must be done to the beat of the metal soundtrack, which on anything above the easiest setting becomes quite a challenge.

Story mode takes the band, which consists of Derek, Lincoln, James, Randie, and Snake on a post-apocalyptic road-trip where they get chased by everything from zombies and dinosaurs to mutant sharks and bandits. It’s a journey that takes them all the way from America to Europe and eventually into the bowels of hell, with a few stops along the way to run into parodies of famous musicians. We spotted everyone from Marilyn Manson and Lemmy to James Hetfield and, strangely enough, Danny Trejo. Considering that Double Kick Heroes is essentially a shoot ’em up meet rhythm game the story mode has a surprising amount of conversations between characters. Unfortunately, most of it consists of bickering and swearing, which doesn’t make any of the characters particularly endearing.

Players can also opt to skip the story mode and head straight to the Arcade mode for all of the action without any of the talking. The story mode is interesting enough for a single playthrough and with only 24 levels it doesn’t take too long to beat. Apart from Story and Arcade mode, the game also has a “Hellgate” mode, which is for playing through the tracks by guests bands. Staying with the hardcore metal vibe of the game, these include the likes of Ultra Vomit, Hell In Town, The Great Old Ones, Gojira, Carpenter Brut, and Psykup. In total,

Double Kick Heroes has 30 original songs and 20 tracks by established bands for players to sink their teeth into. If this wasn’t enough it also comes with a free community level editor to add some more longevity. There’s even a Fury Road mode for daily runs with unlocks that can improve your odds and Endless Rage mode for trying to survive as long as possible. Thanks to all of these modes Double Kick Heroes is certainly not lacking in replay value.

Double Kick Heroes features beautiful pixel art visuals, which is both a blessing and a curse. The various enemies that chase your characters look great and go down in a bloody mess when shot. Unfortunately, watching this happen requires players to take their eyes off the bar at the bottom of the screen showing what buttons to press. The result is either missing notes due to looking at the action, or ignoring the action completely and focusing solely on the notes. On the higher difficulty settings, the former is not even an option due to the speed at which buttons have to be pressed. Hitting the notes without misses upgrades the weapons of the gundillac, so while you start off with a puny pistol it can be turned into a shotgun and even cannon. However, missing notes will downgrade it again, which is something you definitely don’t want in the middle of the action.

Button bashing is not an option either as doing so will just cause your guns to overheat leaving the gundillac vulnerable until they cool down again. It’s made even trickier by the fact that enemies can approach the car from the upper or lower areas of the screen, requiring players to press the appropriate button to fire in the right direction. For the truly dexterous there’s an option to take control of the car as well during boss battles, but we could hardly keep up with everything as it is and opted to leave this on automatic.

The soundtrack is obviously the best part of the game, provided you are a metal-head as you won’t find anything else here except tunes designed for headbanging. The original tracks for the game all sound like they are based on songs by other famous metal bands and fans of these bands will recognize them instantly. The soundtrack covers various sub-genres of metal, but most of them feature exceptionally fast drumming, which means quick button presses are required. We found it easier to play the game using our mechanical keyboard compared to an Xbox One controller, but both options are available.

Overall, Double Kick Heroes is a unique title with an over the top style that is quite neat. It takes the genre into an interesting direction, but separating the action from the bar showing the notes diminishes the excitement a bit. While it features a completely different visual style and soundtrack, the way in which Muse Dash combines these two elements feels a lot more natural and entertaining to us. However, there are not many other games that allow you to challenge the devil with your drumming prowess while speeding along in a Cadillac, so Double Kick Heroes is definitely worth a look.

System Requirements

  • OS: windows 7, windows 8, windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 – 1.6 Ghz
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • DirectX: Version 9.0b
  • Storage: 5 GB available space
  • Sound Card: 32 channels
  • OS: windows 7, windows 8, windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2 Go
  • DirectX: Version 9.0b
  • Storage: 5 GB available space
  • Sound Card: 32 channels
  • OS: OS X
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 1.6 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5000
  • Storage: 5 GB available space
  • Sound Card: 32 channels
  • OS: OS X
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2 Go
  • Sound Card: 32 channels

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