…It’s kinda like Crypt of the Necrodancer, but with a car.
So, if you know anything about me, you’d know that I’m absolutely in love with the rhythm game genre – It all started with Guitar Hero (Which later led to actual drumming), then weirder stuff like Osu! and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy… So though I haven’t been all around the block and back with this genre I have had my fair share of fun times with it.
So you can imagine that I was pretty excited to check out Double Kick Heroes, which has the same “in-your-face” vibe with how totally metal it is as Brutal Legend or Guitar Heroes Warriors of Rock. It KNOWS what its’ audience is, and that’s very clear with the tracks you play in the game as well. All of them being fantastic, mind you.
As a side note, one of the coolest surprises of recent times has to have been Crypt of the Necrodancer, which was just all kinds of amazing with how it blended the dungeon crawling genre with rhythm games in pretty much everything. Enemy patterns, item management, finding secrets… Everything had to be done to the rhythm and it was amazing.
…The reason why I bring up Necrodancer is that I see a similarity in these games when it comes to the general theme of mixing up or changing the rhythm game genre for increased longevity and introducing more interesting premises. Double Kick Heroes tries to do this by making a post-apocalyptic zombie rhythm shooter… And for the most part, it works pretty dang well.
You have a lot of modes to choose from, like Arcade, Story, a mode where you can play guest artist’s songs and a level editor where you can make your own tracks for songs on your computer, so you have a lot to do, to be fair, alongside a browser for community made songs is exactly what a game like this needs to ensure it stays fresh.
But when it comes to the gameplay, it is a lot more rhythm game than it is zombie shooter for sure. Each stage is a song and you can essentially perfect, if you wanted to – The things that make it into a zombie shooter are the fact that there are two levels you can shoot at, which boils down to pressing whatever button you’ve set to make sure you don’t get hit. Multipliers and note streaks improve your weapons, and then different notes come in on the harder stages which mean different types of weapons. The formula’s pretty good to be fair. The more like a traditional game, the better I say, because oversaturating it with mechanics would’ve made for a messy and unsatisfying experience.
…But while we’re on the topic of unsatisfying experiences, I have to say that the boss fights kinda just suck. I think that keeping it at a really difficult song would have done the trick, but instead, they decided to make you drive the car you ride in order to avoid the bosses attacks. This takes your attention away from playing the notes which makes you drop your streak, which in turn makes you feel bad and then makes me wanna restart the whole song over again… And because I’m like that with these kinds of games, that’s what I did multiple times, and I wasn’t having a good time for those restarts.
Moving on, I’d like to mention that the story mode is pretty great. It’s nothing fancy it’s just a bunch of metalhead stereotypes bunched together in a zombie apocalypse. There’s musical references and cute shit that happens all throughout, and it’s a pretty decent way to experience the songs rather than the standard arcade mode. Visually I’d say the game is alright, it’s more heavy metal with the tone than with the art style I’d say, but it still makes sure to make you understand what kind of setting the game is in.
All in all I’d say that if you really like rhythm games, and more importantly, metal music, I’d recommend that you check it out. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a pretty decent game to pass the time with, or to test your dexterity… Or you could just play Crypt of the Necrodancer. I will never stop shilling Necrodancer, even in other games’ reviews. Fight me.
Double Kick Heroes gets a 7.0 / 10