Do it right and you can produce a classic like Portal or the Monkey Island series that keeps the player laughing and engaged throughout the experience. But if you miss the mark, you risk subjecting the player to hours of eye-rolling and cringe-inducing ‘humor’ that can overshadow every other aspect of the game.
Unfortunately, LocoCycle misses the mark far more often than it hits it.
You play as I.R.I.S., a sentient motorcycle built by the Big Arms Corporation to be a military weapon. But when I.R.I.S. gets struck by lightning, she develops the urge to be free and makes a run for a biker freedom rally in Scottsburg, Indiana, dragging her poor mechanic Pablo behind her by his pants leg.
What follows is an absurd chase through Middle America with Big Arms agents, SUVs, and a rival bike named S.P.I.K.E. all trying to take I.R.I.S. and Pablo down. LocoCycle is a vehicle combat game with action that bounces between shooting, ping-pong melee attacks between flying enemies, and a healthy dose of quick-time events. Your score builds as you chain combinations and avoid taking damage, and that score can be used as currency at the end of each stage to unlock health perks and new combat options like helper drones and the ability to fling Pablo like a ninja star.
This all unfolds at breakneck speed, and it’s just as silly as it sounds. But even at just four hours in length, LocoCycle becomes extremely repetitive, and the upgrades and few enemy variants don’t do enough to mix up or enhance the shallow combat. It’s fun in a mindless, daytime-TV kind of way, but there isn’t much of a hook to go back and keep playing once the final credits roll.
But to get to the final credits, you have to suffer through LocoCycle’s dreadful live-action cut scenes, and they are far and away the worst part of the game. While the in-game action contains some genuinely funny moments, the live-action scenes that serve as a bridge from chapter to chapter aim to be campy but veer wildly into overacted and unfunny territory. The production value is akin to something shot in your friend’s backyard, and the scenes don’t have nearly enough charm to justify the several minutes that each one takes to unfold.
LocoCycle is fun in spurts, but that fun is undermined by repetition and humor that will leave you groaning rather than grinning. The Xbox One post-launch library is sparse, but you’re better off holding out for a more substantial offering.
Rating: 5.0/ 10.0
LocoCycle Xbox One Video Game Review | Xbox One | 22 November, 2013. Twisted Pixel Games
(This game was reviewed with a download code provided by the publisher)
(Cameron Gidari is a freelance writer and the author of Manhattan Before8 and Seattle Before8. Follow him on Twitter at @CGidari)