In Mad Max: Fury Road, one character was clearly having more fun than the rest: Coma, the Doof Warrior. You know, the guy with the flaming guitar and massive wall of speakers providing growling musical accompaniment to the carnage unfolding around him. Double Kick Heroes takes that concept and runs with it; what if the power of metal itself was the one thing keeping you alive on the irradiated roads of the apocalypse?
Originally debuting in the 34th Ludum Dare dev-jam, that particular one limiting designs to the concepts of ‘Two Button controls’ and ‘Growing’, the rhythm shooter Double Kick Heroes hits Early Access this April, now free of its old restrictions.
While the original Ludum Dare iteration (released way back in December of 2015) had you outrunning a growing swarm of zombies, the full game is going to be accompanying its 30-track playlist with all manner of apocalyptic problems to deal with, including mutant soldiers, shark-men, dinosaurs with way too many mouths and even some Mad Max-style road gangs, all of which are dealt with through basic (yet demanding) three-instrument rhythm gameplay not entirely unlike Beatmania.
The old prototype version focused solely on the drums, with you using both the left and right arrow keys to thrash out high tempo percussion, a machinegun bullet accompanying each note hit. The upcoming commercial version looks to add grenades and sniper fire to the mix accompanying other instruments, and it looks like you’ll have to do some manual targeting and even some maneuvering on the road all the while.
For all its heavy metal excess, Double Kick Heroes has been developed at a measured pace, and will be done only when the team behind it – the excellently named Headbang Club – are satisfied. As such, its initial debut on April 11th will be via Steam Early Access, and will feature 18 tracks, a little under two thirds of the final game. The full game also promises a level editor, allowing you to add your own music and compose note-charts to match. Owing to the legal risks involved, I feel this may exclude it from the Steam Workshop, but it’s great they going that far.