Door Kickers is a real-time strategy game that puts you in control of a SWAT team as they kick doors and chew bubblegum. It’s available through Steam’s Early Access – with regular updates coming down the pipe, and an expected final release in the first quarter of 2014 – so I’m here to tell you about the current state of play.
I’ve been kicking doors for a little over a month now. and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. The simplest way to describe Door Kickers would be to say it’s a cross between SWAT 4 and Frozen Synapse. That’s not strictly accurate, but it’s a helpful description nonetheless.
As with SWAT 4 you’re in control of a team of SWAT Police and there’s a strong dose of realism involved in pulling off the “tactical interventions” that make up each mission. However, unlike SWAT 4, Door Kickers plays from a top-down perspective, which is where the Frozen Synapse comparisons are drawn in.
There’s a lot more “play” here than in Frozen Synapse, due to Door Kicker’s real-time nature. If you make a mistake things get incredibly grim, incredibly quickly. Just watch this video.
To be fair, this is a strategy I like to call “Jake is a camping shitbag”. In case you hadn’t gathered from that description, it involves me standing in some decent cover and waiting for all the enemies to come out for summary execution. Actually entering any doors is painful and bloody, and is to be avoided where possible, despite what it says on the box. Some of the most complicated maps have you dashing through multiple doorways at once and the goal is not so much pulling off a flawless assault but rather minimising your losses as you clear rooms full of super-aggressive, gun-toting bad dudes.
As of the most recent update, there’s now a random mission generator and the ability to have a shootout on a plane. They’ve also added an arbitrary loadout screen – arbitrary because the weapons all feel entirely similar – but the real core of Door Kickers remains unchanged.
Door Kickers is well-executed without too many mechanics to clutter the experience up, and while I don’t think it’ll ever suck you in for a lost weekend like X-Com or Jagged Alliance 2, it’s something I find myself coming back to when I’ve got a free twenty minutes just to try out new strategies or engage my thinking muscles. If that sounds like your sort of thing, jump on board. This particular Early Access already has a very strong core, and it can only get better.