LocoCycle Review: LocoCycle has had a bit of a rough ride in its initial launch on the Xbox One, but the game has now come to the Xbox 360 and we’ve got our hands on a copy, so is this the true home of LocoCycle?
LocoCycle is best described as a rail-shooter with melee elements and is the latest game from Austin based developers, Twisted Pixel, the developers of popular games such as The Maw, ‘Splosion Man, Ms. ‘Splosion Man and one of the more popular 360 Kinect games, The Gunstringer. LocoCycle is the story of a rogue, sentient and military-spec motorcycle named I.R.I.S. with a Mexican mechanic named Pablo inexplicably and irremovably stuck to the side of I.R.I.S to be dragged along the road throughout.
Twisted Pixel is a group of very talented and capable developers, but honestly this is not reflected in the production of LocoCycle at times, and is a very ‘hit and miss’ experience. For every bit of humour, there’s a repetitive bit of gameplay. For every smooth and unique animation, there’s a barrage of QTE’s and in instances where the game tries to mix up the gameplay and add something unique, the mechanics are poor. There is one section in the game in which it switches from the normal game mechanics into a ‘Street Fighter’ styled fighter, which would have been a great feature had it not been executed so poorly, being plagued with poor controls and no indication on what those controls may be.
There are a lot of live action video sections in this game, in fact, quite a lengthy video is the first thing you see after launching the game from the main menu. The ‘film’ elements of LocoCycle are very well produced and at times pretty funny and contain background cameos from Michael Jones and Lindsay Tuggey from Rooster Teeth alongside some other pretty famous actors such as Robert Patrick and James Gunn and as a standalone product, you have to credit Twisted Pixel for their work on the LocoCycle ‘film’ assets in both production and writing.
Although, there’s something about live action footage being the first thing you see in a game that just sets alarm bells ringing for me, and it seems that a sizeable chunk of the studio’s budget put into the live action footage instead of the game’s own rendered art style, something that is sat in a very awkward position in that some assets looks fantastic, and others… do not. However, it has to be acknowledged that the animations of these assets are absolutely sublime, and is genuinely a perfect use of the off-the-wall I.R.I.S. character design.
The story is consistently crazy, and truly earns its name in both the gameplay and the film components. It has a lot of clever references and the GLADOS styled voice over of I.R.I.S. will ensure you get a few good laughs out of the experience. To enjoy this story, you truly need to go in and embrace the chaos. The level of ridiculousness starts high and only gets higher as you progress through the relatively short story, but believe me when I say that it could have been a lot shorter, as a lot of the sequences in the game are very repetitive and get rather tedious quickly.
And that is the main problem with LocoCycle; it lacks a little polish and feels rushed. The game is undeniably repetitive, even though it attempts to mix up the gameplay, and this is the core problem of the game. There is an instance where a motorcycle repair mini-game is straight up copied in a different environment and in a slightly different context. The combat is a little shallow and unvaried and you often find yourself not needing to focus on what you’re doing, and most levels can be completed with a simple repeated tap of the melee button.
Regardless of it’s flaws, LocoCycle has a great sense of humour, and you will get a few laughs out of it providing you don’t get in looking to not be entertained, but who the hell does that? Some of the funniest and most interesting content is actually tucked away in the ‘Garage’ section of the Main Menu where you can use your in-game points to buy some Avatar items and Xbox 360 themes whilst taking a look at some hilarious behind-the-scenes audio, video and images. There’s even what looks like a little tease of Twisted Pixel’s next game, which looks fantastic.
LocoCycle in undeniably more at home on the Xbox 360 platform, as it certainly seems to fit more visually with current generation graphics than next generation graphics, though this doesn’t change the level design. As a $10 arcade game though, this title still has its place. Providing you are looking to LocoCycle as a time-sucking kind of game that you can kill a little time with or give to some younger gamers to enjoy, LocoCycle isn’t a bad buy – and there’s certainly many far worse ways to spend your money.