This week, resident video guy Lance and I had the chance to put Door Kickers: Action Squad on PS4 to the test. If you missed our stream you can check it out over on the Respawning YouTube page alongside Lance’s video review of the game.
Developed by PixelShard and KillHouse games. Door Kickers: Action Squad is basically a pixel side scrolling action game. You play as a SWAT team member in nowhere city, USA. And your job is simple, go in… Shoot up the bad guys, try not to kill the hostages, and then send them on their merry way. As the developers state, “Rescue hostages, disarm bombs and save the day in this old school, side-scroller action game with retro graphics and retro sensibilities. Online and Couch Coop Included”
Now I’ve personally delved into the co-op play with Lance and some of the single player mode; I haven’t completed the whole game to date. Firstly, single player. I have to say that this is nowhere near as fun as playing as a team, and at times can be quite frustrating. There are several different character types to chose in the game, depending on if you want to go in all guns blazing, stealthily, or have a little extra defence – Each character kind of comes with a trade off, it can be quite difficult and frustrating to go at this game solo. As a single player, you tend to be quite squishy… And even though you can build up power ups like health and an extra life whilst mowing your way through enemies, it can still be fairly difficult.
There are a few different enemies you can face, but to put it simply there are shooty guys and knife guys. With the knife guys being the most frustrating for me. There are things you can do to make life a little easier, for example, on a door that takes a few kicks you can lure them over and then kick through the door, pushing them back and stunning them a little to buy you a little extra time. But as the game is quite fast-paced, I sometimes found it difficult to distinguish in the moment whether a door would simply open up into a mob of enemies, or if it would take a few kicks, and then my brain would kind of delay with my action. Another thing I found difficult was not killing hostages; as the assaulter, if you fire for too long your gun will kind of recoil around madly, hitting hostages in a flurry.
As the levels go on they ramp up the difficulty, and it becomes important to start using the environment to your advantage; you need to make sure you’re using the cover correctly, or you’ll meet your end pretty quickly. Another fun thing is they start adding different objectives, like finding keycards for doors and adding in bombs to disarm.
The game really shines with multiplayer mode however. You can use the different SWAT teams’ strengths to your advantage – For instance, Lance and I used Shield and Assaulter, eventually to our advantage, although we were pretty terrible to begin with. As you work through this game with a friend, it becomes much more enjoyable; I think as a couch or online co-op this game really shines and provides some fun and quick entertainment.
Overall Door Kickers: Action Squad is not a game that I think will hold you attention for hours on end solo, unless this kind of game is your jam. Rather, I think that it will be a fun game to play when you have friends round with a couple of drinks, not taking the whole thing too seriously. It gets a 7/10 from me.