I'm not entirely sure why KillHouse's tactical SWAT 'em up Door Kickers went and spawned a side-scrolling arcade spinoff, but I'm glad it did. Released yesterday and co-developed by PixelShard, Door Kickers: Action Squad is a semi-tactical platform shooter for one or two players (online or local). Players kick open doors, shoot assorted 80s action movie villains and look cool doing it.
Action Squad has been available in early access since last year, but now it's all stacked up and ready to breach, bang and clear. Below, a tongue-in-cheek launch trailer featuring some of its old-school soundtrack.
Door Kickers: Action Squad feels a bit like a hybrid of Roll7's Not A Hero, the original Door Kickers and maybe a bit of Rainbow Six Siege. Enemies are very lethal, damage to hostages is deducted from your health, and levels are non-linear with multiple degrees of potential success. There's five characters to play with, each with their own gear and perks, and these synergise especially well in co-op. Progress through more open levels is aided by a support gauge, which is increased by kills and hostage rescues, and can be spent on resupplies, heals or for off-map fire support.
As with Door Kickers proper, levels are laid out as tactical puzzles, and they've got multiple valid solutions. While it's possible to progress with lower scores, clearing levels more professionally rewards more 'stars', which can be spent on more equipment unlocks for your character. While it shouldn't take much to get a single full loadout for a favourite character, shooting for high scores will give you more flexibility later. I'm still early on, but it's good, clever-dumb fun so far, and something I hope to sink a bit more time into playing co-op at the weekend.