Twisted Pixel is the kind of developer that always has my attention when they release a new game. It isn’t because they are genre-defining, but mostly because they have a genuine talent to make me laugh. Their games are almost always funny, and usually mixed with some type of mechanic that hasn’t been beaten to death. LocoCycle continues that trend; well sort of. It has its moments of humor, and the game itself is akin to the classic Spy Hunter franchise, but overall it just falls short in several categories that make it one of their least impactful titles to date.
LocoCycle is a game about a sentient motorcycle that is dragging around her mechanic on an adventure full of rockets and melee combat. Yeah it is a bit nuts, but I have come to expect that from Twisted Pixel. What is unique though is that there is an entire movie split up to create the cut scenes. I was shocked when the opening lasted roughly ten minutes, and starred the likes of Lloyd Kaufman and Tom Savini.
The celebrities don’t stop there though. Lisa Foiles lends her voice to the main character, I.R.I.S., while Robert Patrick (yes the T-1000) plays her nemesis S.P.I.K.E. Yes there are a lot of acronyms, and yes they all mean something. The premise is that I.R.I.S. is struck by lightning and sent to Pablo to be fixed. She becomes self-aware (think Short Circuit) and is determined to make it to Indiana, along with Pablo, who becomes hopelessly attached to her wheel and dragged along for the ride.
Yeah it is a little insane, and right up Twisted Pixel’s alley. That is the fun though. Sadly, it hits just as much as it missed, and awkward silence after a one-liner is usually done for comedic effect, but here it serves the purpose of showcasing that the joke simply wasn’t funny.
As a game though, LocoCycle is reminiscent of the aforementioned Spy Hunter. It is a vehicular combat game that has the player barreling down seemingly endless roads, mowing down enemies, and even performing melee combat. I.R.I.S. has a bevy of weapons at hand including Pablo, which she can hurl at enemies like a boomerang, and even counter moves. Melee combat makes her look like a generic Gobot (wiki that one kids) and the upgrade system functions like a God of War game, as XP is funneled into categories like filling a barrel until the desired amount is met.
Combat is limited and gets old quick. Every section of each level is tedious and feels like the first two sections. It does have some moments of brilliance when it changes up the style to a top-down arcade game, or even a fighting game, but the core mechanic is tiresome. The campaign only last 3-4 hours but it feels much longer. I could never play more than two sections at a time without getting bored. I applaud what they were trying to do, but the pacing is far too stretched out, which is sad for a game as short as it is.
Visually it is also disappointing for an Xbox One title. Granted we are only in the opening weeks of the console, and this was originally a 360 title (and still is coming to that console I believe), but the bland environments wear thin quick. I liked that each stage attempted to liven up the scenery, but it still boiled down to some really drab design that didn’t help with the tedious combat.
Voice acting and music are above average though, with some great performances. I liked the soundtrack and the voice work delivers. When LocoCycle hits, it hits hard, but that also showcases the low moments it tends to deliver even more so in comparison.
I wanted to love LocoCycle, but in the end, I just liked it. It has moments where I had a lot of fun with it, and others where I was forcing myself to play another level. This is probably my least favorite TP game to date, and that is depressing. I hope the guys continue their track record with the next entry, but for those with an Xbox One looking for one of the digital titles to pick up, this is not at the top of my recommended list.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.