(Review) Door Kickers: Action Squad

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life isn’t it? Door Kickers was a cool game and to take that and put it in a 2D Platformer (of sorts) and have it go over so well is impressive. Door Kickers: Action Squad is an 80’s police action movie in pixelated form. There are a few annoyances along the path of wanton carnage to be sure, but there are a lot of bullets, explosions and doors getting kicked! Does one side out-weigh the other? Let me break it down for you.

Let’s get straight to it; Door Kickers: Action Squad is fun. It can be frustrating due to some difficult bad guys, but the overall experience is just fun. I only have one major gripe, but I’ll cover that at the end. (Ignore the dead hostage on the floor.)

The previous games were a lot more complicated than this game is. You may view it differently, but the game can be played with relative ease given some specific mechanics. There’s only a few sure-fire ways to die/lose. Flamethrower guys and that dude with a shield are obviously mean. They are rude and super powerful. Shooting hostages is a good way to lose as well (but hey, there’s an achievement for that). Losing a single hostage actually plays into the third: losing a star. If you lose a single hostage or lose a buddy and have to resurrect him, you lose a star. Now, you do technically win and can move on, but let’s be honest with ourselves here: we all want to three-star every map don’t we? Of course we do. Other than that, it’s hard to lose with the shooting mechanics being as good as they are (if you don’t go full-auto).

Speaking of going full-auto (you never go full-auto), the guns work pretty well. Almost every class has an option to shoot very straight and accurate. Breacher has his slug round, Assaulter has his aimed shot, Recon has his silenced shooting (it’s not real full-auto, get off my back), Shield’s pistol is fairly straight even when you shoot fast and Agent Fergie has pistols that are mostly accurate as well even when going Akimbo. All of these moves and modes of shooting allow for sniping baddies that you can’t see on your screen. There are bad guys that will grab a hostage or blow one up giving the right set of conditions. Most of them won’t have the opportunity if you shoot them before they have the chance. The “Sniper Support” move is also a great way to solve these situations without even putting yourself at risk. Heck, the Sniper move even works in basements because the Action Squad only hires “the best of the best of the best sir… with honors.”

Yup… I even had my sniper shoot the dog. He was gonna gnaw my face off so it’s fine.

That’s not to say that you don’t have to think, but there are multiple ways to approach almost every situation. Shooting people from behind is always a classic. If you kick open a door, that catches most enemies off-guard, waiting to be shot. When that isn’t an option and your Sniper Support isn’t up, there’s always flash bangs or even Shield has a shield with a flash bang ability (be careful though because it’s directional. Breaching a door with an explosive will also catch some baddies off-guard and I believe the Breacher has an ability that makes it so when you gib enemies, it makes others panic. It’s messy, but effective against the regular baddies. The more experienced don’t have any real friends I guess.

Some of these abilities are gained by simply finishing levels and spending the stars (I told you’d want more stars) on new weapons or gear, but when you level up you get two points to put into the skill-lines for either a team or character specific buff. (I’d say trees, but they don’t branch. Skill-sticks maybe? No, that’s even worse.) At this point, you can choose to reset the character specific points and rearrange what you’ve got for free. The issue is that if you’ve put any points into the team Lines, then those points are lost to any character. Once you get to level 17 (Seriously, level 17? Why that number?), you’ve reached the max level cap and will get no more points to spend on that specific character. You cannot max everyone out. I don’t understand the logic behind this chose, but they also mention that they are probably going to add a full reset at a later date. I can only hope that they do, because some of my characters are just plain screwed at this point as far as getting all of their abilities that sound cool.

Oh… did you want more points to gain an ability? Maybe it will be modded/patched in later…

The levels don’t change as you go into them. What that tends to do is create more of a puzzle game element to Door Kickers: Action Squad. How will you solve this or that situation given what you or you and your buddy have on-hand? The next level of awesome is that they are planning on adding mod support and a level editor at some later date. More levels? More door kicking action? Yes please! I also love the idea of making levels myself and I would totally get into the action! At that point, they should have added more levels to the characters so you can max them all out. Maybe they’ll just leave that to the modders.

Further Reading on Door Kickers: Action Squad: Facebook / Official Page / Steam / Twitter

Even jumping back into Door Kickers: Action Squad to grab some personal screen-shots was a good time. If there can be more levels added via the Steam workshop at a later date, this game can only get more awesome. The action feels great here and while I admit that the game can be easy at times, there are levels that will kick you on your butt if you don’t have the right combination of equipment. (Armor piercing rounds on bad guys is rude!) With all of the fun to be had here solo or with a friend, the price is a super easy pill to swallow. It didn’t even occur to mention that the game was pixelated because after a few hours of playing you probably won’t notice, even if that normally bothers you. I’d say consider picking it up anyway if the concept sounds interesting or fun.

Love it or hate it, let me know!