LocoCycle Review: El moto loco
LocoCycle skipped its initial intended debut on the 360 in favor of making a grand appearance as one of the first digital titles available on the Xbox One. It's undeniably one of the worst looking games on the system when compared to other next-gen titles, but it more than makes up for it in its crazy and fun gameplay.
The game's premise had me a little bewildered when it was first unveiled. Sure, it looked pretty straightforward, but I couldn't get my eyes off of the poor guy being dragged behind the motorcycle. Turns out that it's as much of a plot device as it is a gameplay mechanic. That's funny, cause he's a mechanic. Get it?
I.R.I.S. and Pablo, together forever
I.R.I.S. is a sentient motorcycle that can think and act on her own thanks to a lucky lightning strike which somewhat re-fried her circuits. After a routine checkup with Pablo the mechanic, I.R.I.S. sees an opportunity to go check out the freedom rally in Indiana. It becomes her main objective to get there no matter what. Of course, poor Pablo gets stuck on I.R.I.S.' tailpipe and gets dragged along for the ride.
The comedy just builds up from there. You see, I.R.I.S. can normally understand every language, but ever since her lightning strike accident, she only thinks she understands, which makes her and Pablo's relationship even more comedic, mainly because Pablo can't speak a lick of English.
The main campaign will have Pablo and I.R.I.S. trying to communicate with each other -- well, mostly Pablo screaming for his life --while I.R.I.S. responds, thinking he's saying something completely different.
A cornucopia of gameplay elements
LocoCycle is part racer, part shooter, part fighter, and part mini-game collection. It's actually a pretty great collection of gameplay styles which switch quite frequently. In one section you'll be racing against the clock to get past a barricade, then in the next you'll be jumping in the air and juggling enemies in nonstop combos, culminating in a high speed chase where you're trying to deflect missiles being shot at you while gunning down enemy cars. It's all very hectic, and definitely lives up to its 'Loco' name.
Yep, you'll be doing this mid-level too
The main problem is that these varying gameplay styles never really evolve over the course of the game, which means you'll be doing the same ones over and over again.
With that said, the most fun you'll be having is when you take on a bunch of enemy goons, jumping into the air and comboing them through a slew of moves, all while throwing Pablo around like a boomerang. You'll also be interrupting enemy attacks and countering them before they're able to attack you. There are times when your combo count can go up to a few hundred, and trust me, it's super satisfying.
So that's why it's such a big download
LocoCycle clocks in at a whopping 13GB, which is pretty ridiculous for a downloadable game. Upon starting the game, it was easy to understand why. Twisted Pixel opted to go for live-action scenes rather than animated ones, which makes this game feel like it's straight out of the 90s. Though, to be fair, the premise of sentient motorcycles alone makes it seem like a product of the 90s. These live action scenes are found throughout the game, and definitely add some more charm.
Upgrade yo' bad self
I.R.I.S. starts out relatively strong, but becomes even more badass over the course of the game. Your gained points can be spent on increasing health, damage, boost, and can even increase the effectiveness of Pablo.
You'll see the benefits of upgrading almost immediately. Your guns will take down enemy cars way quicker, and Pablo will go from hitting one enemy like a boomerang to hitting five.
Rough around the edges
Quite literally, this game is just a little rough. It's obvious that LocoCycle's roots started on the Xbox 360. This is mostly apparent in the environment. The textures are usually muddled and blurry, and the environment objects are all pretty blocky and not well defined. One of the oddest graphical stumbles is when exiting a tunnel. Usually, games tend to make the transition a little more cinematic by making your eyes adjust to the brightness. This generally looks good, but boy does it look out of place here. The screen just bleeds in completely white, effectively blinding you, and then fades to normal.
Gameplay is king
While LocoCycle is the worst looking game of the Xbox One launch, it's saved thanks to its over the top and fun gameplay. It can get repetitive at times, but the game does mix up what you're doing relatively often, which keeps things from becoming overly monotonous.