Twisted Pixel is well-known video game developers who are the ones responsible for creating the Maw, the Mr and Ms. Splosion Man, Comic Jumper and The Gunstringer all of which are great and memorable character-driven games. With games like Mr Splosion Man and Comic Jumper setting the bar so high, can LocoCycle pass the bar and snatch the spotlight?
Over view of the game
LocoCycle is a single-player driving action game that was released initially for the Xbox one in November 2013, but was later released on Windows and Xbox 360, for clarification I am reviewing the Xbox 360 release. In LocoCycle you play as I.R.I.S a sentient Motorbike created to be an assassin, I.R.I.S goes rogue and along with her vast arsenal of weapons and whippy one-liners drags her mechanic, Pablo along for the adventure of his life. The story is expanded upon by playing through set pieces throughout levels, each of the major levels usually ending with a boss fight, which will be a mash-up of quick-time events and combat.
The story of LocoCycle revolves around Pablo getting dragged across the country by a rogue futuristic bike, and the mischief that she gets up to. Upon her escape, her creators, a massive arms dealing company aptly named Big Arms, along with their sister company Big Science try various ways to recapture, including suicidal midgets, heavily armed helicopters and S.P.I.K.E, a menacing chopper who looks like he was born from a metal heads’ fantasy.
To help flesh out the quite simple story that the game revolves around LocoCycle includes multiple live action cut scenes which features actors you may or may not know, two of which are believed to be Michael Jones and Lindsey Tuggey from Roosterteeth. Along with these actors giving their talent to the live action segments to the game, actors such as Lisa Foiles, Michael Rodriguez and Robert Patrick lend their voices to the in-game sections of LocoCycle.
The game consists of areas, each with 3 levels that you must clear, all of which you will be fighting basic enemy types, and playing through what set-pieces the game throws at you, for example dodging shockwaves, or countering missiles; at the end of the last level of each area you will face the area boss.
The most disappointing feature in the game is the combat which is very unfortunate to say, as the game is trying to be a beat-em up with quick witted humour, but it falls short because the combat is just so dull. I.R.I.S has 4 different ways to attacked, which are all mapped to the 4 input buttons (A, B, X, Y) none of these can be combined together to form amazing, or even standard combos so you can’t even feel like you’re having an impact on the beat-em up side of the game, and even then some of the buttons aren’t allowed to be used in certain parts of the level, such as shooting only being available in the driving parts of the game.
The boss battles at the end of each mission do vary up the combat by making you use both Quick-Time-Events and any other form of combat that I.R.I.S feels is necessary to quell the threat, with this combination you can get a feel for the power under I.R.I.S’s hood, while showing the desperation that Big Arms feels as they attempt to get her back.
LocoCycle has a heavy fixation on Quick-Time-Events as they appear in most chapters and nearly all the boss battles, but they aren’t obtrusive to the enjoyment of the game because most flow really well with the game, though I never felt penalised when I failed a Quick-Time-Event or even when I pressed the buttons too early, whether that’s me not noticing a reduction in health I don’t know.
LocoCycle features and upgrade system, where you spend the score that you racked up in the last level to unlock new versions of the same powers, which is one of the disappointing factors because there isn’t a great deal that changes with these upgrades besides damage. Besides having your melee damage upgraded and your guns have a spread ability the only things really investing is the shield function which becomes available after the first few levels and the passive heal function which is available later in the game, other than these few abilities all the others are just stat boosters, so don’t expect to get too much zazz from the upgrades.
The score used to upgrade I.R.I.S is derived from how well you did in the level and all of its objectives, but it’s never explained if getting hit in Quick-Time-Events or being too early for them affects the score at all. Another thing to be careful of when going for a high score in LocoCycle is that if you do die at any stage in the level, you will receive an F grade upon completion, thankfully this doesn’t mean you have to redo the mission unless you want to get a better score, but it probably does affect your score, I say probably because I haven’t got a clue if it does, I seemed to be getting only a slightly lower score when I finished a mission, and I was still able to upgrade I.R.I.S enough to be comfortable with the next mission.
The graphics in LocoCycle really do stand apart from other games, that aren’t made by Twisted Pixel as it does look a lot like it belongs to their art style, which is a good art style for the games that they create. The art and animation easily fit with the characters that Twisted Pixel created, and these features are heavily relied upon for the humour that comes spewing out of it, and although the humour will at least make you crack a smile the first time, it will only be the first time that it will, especially if you find yourself struggling with the game, as the checkpoint system can range from unforgiving, like demon souls making you play pretty much the entire level again, to Halo where you could pretty force a checkpoint.
The music featured in the game is barely noticeable at all, if there is any. The most common sound that comes out of LocoCycle is Pablo’s screams of terror and the screams of pain that echo around I.R.I.S as she excruciatingly extinguishes the life from her opponents, which you will become attuned to as it happens regularly.
LocoCycle is an insane run-away drive and punch game that revolves around a character-driven story. Its story side is fine, with plenty of character development and witty quips, every cloud has a silver lining, and unfortunately that was it, underneath the cloud is a dull thunderstorm of boring and repetitive combat that occasionally gets lightened by one of the many comedic lines that I.R.I.S will come out with.
Don’t get me wrong, the game makes up for its lack of entertaining combat by having a good story with brilliantly written lines that are pulled off perfectly by the actors, without the story or personalities of the characters the game wouldn’t be an entertaining premise, because the combat is what lets the game down.
In short LocoCycle is a character and story driven game, and it will drive you to its destination smoothly, unless you can’t get a grip of how the game handles. The story isn’t a masterpiece or even that complex, but it does lead to some interesting premises, the gameplay part of LocoCycle is however severely lacking in any way to get your attention, if combat is all you look for in a game then you will not enjoy this game.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.