Door Kickers: Action Squad (PC) review and stream
Creative 2D art
interesting level design
Customizable character loadouts
Odd difficulty flow
Door Kickers: Action Squad is an odd mix of action and puzzle game that is rarely seen in fully finished games. The premise itself is that the player takes control over two swat team members and must recuse all the hostages/kill bad guys—something that does lend itself very well to the genre mixture. The 2D pixel art seems to have been chosen for this as well, as does many of the other choices made in the design of the game. The problems, also, come from the choices for the genre—as it is possible to know the solution to the problem, but not have the reaction time to do it.
The 2D pixel art cross section of the level that the player is presented with to play through is stylistically done, and impressive. It does a spectacular job of conveying movement, weight of the characters, and the impact of shots from guns. This, above the other aspects of the game, does the most to tie every part of the game together into something cohesive, and playable. Even if it is only for short bursts before the frustration sets in and the game itself needs to go away for a little while.
Check out our stream of Door Kickers: Action Squad embedded below:
One of the larger problems with the game starts to present itself the moment that any of the levels become complicated in any format; that is that many of the levels seem to be designed in such a way that it becomes increasingly, if not impossible to clear them on the first play through. This happens in several ways, either a hostage will easily get shot in an exchange with the “bad guys” forcing another play through for a perfect clear, or rooms that there is not a secure way to enter—the latter of the two can be more annoying because the contents of which can be anything from empty to a room requiring carefully placed shoots, either way most of the time it requires the level to be started over.
One of the other faults is the game balance. The gun that the player starts with takes several shots to take down an enemy, and after the first shot has a habit of not being accurate enough to use. Yet the last gun that the player can upgrade to with the first class can take out enemies in one shot and be fired in such controlled bursts that it is easy to empty a room by fanning the button. This, is of course, not discounting the worst enemy in the game—ladders. Player character are completely vulnerable while on them, and everything in the level that can do damage will use that moment to kill the player. They are bad enough that they should almost be avoided at all costs.
Door Kickers isn’t a bad game, and if someone told me that they enjoyed this game for various reasons, that too would be completely understandable. The problem is that there are issues with the foundation of the game that never really seem to settle correctly. It is uneven in places and it makes it hard to ever get a good pace going. There is fun to be had here, but that just isn’t for me.