There are lots of rhythm/music games that you can delve into right now, even if the genre isn’t exactly hustling and bustling like it was in the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games. There’s all sorts of classics to dive into, like the memorable Gitaroo Man; and, of course, you can’t go wrong with Cadence of Hyrule on the Switch.
But it’s been ages since we’ve had a pretty good title that’s resorted to “headbanging,” or blasting along to the likes of classic heavy metal with a good head of hair. (Yes, that includes mullets.) And this is where Headbang Club comes in with Double Kick Heroes, a game that relives those glory days the best it can, complete with a fun story mode and an array of pretty good tunes.
Get Down With Your Bad Selves
Does it have the same quality line-up as, say, Rock Band 4? No, and that’s mostly due to budget. But the developer does a good job anyway, with an assortment of tunes and challenges that will keep you on your toes. When you’re not banging your head, that is.
In the game, you take control of a band that’s all gathered together in a little cruiser, hitting the open road while zombies, demons and other monsters pursue you from behind. Your job is to hit beats that appear on the bottom of the screen to keep attacking them, so they don’t catch up to you.
On easier difficulty settings, Double Kick Heroes is a cinch and will get you accustomed to the controls. However, bump it up a notch and you’ll see two rhythm tracks to match up instead of the one, as well as having to steer the car on the road to avoid obstacles. It can be a little challenging at first, but Headbang managed to create a suitably balanced game here, once you get used to it.
What’s more, there’s a lot included with the game. Arcade lets you play any song you unlock right off the bat; and Adventure mode has a great story to tell, revolving around the band that you’re playing as. Then there’s Hellgate mode, for those that really want to bump up their rock skills. How hardcore is it? Well, there’s a Gojira song. So that about sums it up.
Overall, the gameplay works, though harder settings might be a bit weary for newcomers. But it’s got its own appeal to it, something that works in a genre that’s seen all sorts of examples in how to master music. Double Kick fits nicely right in there, and should suit fans to a tee.
A Good Retro Style, and a Decent Soundtrack
For Double Kick Heroes’ visuals, Headbang sticks with the old-school, with an 8-bit style that really works for a game like this. The multi-scrolling apocalyptic settings are excellent, and it’s fun to watch the characters rock out while the world ends around them. The screen is also conveniently set up, with the action on the top screen and the beats conveniently scrolling by on the bottom. Again, it might be a bit much for some, but it’s easy to follow after a couple of rounds.
As for the soundtrack, it’s mostly indie tunes, although it is great to see Yann Ligher and Carpenter Brut (look them up, seriously) provide some contributions. I just wish some songs weren’t simply in one mode, like that Gojira challenge exclusively in Hellgate. And there’s no word on DLC, so it would be nice to hear about some kind of expansion.
Rock On With This Indie Fave
Also, the monster noises are great, albeit a little brief. But you came here for the rock, not the suffering, right? Unless you’re down with both, that is.
While Double Kick Heroes’ lack of AAA bands and somewhat questionable difficulty may not do it for some, Headbang has made an appealing game that caters to the wannabe rock gods out there. It’s a music/rhythm game that nails its chords properly, and is good fun to play, especially for those up for a challenge. And its visuals are appealing, right at home that want to take in an old-school presentation. Turn off the Nickelback for a moment and enjoy the good ol’ days of monster rock, because this game is worth it.
A game that rocks out with its schlock out, Double Kick Heroes is a good time.
Streamer and Cosplay Enthusiast