Double Kick Heroes is a heavy-metal rhythm shoot ‘em up set across a post-apocalyptic USA. It emerged from Ludum Dare 34 back in 2015 when the developers which would later make up Headbang Club wanted to make a game that combined heavy metal with shooting.
Now, this isn’t a different take on Guitar Hero, but instead it’s a percussion-centric rhythm game. Zombies have taken over the world, and you must travel with your metal band in a weaponized convertible on a trip across the USA. Of course, things aren’t as simple as driving around and blasting zombies: your car’s weapons are triggered by the double-kick bass pedal. In other words: whenever you kick that bass drum, your guns fire. This leads to some seriously satisfying heavy metal rhythm action.
The first impression I had of Double Kick Heroes is that it’s like a pixel art game with heavy metal sensibilities—almost as if Dethklok from Metalocalypse had their own video game. Almost. The original soundtrack is great, and easily one of the best parts of Double Kick Heroes. With some great heavy metal music that ranges from competent to pretty awesome.
You can play Double Kick Heroes in story mode, with amusing pixel art cutscenes, or you can skip all of the story bits and play from level to level in arcade mode. There are five difficultly levels to choose from, with most centered around the double-kick bass pedal mechanic. It isn’t until the last few difficulties that snare drums and cymbals are added in, which adds a ton of difficulty. I would love to see customizable difficulty in the future, or a few more difficultly options to ease into the insanity the cymbals and snare adds.
If you’re not too into the in-game soundtrack, Double Kick Heroes has has a level editor available right at early access release that allows you to create custom levels set to the music you want. You are also able to browse other player created levels and share your own with the community.
Double Kick Heroes is in early access, meaning it’s currently in development. Headbang Club is planning on keeping Double Kick Heroes in early access for about six months to finish the levels and story. Right now it’s not feature complete, but the developers seem willing to listen to feedback which is always great to see in an early access title. I’m excited to see how Double Kick Heroes shapes up. Look for it tomorrow on Steam Early Access. Meanwhile, you can try out a demo version on itch.io here.