Three-person Romanian indie studio KillHouse Games has released a second alpha of its real-time tactics sim Door Kickers.
Portrayed from a top-down perspective, Door Kickers may look like a more understated Hotline Miami, but instead of controlling one deranged lunatic, you're managing a SWAT team that needs to work together to eliminate criminals before they kill their hostages or set off bombs.
The action transpires in real-time, but you can pause at any time to reassess your situation and give squad commands. Being able to stop freeze time indefinitely may sound like it would make the game too easy, but the challenges are tailored with this superhuman ability in mind.
I'm reminded of something Mark of the Ninja lead designer Nels Anderson said at a recent GDC talk wherein he explained that in that game's prototype players had to spend action points to freeze time when lining up projectile weapon shots. As a result, people didn't want to use such a limited resource, so he decided to make it so you could stop time anytime you wanted to aim. The result: you felt like a badass friggin' ninja! The same thing is true in Door Kickers. It's about planning and executing (literally), with no time pressure - though there are star rankings for speedrunning types.
Enemy locations vary each time you play, so you can't simply rely on trial and error. Additionally, there will be mission and campaign generators for user-created content.
Other enhancements KillHouse will add include: selectable entry points, locked doors with different forms of breaching, guard dogs, melee combat, surrendering foes, trooper inventory customisation, and lots of AI improvements.
So far Door Kickers is a strictly single-player affair, but KillHouse has expressed interest in making a multiplayer component at some point, but that's yet to be officially announced.
Having played the alpha, I'd say Door Kickers is a lot of fun, though it's obviously a work in progress. It's a bit too simple at the moment, but the additions outlines above should fix that, and I hope KillHouse implements a clearer distinction between planning mode and real-time mode. Right now the only way to tell if you're paused or not is to look at the timer, and I found it all too easy to accidentally run down the clock when I thought I was in the midst of a time-out.
Purchasing Door Kickers alpha access costs $7.99, but you'll receive access to the final game when it comes out later this year on PC - with Mac, Linux, iOS and Android versions to follow. You can also lend your support to Door Kickers on its Steam Greenlight page.