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Game Info:

Kick Ass Commandos
Developed by: Anarchy Enterprises
Published by: Anarchy Enterprises
Release date: November 17, 2016
Available on: Linux, Mac, Windows
Genre: Twin-stick Shooter
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $14.99

Thank you Anarchy Enterprises for sending us this game to review!

Kick *ss Commandos is a 2D over-the-top twin stick shooter that lets you splatter the innards of enemy soldiers, tanks, helicopters, and alligators.  As of this review there are six mission packs with nine levels apiece.  The levels typically have to be completed sequentially, but sometimes there are multiple paths to take to get to the final boss of the mission pack.  

There’s plenty of variety in the mission objectives. The most common theme is to rescue prisoners and make it to the extraction point with as many of them alive as possible.  You get experience for each rescued soldier, but lose a portion of it if they die.  Given that the AI isn’t the brightest, it’s nice to know that a game over screen won’t trigger if they walk straight into enemy gunfire.  Some missions have you rescue a particular commando and in those missions you have to keep them alive until the end of the level.  As a reward for keeping them in one piece, they become playable characters.

Each commando has various attributes like health, armor, rate of fire, and damage dealt.  There’s also a valor skill that increases the health of the rescued prisoners.  As the commanders accumulate experience points, they’ll rise up in rank and earn skill points which can be used to buff their stats.  With the variety in unlockable characters, it takes dedication to stick with one character and level them up all of the way to Commando Major.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun twin-stick shooter game with over-the-top violence and silly references to movies and songs
Weak Points: Limited controller support; dumb AI
Moral Warnings: Violence, blood, and dismemberment; language; drug and sexual references

For each rank earned you’ll also unlock one of the sixty-seven Steam achievements.  There are also achievements for each of the unlocked characters and bosses defeated.  Some of the memorable levels, like the one where you have to retrieve the heads of fallen comrades, have achievements too.  Steam trading cards are also available for this game.  One Steam feature I miss are the cloud saves.

Although Steam lists this title as having full controller support, two of my controllers didn’t work right away.  The built in controller on my GPD Win and my SteelSeries Stratus XL were not detected properly.  I didn’t bother manually mapping them via the (intimidating) input options in the game’s launcher.  Instead I just used my wireless Xbox One controller which worked flawlessly.    

Another issue worth mentioning is the noticeable slowdowns during intense action and explosive scenes.  My laptop’s Nvidia 660M with 2GB of RAM well exceeds the 256MB stated in the system requirements. 

Kick Ass Commandos
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 66%
Violence - 2/10
Language - 4.5/10
Sexual Content - 6.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The pixel graphics look good and are detailed when it comes to the blood and guts, but not as much in the shower areas in the level titled “Don’t drop the soap.”  Since the game’s perspective is top-down there’s nothing to be seen.  The references to sex, movies and songs are undeniable and are often there for laughs..  When your extraction point is a helicopter, the game tells you to “Get to da choppa.” 

I couldn’t help but hear Schwarzenegger’s accent when reading that part.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much voice acting in this game.  To compensate, the background music is top notch.  The heavy metal background music is fitting and bound to get your adrenaline pumping.  The weapon sound effects are good too.  

In the end, Kick *ss Commandos is a well-polished twin-stick shooter that is fun to play.  It has many moral issues and the title alone should make you think twice before letting a child play this game.  If you don’t mind over-the-top violence along with sexual and drug references, this game is worth keeping an eye on.  The asking price is a reasonable $14.99 and the four difficulty levels are bound to challenge your reflexes.  I’m definitely starting to feel my age with my hands hurting after a while.  No pain, no gain, right?