I love a good story based game but every now and then I just want to kick some doors down and have some mindless action. Door Kickers: Action Squad I thought might be a title I could do that with but as it turns out this game isn’t quite so mindless. I never played it but I found out that this game here is actually a sequel of sorts to a tough top-down game called Action Squad. Door Kickers moves from the top-down perspective to a 2D pixel art sidescrolling look instead and it doesn’t become any easier in doing so.
The first thing I want to mention is that this game can be played with one or two players locally or online so if you got a buddy who wants to join your SWAT team and help you take down scum then pass them a controller or send them an invite. If you play locally then both of you appear on the same screen instead of it splitting it. Much like any indie title finding online players will be hard but I like that the option is there in case you know someone who has the game for sure so that you can invite them. The controls in the game take some getting used to as you don’t fire your gun with L2 or R2 but rather the square button. Circle reloads your gun, X is used to jump, L1 activates your power-up and R1 is for equipment.
You start off the game by selecting from six SWAT members with each of them varying in weapons and abilities. Each agent has benefits and negatives associated with them and it can be fun to experiment with each. Every level has you entering buildings usually with multiple floors. You’ll move from room to room trying to take out enemies found in each. It’s best to try to get the jump on them before they see you and attack first. As you might expect from the game’s title you’ll be kicking in doors, a lot. Some doors take multiple hits to open while others require a key card to open them. You can also opt to strap an explosive to the door and blow it open that way.
The enemies in this game aren’t the smartest things around around but it only takes them a few shots to kill you so you have to be on your toes regardless. They are armed with all kinds of weapons like shotguns, knives, SMGs, and more. Some even act as suicide bombers so you’ll want to avoid letting them get in close as much as possible. You may be wondering where the thinking part comes in that I mentioned earlier. Well while it’s true that you want to be blasting enemies as soon as you can you also have to be wary of killing any potential hostages that may be in the room as well. Because that’s a possibility you’ll want to avoid using certain types of weapons and equipment that may hurt them so that’s where you’ll have to think before acting.
One of the keys to doing well is by using power-ups in the game which include extra health, armor, extra lives and the ability to respawn. You also have a really powerful ability that can be activated with one example being sniper support that can easily take out enemies. Power-ups can be obtained by killing enemies and rescuing people. In my opinion they are essential for clearing these levels as without them the difficulty can be too great. The game can be fun but you do spend the entire game doing mostly the same thing so it can get repetitive. Playing the game in co-op can help with that and certainly make for a good time as you and your partner coordinate your strategy or just go bumbling in guns blazing. You don’t have to stick together either as the game’s levels give you the option to split up and go about it any way you choose which is really nice.
As you complete levels you’ll gain points that can be spent on upgrading the skills of your SWAT agent. You can beef up your health, improve your accuracy and so on. Upgrading is key in order to have a better chance of getting the full three stars on each level. New weapons are also unlocked by maxing your star rating so it’s very much worth aiming for that. Outside of the regular game mode there is also a zombie mode included. This mode is just like the standard mode except now there are zombies around which can attack you and the other enemies. Infinity Tower is another mode which puts you in random levels to see how far you can make it before dying. When it comes the the graphics the retro pixel art style the game uses is fine but isn’t the best use of it I’ve seen and the music was OK but nothing special. Trophy hunters out there will find a whopping 52 trophies here. It’s a big list with a wide array of things to do in order to get the Platinum.
If you’re looking for a solid little shooter to kill some time with then Door Kickers: Action Squad is worth a look. The option to play with another player either locally or online is a great addition and the game is much more fun when doing so as it can help from the repetitiveness of the game from sinking in.
*Door Kickers: Action Squad is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher.