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Review

LocoCycle Review

  • Game release: November 22, 2013
  • Reviewed: November 18, 2013
  • XONE
Robert Handlery on Google+

One-trick motorbike.

by

LocoCycle features a talking, battling motorcycle named Iris that drags a mechanic behind her by the pant leg. Iris' nemesis is a mean, gruff-talking motorbike that takes a moment to somehow munch on a giant hamburger in a roadside diner. Iris throws around Pablo, the mechanic, as if he's a battle-ready boomerang, all in the name of attending a festival she saw advertised in a biker magazine. Iris' Mecca is Scottsburg, Indiana. It's there where she belongs.

Who could have imagined that a game featuring so much ridiculousness could be boring?

You, too, can rack up high combo scores with a minimum of effort!

Well, it's not all boring, though most of the fun comes not from the act of playing LocoCycle, but from watching it. Clever live-action cutscenes introduce you to Iris, Pablo, and a variety of other kooky characters, laying out the events that lead to a motorized battle machine dragging a Spanish-speaking mechanic down the open road. These wacky scenes had me laughing out loud frequently, especially during the first 30 minutes. Iris' translation functions are fried early on, so she constantly misinterprets Pablo's cries to be set free as encouragement, and she lets loose hysterical one-liners proving her single-minded focus. "Pablo, do you think in Scottsburg, Indiana, that the streets are paved with flags?" she drones. "I hear that freedom rides an eagle, which rides a motorcycle." Elsewhere, the references fly fast and furious, with Iris dropping quotes from Top Gun, Back to the Future, and Allstate insurance commercials. (Though I wouldn't argue that Pablo is, in fact, in good hands.)

The giggles flow freely when the evil motorcycle called Spike picks up his own happy-go-lucky human companion. While Pablo routinely begs Iris for sweet release, Spike's jocular friend keeps a grin firmly plastered on her face. She happily sips iced tea as Spike pulls her down the open road, and the strange situations that duo finds itself in are great sources of chuckles. As for Iris and Pablo, Pablo's dialogue is all in Spanish, with subtitles splashed across the bottom of the screen, even during gameplay. At first I was annoyed that I had to keep taking my eyes off the action so I could read Pablo's dialogue. But in time, you realize that Pablo has absolutely nothing to add, and that you can safely overlook his repetitive pleas, just like Iris does. And truth be told, the game's biggest joke--having Iris pulling Pablo down highways and across rivers--is stretched thin by the time you reach the end after about two hours of play.

LocoCycle has no sense of when enough is enough.

Typically, you drive down the road as you might in a driving game, though there is no danger of crashing into guardrails and dying a fiery death; the game just nudges you back on track as an on-rails shooter does. You usually take down the vehicles and robots that hound you in one of two ways: either by shooting them from behind with your unspectacular guns or by mashing buttons in similarly unspectacular hand-to-hand combat. Or would that be bumper-to-bumper? In any case, the cartoonish cars and trucks that speed in front of you erupt in sparks as you fire at them, but the shooting sequences suffer from sameness and are kept separate from the melee sections. More importantly, there is absolutely no sense of danger, and thus no tension instilled. LocoCycle is the easiest game I have played in quite some time. There is little need to swerve around traffic, and there are no nail-biting shootouts between you and your enemies. The gameplay is a mechanism for delivering jokes, not for delivering interactive fun.

Talk about flying by the seat of your pants.

The close-quarters combat also suffers from a major dose of shallowness. At first, these sections prove to be a visual delight. Iris leaps into the air and pummels flying combatants in jetpacks with her tires and chassis, occasionally tossing poor Pablo around like a spinning top. (That's gotta hurt.) But once the craziness of the concept wears off, you're left with a simplistic combat system that only requires you to hammer on the same two buttons over and over, occasionally hitting another button to counter an attack. These battles are so easy that I don't think I missed an entire counter in the game, and I racked up enormous combo scores without breaking a sweat. The whole idea of combo scores in this game is silly, actually, given how aimless mashing makes you an instant LocoCycle expert. You earn points to unlock passive benefits, but I'd unlocked them all before I even hit the final stage, and none of them meaningfully deepened the gameplay. Its roads may be bumpy, but LocoCycle feels oddly flat from beginning to end.

LocoCycle does try to diversify, but most ideas wear out their welcome before the game moves to the next one. Side-view boss battles are fun diversions at first, but the bosses repeat the same few attacks over and over again, and possess so much health that it takes seemingly forever to bring them down. A top-down vertical shooting sequence is a nice change of pace for two waves, but it, too, fails to rise above the most basic ideas. By the time I hit the third wave, I was bored. By the time the fourth wave arrived, I was actively annoyed. LocoCycle has no sense of when enough is enough, and as a result, too many of these detours feel like padding as opposed to creative variations.

"I hear that freedom rides an eagle, which rides a motorcycle."

Luckily, LocoCycle comes into its own in its final 20 minutes. I don't want to give away too much of the final chapter, since you have to see it to believe it. Let's just say that LocoCycle takes on the guise of a pure rail shooter, filling the screen with explosions and big robots, and using live recorded footage in its background to keep you gawking. And even before that, the game finds its way to a faster tempo. The quick-time events are accompanied by crazy scenes that remind me of 2009's Ninja Blade in all their dramatic insanity. You dodge falling boulders and careening school buses, evade Spike's frightening chained wheels, skim under semi trucks, and hang perilously from speeding helicopters. There's also a joyous minigame that has Iris flinging Pablo forward like a saw blade and spinning through legions of oncoming agents riding hoverbikes and surfing missiles.

I loved seeing LocoCycle through to its zany finale, because I enjoyed the jokes and Iris' robotic line delivery, and because I loved seeing the characters get themselves into silly situations. This would have been a great short comic film. But LocoCycle is a game, and in an unexpected twist of fate, it makes the act of catching rockets, fighting soaring robots, and rushing through the rural fields outside of Scottsburg, Indiana, blander than they deserve to be.

The Good
Hysterical writing and live-action cutscenes
Fantastic final stage
Some visually arresting quick-time events and battle sequences
The Bad
The shooting is boring
The melee combat is boring
Various sections go on for far too long
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Kevin VanOrd likes when games bring the funny, and has played and enjoyed numerous Twisted Pixel games, 'Splosion Man and The Maw in particular. It took him about two hours to finish LocoCycle, at which point he returned to check out the various unlockables and other difficulty levels.

Discussion

178 comments
Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

Having a great time with this game.....it doesn't take itself seriously, it's addicting though and the humor is great but I also enjoy upgrading my skills. 

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

The game is better than expected. I see what Kevin meant about the repetition, but there's enough variety that compensates for it. It's a funny, quirky game - a little simple so it's good for casuals and dare I say, children? It's cartoony, so the violence should be a non issue for parents. I like the parts where you have to figure out your objectives yourself - very rewarding once you do.

bigmikeOK
bigmikeOK

Weak, weak, weak. These indie games for the next gen are just horrible. Better efforts are needed, they wanted their time in the spotlight, and now they have it. Convince me that indie games are capable of being as good as they multi-million dollar developed major third party publisher games are.

moesuir
moesuir

Oh Gawd Damn, this low-budget indie game scores HIGHER than a game co-produced by the PS4's lead architect Mark Cerny. Sad times for the PS4, very, very sad times :(

Afonsop
Afonsop

Really 6? Is this game That fun???

xscrapzx
xscrapzx

I can't believe this is even a game.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

I was on the fence as to whether or not buy an Xbox One (CoD & BF4 are practically the same on the 360 & X1)- but this game put it over the top for me and made me want one.

Good job MS - you made me want your system with this quirky and tempting looking game.  This type of game has been sorely lacking in gaming as of late - everything looks too serious.

dogman12602
dogman12602

looks like its worth a watch on youtube just for the cutscenes lol.

timthegem
timthegem

This looks as bad as a game like Night Trap for the Sega CD. I can't believe it takes only two hours to complete.

