I have three simple questions to ask you: Do you like shoot-em-ups? Do you like 8-bit-style pixelated graphics? And most importantly….do you like HEAVY F@! *#$G METAL?!! If so, then this is definitely the game for you. If Metal Slug, Guitar Hero and Brutal Legend had a secret love child, then Double Kick Heroes is what would be birthed.
Double Kick Heroes is an explosive metal rhythm game set in an apocalyptic wasteland. Developed and produced by Headbang Club/Plug-In Digital, Double Kick Heroes has you play as a band of plucky heavy metal heroes that go by the names of Randie, Derek, James, Lincoln and Snake. Each one of them is a unique and cunning metal player, and they all live for “Sex, Drugs and Heavy Metal”.
Ready to Hit the Fury Road?!
The world as you know it is now plagued by zombies, devils and demons galore. It is your job to lead your band on an apocalyptic road trip in your Gundillac (named Sheila) while wasting away all non-human entities WITH THE POWER OF METAL!!! With more than 30 levels at your disposal and a cast of (sort of) familiar faces along the way…there is more than enough metal mayhem to go around.
As I mentioned above, DKH is a rhythm/shoot-em-up style game. With multiple control/difficulty options to choose from, the premise is the same: hit the notes, kill the bad guys! No song is the same, with a vast variety of metal sub-genres available and all created by a legendary video game and metal composer. After you complete each song, you are given a screen showing how well you did, along with perfect/good/okay hits and total hit count, similar to games such as Guitar Hero, Rock Band, etc.
More Ways to Play Metal!!
Along with the obvious story mode, there are 3 other ways to play the game: Arcade mode, Hellgate and Fury Road. Arcade mode lets you revisit previous levels so you can try your luck at beating your top scores. Hellgate lets you rain down hell on the zombie hordes using songs that other players have created themselves.
You, the player, are also able to create your own sickeningly heavy beats, as well as upload your favorite songs you listen to at home. And finally, there’s Fury Road, which is essentially an endless run. Beat as many levels as you can and unlock new gear for your car in the process.
Let Us Get to It, Shall We?…
The main story line itself took maybe 3-4 hours total of on/off gameplay to finish. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “4 hours of gameplay, is that really it?!”, and I agree, it is a very short amount of time for a story mode. But for fellow metalheads like myself, I can GUARANTEE you that you will love every single second of it. What the game lacks in a single-player campaign, it more than makes up for in its other game modes.
After rocking on through the main story, I turned my attention to the arcade mode, purely because if any other players are like me…if you haven’t gotten 100% on every single song, you’re a failure. Call yourself a metalhead? Pathetic, get in the bin.
But all joking aside, I genuinely had an astonishing time with this game, especially with the Hellgate mode. The amount of time and dedication that must have gone into some of the songs I played was truly awe-inspiring, albeit a tad difficult, which brings me to my next point…
How Do I Work This Thing?
Even on the easiest difficulty, the first couple of songs went from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye. Now luckily, I have had a fair bit of practice, but for those new to the genre, that learning curve may be a bit too steep for them. I am unsure as to whether it is the ongoing issues with the Joy-Cons for the Nintendo Switch, or maybe my reflexes aren’t as good as I thought they were. But every couple of songs, the notes don’t seem to register when they’ve been hit. Strange, huh?
As previously mentioned, there are multiple control options at your disposal, one of which is using the Joy-Cons (Switch) as the “kick pedals” by swinging them down as and when. I will give you one word of advice, should you choose to go down this route: Do not. This is not an issue with the game itself. But I am quite sure my son’s hamster was more responsive after it died than the Joy-Cons were with this game.
You Can’t Destroy the Metal, the Metal Will Live On!
Aside from the missed hit issues with the gameplay, which may be something Headbang Club need to look into/update, as well as the rather dysfunctional Joy-Con problem, Double Kick Heroes is a pretty damn solid game.
With its nostalgic looking pixelated artwork and rather short yet enjoyable storyline, there’s still plenty of rock and roll gameplay for you to enjoy in this game’s other game modes.
So, I’ll ask you again: Do you like shoot-em-ups? Do you like 8-bit-style graphics? But most importantly…do you like HEAVY F@!*#$G METAL?! Then plug in those amps and crank it up to eleven because Double Kick Heroes is going to melt your goddamn minds!!
Developer: Headbang Club
Publisher: Headbang Club
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Release Date: 13th August 2020
Gaming Respawn’s copy of Double Kick Heroes was provided from the publisher.