If there is one specific thing that makes me love video games, it’s the fact that it gives developers infinite possibilities when it comes to bringing their creations to life on the screen. A perfect development team that fits this description is Twisted Pixel. Each game that they’ve made has been a unique experience with completely different worlds, tones and gameplay styles. *Note: The exception to the rule was ‘Splosion Man and Ms. ‘Splosion Man*)
I’m a huge fan of Twisted Pixel. All of their games have been amazing experiences and that’s why it’s painful to say that Lococycle is such a misfire. All of the ingredients are here for a great game, but they never come together quite well. In fact, my 5 hours with the game (I completed the story and got all of the achievements) were instantly forgettable and only consisted of a few moments of true fun.
Lococycle puts us into the role of I.R.I.S. and Pablo. I.R.I.S. is a super intelligent motorcycle that has feelings, knows multiple fighting styles and can speak around 50 languages. She really wants to go to a rally festival in Scottsburg, Indiana and Pablo is along for the ride as well. The problem is that Pablo is going against his will because his pants got stuck to I.R.I.S. and now he is being dragged through streets, mountain ranges, oceans and other terrain throughout the game. I.R.I.S. thinks of this as a good bonding experience between friends, but Pablo is just screaming for his life. Part of the humor is that for being an all-knowing motorcycle, I.R.I.S. doesn’t know Spanish. It’s humorous in the beginning, but it’s clear to the player that this is a one note joke that drags on for the entire game.
Twisted Pixel is normally known for their great humor, but the humor in Lococycle wears off before the first hour is up. It may also be due to the fact that Pablo’s dialogue repeats itself more than it should. Another downside to Lococycle is that basically every gameplay element presented to us is lame. I.R.I.S. is boring to control from the start and even when she is fully upgraded, I.R.I.S. still lacks plenty of redeeming qualities. Also, while she possess the ability to know many fighting styles (according to the story), how come we are forced to use the same uninteresting fighting style over and over again? The combat consists of just pressing X and Y for attacks and A for countering but there is no skill involved during combat.
Her shooting isn’t impressive either until you get missles, but by the time you finally get them, the game is basically over. Interestingly enough, Pablo has more intriguing shooting elements, but they are too spread apart to really enjoy them.
There’s nothing “Next Gen” about the visuals and that’s understandable because this was made as an Xbox 360 game that was turned into an Xbox One game. It’s easy to tell that Lococycle was intended to be an Xbox 360 game and every detail on-screen makes that perfectly clear.*Note* An Xbox 360 version of the game was just released. While it seems that there is nothing good in Lococycle, that’s not true. There are a few moments of greatness in Lococycle that must be talked about.
The boss battles are always the highlights of Lococycle. This is due to the fact that each boss battle is completely unique and it brings a different gameplay element to the table. From the typical on-rails shooting gameplay that normally fills Lococycle to an homage for Street Fighter, all the boss battles in the game would be the only levels worth replaying.
While the story is simplistic and not memorable at all, the live-action cutscenes add even more craziness to Lococycle’s over-the-top premise. Performances from Freddy Rodriguez and James Gunn bring enjoyment… even if these moments are few and far between.
Lococycle is the type of game that should work. It’s so out there that it seems like a great concept for a game. The inspirations are obvious and the set-up was well done, but unfortunately for Twisted Pixel, they got a flat tire and couldn’t recover. I.R.I.S. may be a super advanced motorcycle that has plenty of insight, but there was no way she could have predicted this mess of a game.
I’ll still be a fan of Twisted Pixel and while all of their games have been hits, Lococycle was a few step backs for the talented development team. If you like stupid humor and on-rails shooting then Lococycle is the game for you. Other than that, I would say avoid this game at all costs.