Door Kickers: Action Squad is like a two-player 2D Rainbow Six Siege
A SWAT strategy game becomes an action-packed shooter.
The original Door Kickers was a lovely little tactical puzzle game released in 2014. Door Kickers 2: Task Force North was announced two years later later and said to be coming in 2016, but it’s still nowhere to be seen. However, developer KillHouse Games actually has another game out to scratch that door kicking itch. It’s Door Kickers: Action Squad, and it’s out now on Steam Early Access.
Where Door Kickers was all about carefully executing SWAT maneuvers and rescuing hostages, Door Kickers: Action Squad is a 2D side-scroller that feels more like Broforce. It’s a cartoonishly high-octane game about shooting first, asking questions never, and maybe rescuing some hostages in the process. It could hardly be more different from the original game, but Action Squad is still a heck of a lot of fun.
I recently had the opportunity to play it for myself, and even in Early Access, Action Squad looks, sounds and feels good, especially in co-op. You play as one of four SWAT operatives decked out in customizable weapons, gear and abilities, from riot shields and bulletproof vests to tear gas grenades and sniper support. Your goal is to clear out all the bad guys in each level and save as many hostages as possible. The better you do, the more stars you earn, which means more upgrades for your favorite equipment.
As you kill bad guys, you earn energy which can be used to refill your gear, spawn armor or med kits, or activate screen-clearing abilities. The energy system gives levels a good sense of flow—if I take these two guys out first, I’ll have enough energy to take out this group of three easily—and it works great in multiplayer because you can strategize around each other’s abilities and resources.
I had fun playing on my own, but Action Squad really benefits from the inclusion of local and online co-op. It’s fun to experiment with different combinations of operatives. You can play as Shield and hold the line, for example, while your friend rips through dudes as the Assaulter. It feels a lot like Rainbow Six Siege in these moments, in no small part because, like the original Door Kickers, Action Squad is hard as hell. You can kill most enemies with a few shots, but if you get caught out in the open, you’ll torn apart nearly as quickly.
KillHouse Games reckons Action Squad will stay in Early Access until later this July, with more enemies, bosses, operatives, and levels to be added in the interim. It’s currently $12 on Steam, but its price will jump to around $15 when it leaves Early Access.