Doorkickers: Review

Imagine you're tasked with rescuing two games, taken hostage by evil, I don’t know... Evil GamerGate types. Imagine a little more, that you are the Social Justice SWAT team sent to rescue them. But it goes horribly, albeit dramatically wrong. In the spray of bullets and angry recriminations, the two games are killed, their blood and possibly even parts mingled.

It’s a tortured metaphor to be sure, but the result of such a bloody co-mingling could well be the appropriately named Doorkickers, and a top down game of tactical, small unit operations that is an almost exact cross between the classic SWAT games of yore, and the more modern Frozen Synapse, a somewhat abstract game of carefully timed, top down firefights.

Doorkickers is also much easier to control. You simply click and drag your SWAT members around, curving them through doors or setting them to advance hugging walls. Items like doors can be interacting with depending on the door itself or tools at hand you can kick some in, while others will need to have their locks picked, or you can simply set a breaching charge to blow them in completely.
[it’s] a serious challenge, to map out a complete multi room, multi target assault.
All of this happens in a pausable real time, so that you can order folks to a door, set up a spy cam, and then peer about inside while paused, and then give your next orders. You can also set up to three ‘go points’, where team members will wait to complete their tasks until a certain go code is given. Using all this, you can time some pretty interesting tactical breaches in one instance, we were able to get well inside a house to rescue some hostages, while another team waited outside the door to a room that had a few bad guys inside, so that when the time came to go loud, we could time it so the bad guys had no chance.

Impressively, real small unit tactics stacking up behind one another, and ‘scissoring’ into a room so that all angles can be quickly covered work very well.

Some maps you start out playing a linear series of standalone challenge maps, with campaigns unlocked when your squad hits level six also give you a sniper, but this is elegantly abstracted. Your sniper buddy is represented by a target on a visible badguy, and a button at the bottom of the screen that gives the shoot order. It keeps the action focused on the CQB house clearings and hostage rescues, but still feels really flavoursome.

While the game is obviously built around a steady pace of pause, order, pause, each map also comes with an achievement for completing with a single set of orders. But that’s a serious challenge, to map out a complete multi room, multi target assault. But it’s certainly fun trying.

As you level your squad, you unlock points to buy both perks for you team, and new weapons and gear, from better body armour, to SMGs and rifles, or the ability to fire off a quick double tap, or make better use of cover. It’s enough detail to make working through the three campaigns a real pleasure, and the game comes complete with a level editor so that anyone can create new content, or even complete mods of the original game.

Doorkickers is not a big game, but for the $20-odd asking price, it’s certainly a lot of fun, with some simple but engaging mechanics, and a lot of cool SWAT flavour. And if you fancy yourself as a level editor, it’s a good place to start. Now excuse me, but those hostages won’t rescue themselves.

8/10

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