So last week I brought you the worst Metal/Zombie game I’ve ever played, Zombie Murder. Today I present to you the best of this niche genre, Double Kick Heroes from Headbang Club.
Double Kick Heroes is a post-apocalyptic rhythm shoot-em-up. Ride through the wasteland on the back of the Gundillac, a converted Cadi that’s packing some serious heat. Basically the aim is to smash through hordes of zombies chasing you through the wastelands with increasingly devastating weapons and the power of your METAL. A unique premise for sure, but holy shit, I didn’t know I needed this until it landed on my desk.
Originally created for the 34th Ludum Dare dev-jam. Headbang Club claimed the Gold Medal for music and placed 10th for graphics. IMHO, they were robbed, the pixel art in this game is insane, but more on that later.
How does it work?
Basically imagine a lateral beat bar with scrolling prompts, hit the markers with a perfect to up your combo and unlock additional weapons. For each beat you nail, the corresponding weapon will fire and obliterate any undead in its path. You actually need to think a bit though too. If hitting the notes isn’t enough, you have a choice of two buttons per track which will fire the top or bottom guns. Controlling the horde of zombies is integral with harder difficulties and further along the story with big boss fights.
Throughout the story mode youngster Snake is constantly working on upgrades to the Gundillac to give you more and more fire power. With increased difficulties you get additional special weapons rewarded for not sucking and can trigger grenades and sniper shots too.
What have we got so far?
You’ve currently got three game modes, Arcade, Story and Editor. Arcade is straight into the game, unlock tracks as you play kinda deal. Story ads another element, explore the background of this hellish wasteland as you harness the power of metal to destroy an array of enemies. From classic zombies to mutant chickens and a T-Rex with many mouths. Finally the editor mode which allows you to create your own or play from a list of community sourced tracks. Obviously you will have to own the music to be able to do this so it’s time to dust off those old CD’s you had no use for until now.
With five difficulty levels in each game mode you can get plenty of practice in on the ground level and work your way up to feeling like a true rock god, minus the free booze and wrecking hotel rooms. Thankfully, even on the games harder settings, the difficulty ramps up as you progress. Often lulling you into a sense that you’re actually getting good at it then slaps you right in the chest with a face melting solo.
The stand out aspect of this game has to be the soundtrack. Elmobo, one of the development team, composed each original track and they are phenomenal. A real broad mix of metal rifs throughout and truly captures real talent. I also really appreciated the tributes to some of my favourite bands hidden away in there. I’m looking forward to the release of the soundtrack for purchase!
Secondly but by no means less impressive, the pixel art. This style of game has been done a million times and it’s often hard to stand out but I think Gyhyom has done a wonderful job in creating some fantastically depicted characters and really capturing the essence of metal culture.
Should you buy it?
One of the first and hopefully not the last time I’ll say this about a game coming to early access. Hell yes. It’s a lot of fun and I think if you’re at all rock music inclined or just really into rhythm style games you’re going to love it. For something that’s still in beta I noticed very negligible issues which is an impressive feat considering some of the other early access games that have graced our desks here at TIG.
For reference if it’s any help, we ran this game on an i7 6700K and 1080ti. I did experience dips on two separate instances that caused some difficulty in hitting notes. However with repeating the tracks I could not reproduce it. This being pre-early access and the only issue I noticed, mad props where props are due!
Double Kick Heroes is coming to Steam Early Access on April 11th, pricing to be confirmed as of yet. If you’d like to try out the game, a demo is available for download here for a name your own price donation.
You’re also probably going to want to check out the two trailers below, both showcase the game brilliantly and give you a hearty taste of the metal to come.