The metal genre of music and rhythm games have gone hand in hand ever since the days of Guitar Hero, with gamers gloriously mashing buttons as they unleash all sorts of heavy melodies and riffs. Double Kick Heroes takes that idea but ramps it up to eleven by adding an action-orientated twist to proceedings, with players utilising rhythm-based mechanics to blast away at all sorts of wild and wacky enemies that are hunting them down as they drive away in their sweet convertible.
It sounds like a bit of a weird concept, right? Well… it is, but it also makes for a really fun time.
Double Kick Heroes’ gameplay revolves around shooting the countless enemies hunting you down by smashing beats on your drums through rhythm-based gameplay. Now I know what you’re thinking: how can drums kill enemies? Well, you just so happen to have guns attached to these drums, meaning each successful hit of a beat unloads some bullets upon your foes. As you build up successive combos of hits those guns will get upgraded too, meaning players who actually manage to following the beats of the rocking songs that accompany each level will be rewarded with a more powerful arsenal of weaponry to keep enemies off your tail with.
It’s a fairly simple gameplay setup that’ll feel familiar to just about anyone who has played a rhythm-game before, though Double Kick Heroes introduces enough different elements to make it feel a bit more unique. For one, you’re driving a car and being chased by baddies including zombies, dinosaurs, and chickens, just to name a few… that’s pretty distinct in itself. You’re also able to move your car around as you play, which can be imperative to your success on the game’s higher difficulty settings or when facing off against a boss. You’ll even unlock additional weapons that can be activated by using the shoulder button as you progress, which shows there’s a fair bit more to Double Kick Heroes than just pressing the A or B button at the right times.
It makes for a really enjoyable and addictive experience, with the core gameplay loop proving to be enjoyable throughout. It helps that the visual style of the game is varied and on point though, with some impressive pixel art shown throughout in both the wacky enemy designs and the creative environments you speed across.
Of course, this is a game all about heavy metal music – it’d be NOTHING without a baller soundtrack. Fortunately, Double Kick Heroes delivers there too, with a soundtrack made up of unique metal compositions for the game along with a few guest appearances by licenced bands. Admittedly, I’m not heavily invested in the genre so I hadn’t heard of a lot of these, though Gojira’s appearance may appeal to some metal-novices like myself.
It shouldn’t take players too long to work through the campaign of Double Kick Heroes, though some additional difficulty settings do give you something to come back for. Whilst I’ve managed to make my way through the game’s equivalent of easy, medium, and hard, the two difficulty settings that follow those feel close to impossible for me to progress through right now. That’s not a complaint though, but actually shows that there’s definitely some challenge to be found in the game that’ll take you a good while to get to grips with.
Everything in Double Kick Heroes comes together nicely to make for a challenging and enjoyable experience, though it could feel a little bit too simple at times. The rhythm-based gameplay mostly consists of mashing buttons at the right time, which is fine in itself but could get a little bit repetitive over longer game sessions – especially on the easier difficulty settings where there’s less challenge to be found. It’s a minor flaw in the grand scheme of things, but something that’s worth noting if you’ve never played a rhythm-based game before.
Double Kick Heroes’ action-orientated rhythm gameplay makes for a fun and addictive time, whilst the banging soundtrack certainly compliments the chaos. The only real complaint that I did have about the game was that it could get a little repetitive in places, especially on the easier difficulties where the gameplay can feel a little samey. Fortunately, those higher difficulties and shorter gameplay sessions suit Double Kick Heroes’ frantic nature perfectly and gamers will definitely have a good time as they shoot down some monsters to the sound of some awesome metal riffs.
Developer: Headbang Club
Publisher: Headbang Club, Hound Picked Games, WhisperGames, Kakehashi
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC