2016 was a year of growth for us at Geeks Under Grace, especially in the gaming department. I was always in the lookout for the next sleeper hit, and had requested a review copy of Door Kickers well beyond its launch window of October 20, 2015. Oops! KillHouse Games was generous regardless, and granted our request. I was in luck, because Door Kickers is an excellent take on the RTT (Real Time Tactics) genre, successfully condensing the complexity of Rainbow Six-style squad-based sorties from planning stages that would take me upwards of an hour to plan, to about ten to fifteen minutes; this meant that I spent more time actually playing the game, actively carrying out the plan than constructing it. Do consider picking up Door Kickers, for it is one of the first games during my tenure here at GUG that shocked me in terms of its quality.
Publisher KillHouse Games has since declared a War on Doors, and has recruited developer PixelShard’s to its cause. The result is Door Kickers: Action Squad, and we have been given permission to take a peek at its state as an Early Access game.
I had a feeling that I would enjoy Door Kickers: Action Squad; on sight, the game strongly resembles one of my all-time favorite side-scrolling action/SHMUP games, Elevator Action Returns. The similarities might be purely coincidental, but that will not prevent me from viewing the former a nostalgic proxy. So far, Door Kickers: Action Squad allows players to select between three classes: the assaulter is the long-range class whose accuracy is fickle; the breacher is best for close-range encounters with limited enemies; the shield is the class with the most armor, but it also deals the least amount of damage. The classes are supposed to be further distinguished by the assaulter suffering from high recoil (accuracy) while enjoying high range, while the shield offers lower recoil in exchange for less stopping power,;however if the breacher suffers from any significant flaws, I cannot discern them. If I lay on the attack button with the assaulter, my bullets might fly in random directions; high firepower enemies can blow through the shield’s…shield, before eliminating them. Thus far, the breacher is like a swiss army knife, able to handle any situation that I have encountered.
As with its spiritual predecessor Door Kickers, the mission options thus far available in Door Kickers: Action Squad include hostage rescue, bomb diffusal, and complete elimination of all bogeys. Actually, the latter strikes me as a persistent requirement no matter the selected mission type—I know for sure that after diffusing the bomb, the mission does not end until everyone is dead. Nevertheless, players will progress through different somewhat identical stages administering justice.
To facilitate search and rescue, a tactical item menu charges up two bars for every hostage rescued. There, one can select armor, special item refills (grenades, breech charges, etc), health, sniper support, or the option to revive a fallen squadmate. Indeed, Door Kickers: Action squad currently supports two players at a time. After waiting in the queue for about ten minutes, I successfully connected with a random on Steam. Missions that I were breezing through relatively easily were beginning to bore me. I then attempted to connect via multiplayer to someone, and the game instantly became more fun as our lack of coordination resulted in a few…casualties. Hopefully, the final version of the game will add some sort of communication medium to assist in sortie coordination.
Door Kickers: Action Squad is shaping up to be a good game, but it thus far falls short of the magic of Door Kickers, specifically in the area of content. However, the developers are active all over this game, from the store to the discussions, and a large patch is incoming for December. Stay tuned, for his one has potential!
Preview code generously provided by InTheKillhouse.