REVIEW: Double Kick Heroes (Switch)

Aug
13

REVIEW: Double Kick Heroes (Switch)

Metal Max: Fury Rock

Released: Steam, Switch
Type: Singleplayer
Genre: Rhythm, Action, Indie
Developer: Headbang Club
Publisher: Headbang Club,
Hound Picked Games
WhisperGames, Kakehashi
Franchise: Hound Picked Games
Release date: Aug 13, 2020

Rhythm games are great! It’s the genre that I quite adore and why would it not be? The awesome music is the main focus and you get to listen to them! However, besides the act of just listening to music, you are required to press buttons to the rhythm as well. Scores are accumulated based on your performance of how many buttons are pressed correctly and their timing. You know the drill. Double Kick Heroes doesn’t vary much in from the core formula but the difference lies in the way that it is executed.

In Double Kick Heroes, you assume the role of a rock band group as a whole to escape an army of zombies and various many other threats in a post-apocalyptic world. The entire game is them riding away on a top of a car rocking their hearts out with guns blazing while hordes and hordes of enemies blitzkrieg the gang. This entire setting and playable sequence very much reminiscent of Mad Max but with 1000% more monster chases and rock/metal music.

Straight outta Mad Max!

Gameplay

While the main gameplay, that is pressing buttons in synchronization to music beats remain the same, the difference is the slight variability that the game offers. In Double Kick Heroes, there are yellow notes and two other colored notes. They are all associated with attacks and some may not even be used depending on the difficulty selected. The main notes that will always appear are the yellow ones. These yellow notes can be hit with 2 different buttons which will result in either an upper or lower shot. It’s recommended to often alternate between the two to dispatch the monster evenly. You risk having enemies from one of the sides catching up to your car otherwise. Which buttons you press do matter as they will influence the number and shape of the army of enemies coming after you, subtlely affecting the decisions of what buttons to press. Double Kick Heroes is a bit more dynamic than many other rhythm games in this way.

Consecutively hitting yellow notes will build a combo that will let the access to higher damage weapons. If not enough counter is maintained, you may have to start over depending on the difficulty.

Although you can simply look at the screen to see which sides need to be dealt with and react accordingly, I should note that playing this way is nigh impossible on higher difficulties. You have to concentrate on the track so much that there is barely any time to take your eyes away for it due to catch the action due to the screen layout. You might be able to perceive which bullets to fire with peripheral vision but it’s usually best to just alternate your fires if able. I wish that the two would be more seamlessly combined so that players appreciate the pixel art while playing the game.

Zombie killer clowns getting what they deserve.

Modes and Replayability

Arcade, Story, Hellgate, and Fury Road are the main playable modes in Double Kick Heroes. Arcade and Hellgate are pretty much the same. These are your gotos for straight rhythm game goodness and nothing else with the latter featuring music from guest artists. Story mode is self-explanatory unlike Fury Road, the rogue-lite take on the game. You can pick an upgrade from a randomized set of 3 after each stage until death here. There is a decent chunk of replayability to this game and that’s not even counting the huge variability of gameplay on differing difficulties such as the addition of the colored notes, attacks, that will alter how the game is played and other modifiers.

You get to see the band members interact with one another in story mode.

Music

The best compliment I can give to the music selection of Double Kick Heroes is that I headbang to them while playing.

Check out the soundtrack here if you are in doubt!

Verdict

Double Kick Heroes is quite good. It has a great selection of music appropriated to the setting and tone. Various modes and difficulties give the game a boost in replayability. There is also the dynamic gameplay based on your button inputs which, while not an entirely original concept, is decently implemented with more rooms to explore. I do think that the track and the visual stimuli where the enemies are located and where the player is supposed to respond to could be better integrated. It can be hard to process information from both areas as is especially on higher difficulties. But does Double Kick Heroes still rock? It sure does.

Rock on!

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