You have spent the last five minuets carefully drawing out assault paths. After you nervously issue the go order, your troops quietly approach the target house, eliminating sentries with suppressed weapons… BANG! CRASH! Wood and glass shatter, flashbangs are chucked through doors and windows… BANG! BANG! Your men pour into the building, methodically clearing rooms and corridors, eliminating the stunned enemy and securing the cowering hostages. Mission Complete. You sigh with relief. With one order your men swiftly completed their mission.
The above scenario would be the perfect mission in Door Kickers, however operations are rarely this simple.
Door Kickers is a 2D real-time tactics game. The player controls a team of SWAT officers as they complete arrest, bomb defusal, evidence seizure, and hostage rescue missions. Though a intuitive click and drag mechanic you lead your men through both tight claustrophobic hallways, as well as open spaces where any window, door or unchecked area are potential ambush points.
Computer opponents are randomly generated. Terrorists will not always be placed in the same spots. Semi-random deployment of the the enemy forces ensure each play-through will have some sort of surprise. This keeps players honest. A closet that was empty, could now contain an uzi wielding tango who takes out half your team from behind. In addition to movement, the player controls the facing of the officers. While officers will fight back when fired upon, death comes quickly and failing to swiftly face hostiles can result in a short career for your men.
Timing is also crucial: your men will have to execute different actions in coordination. None of your men are Rambo, and they will be unable to engage threats from multiple directions. They must work as a team. While during a level, you can pause at anytime and give your men new orders, the most impressive way to win is by planning out all your troops movements before the mission starts. If you can do this on the harder missions, it shows you are a master of detailed plans which are impervious to unpredictable enemy actions.
Weapons, Armor, Equipment
History shows that in battle, victory is often determined before the fighting even starts. This is the case in Door Kickers as well. Teams can be completely customized to fit the particular mission. Over the course of play you will unlock classes and equipment based on points earned from completing missions. Points are not plentiful, so when you are starting out, make sure you chose your equipment wisely as the right equipment will make completing future mission easier.
Different classes of soldiers change your troops capabilities. Pointmen quickly engage their targets, assaulters carry the most powerful rifles, breachers use explosive door blasting shotguns, stealth officers carry suppressed weapons, and shield officers carry armored shields which deflect bullets. The easier missions can be beaten through a variety of means depending on the type of troops you use, however the more difficult levels will have your brain straining over which combination of troops to deploy.
Within each class, loadout options include various weapons, armor and equipment. No option is over powered, but most weapons and equipment have a niche role they are best suited for. Weapons vary in accuracy, loudness, rate of fire, power, armor penetration and maneuverability. The only equipment choice that seems forced is the armor option.
The light armor options are too ineffective in stopping enemy rounds, offering only the small advantage of increased speed. I recommend always choosing the heavier assault and extended armored vests. Team members can also use flashbangs and breaching chargers which will stun enemies. Other options include spy cameras, lockpicks, hammers, and bolt cutters. These tools allow the SWAT team a plethora of option for entering rooms.
It is impressive that a 2D game can have such a large variety of equipment and weapons options. The weapons in 3D games like Call of Duty all seem to be variations of a full auto with a 30 round magazine. In Door Kickers the distinction in class and weapons is real and deeply effects how you can potential complete missions.
It Simply Is Complex
The missions will increase in complexity. The most elaborate mission I played was the final mission in the Terror at Sea campaign. This level took hours for me to complete. It takes place on a massive multi-decked cruise ship. After finishing the mission, it took 11 minutes to watch the replay in real-time.
The hostage rescue missions were the most complex. Stray bullets are liable to hit hostages, resulting in instant mission failure. Avoiding hostage deaths will effect how you move troops into rooms, and where you position your troops to fire from. Be careful using shotguns and breaching charges near hostages. In addition, there are always a few psycho terrorists who will specifically target hostages when they hear police presence. Make sure to kill those guys before they evacuate the gray matter of some innocent white collar joe.
While this is a very challenging and addicting game that will reward you with its increasing complexity, the game currently is not even finished. Its in early access at Steam and the creators are designing new features including new missions, campaigns, and equipment. It is sold on Steam for $19.99, and it is often on sale.
Gameplay: 40/45. This is a serious game. Simple mechanics lead to increasing complexity, requiring periods of thought before intense action.
Controls: 22/25. The controls are tight and very intuitive. I never fought with the controls to employ my tactics. I did not experience any glitches over the course of 50 hours of play.
Graphics: 14/15. Despite the game being 2D, the animations convincingly bring both life and death into the game.
Sound: 8/10. The actions of your men, terrorists, hostages and environment cue corresponding sounds. The cacophony of these sounds as a result of your orders, means you are not a simply a team commander, but a conductor of great blood symphony.
Story: 1/5. The attempt at a story is pathetic. Any story elements you need to make up yourself. Your troops could just as easily be LAPD or Marines in Fallujah.
Masculinity Score: Despite calls for female Army Rangers and Navy SEALs, society will always require men to enforce her rules. Door Kickers is a game that puts you in command of a SWAT team tasked with close combat with society’s worst. There is no room for crazy physics defying action. This game shows the cold and analytic side of killing. Make a plan and execute it. Door Kickers receives four out of five flashbangs.