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

Game with ugly PS2-ish graphics for next gen launch.Pathetic.

daviz88
daviz88

so this game is as good as ARKHAM ORIGINS WOW...........

forbiddenmow
forbiddenmow

Ok. I feel ill. I'm not even sure what that was. Or what Kevin or this game dev are smoking. I need to lie down.

mr_nee
mr_nee

So this horrible PS2 game gets 6 because of it's non-game video shorts? Come on, Kevin!

Sundberg_man
Sundberg_man

Wow.....the visuals look down right horrible, like PS2 horrible. It could be a great game if you come around to buy it but from this review and what I've seen from game trailers it doesn't exactly convince me to buy it.

BERSERKER83
BERSERKER83

seriously!!! you consider this thing a GAME??? and FUNNY too??? come on ... this shouldn't be a launch game at all ... it shouldn't be a game from the beginning ... too much stupidity which makes me want to throw up -_-"

so this's is what next-gen means for Xbox one!!! at least knack has something to deliver and some creative ideas, but this has so many stupid ideas 

Roffey23
Roffey23

6!!! how the fuck does this get a 6 lol...just stick to TV Xbone....

Lhomity
Lhomity

If I ever get an Xbox One this will be one of the first games I buy for it. 100% serious. This looks like so much fun to me.

Diegoctba
Diegoctba

Great game, looks awesome, it's a must buy.

Stop with the hate everybody, it's not funny anymore.

Jason Lane
Jason Lane

It looks kinda fun. I wouldn't buy it, but I'll download it for free when it's announced for Games With Gold, I would imagine in the very near future!

ZachBobBob
ZachBobBob

...did I just see James Gunn? xD

Eric Ferbrache
Eric Ferbrache

Even most Xbox fans knew this game was going to be stupid as hell right from when it was announced.

diskotheque
diskotheque

This is an Xbox One game? Looks more like a Wii U title.

At least it has humor going for it. Looks pretty funny.

John Martins
John Martins

Twisted Pixel aren't exactly known for mind-blowing graphics.

FAIL_TR0LL
FAIL_TR0LL

This game could get a 1 and I'd still want to play it. The enjoyment from Twisted Pixel games doesn't come from the gameplay anyway. 

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

I agree.  It's not that in depth and a great casual game, kinda hitting the mark with the category.  Sadly, many will not experience it based on the reviews it's getting everywhere.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@forbiddenmow 

It's weird. I'm listening to him on the podcast and he seems to enjoy it quite a bit but then here he gives it a 6. The way he's talking, I'd figure at least a 7.5

daviz88
daviz88

i very sorry but your comment is very pathetic. a repetitive, nonsensical and eye bleeding graphics game is what you call fun?

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Not funny anymore. Just like your throw away trolling comments. Seriously take a break for a week and come back when you actually have something funny to troll.

xym07
xym07

AND his Troma mentor Lloyd Kaufman. Twisted Pixel must've maintained a really good partnership with Troma.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

@tom_zombyy 

Recently, I've spent more time playing Towns and Rogue Legacy than I've spent playing GTA 5. At least Indie games try new things.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Um no - but it put me over the top along with other games I'm getting.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Again - it put me over the top - not the main reason I'm buying it.

I know - reading comprehension is hard.

If you only buy games based on their reviews, I feel sorry for you - you miss out on some great games.

Joe_Bubeck
Joe_Bubeck

@Sevenizz Please tell me that you are a paid persons of the developer/producer of this game or are just joking cause I'm not tracking how a game of this quality can be a decision maker on whether or not to purchase a $500 console.

LocoCycle

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • PC
LocoCycle is a motorcycle racing video game being developed by Twisted Pixel Games.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the LocoCycle Wiki on Giantbomb.com
Average Score See all 7 Player Reviews
5.4
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