The promise of next gen consoles includes larger, more well realized worlds, realistic AI, and eye-popping presentation. LocoCycle includes none of those things, and would fit better in an early ‘90s arcade than a 2013 console powerhouse.
LocoCycle opens with an extremely lengthy (15+ minute) live action cutscene. Yep, live action, complete with poor acting and cringe worthy jokes. The cultural and racial stereotypes flow like Niagara Falls, and universally failed to tickle my funny bone. It seems like Twisted Pixel intentionally built the game this way, striving for the self awareness epitomized by Far Cry: Blood Dragon. Sadly, where Blood Dragon nails the B movie vibe, LocoCycle is an unfunny and repetitive stab at campy greatness.
Ironically, the only self-awareness I detected playing LocoCycle was a loading screen tip telling me I could turn off dialogue if there was “too much awesome voice”. I can only assume that by “awesome voice” they meant “generally repetitive and annoying voice”. I.R.I.S. (the sentient motorcycle you play as) continuously recycles a few narrow robo-themes while Pablo (whose pant leg is caught in I.R.I.S.’s machinery) yells in Spanish. It quickly grew tiresome, and only occasional clever references to films like Back to the Future or The Fast and the Furious kept me from permanently ripping out I.R.I.S.’s voice circuits.
But is it fun? Not really. I was moderately amused for the first mission or so, but it quickly became old hat. The driving portions can barely be called driving – entire levels can be completed without touching the joystick thanks to the invisible walls around the highway. The combat is no better, consisting of shooting straight ahead, or mashing the X button repeatedly. The game can quite literally be played competently with one finger – I tried it. It feels like it might have been designed to be played with Kinect (I have no proof of this) – the simple combat, driving, and quick time events would be more at home there. Without any real challenge or mechanical progression over the course of the game, there’s little in the way of satisfaction or motivation. Sure, there’s a skill tree for upgrading I.R.I.S., but they don’t enhance or mix up the gameplay in any meaningful way.
Is it at least technically impressive? Excuse me for a moment as I shake my head in shame. Without exaggerating, LocoCycle looks like a bad Xbox 360 launch game. It runs at a decent clip, but this is not the game to pull out and impress your friends. The sound design is similarly uninspired – as I write this, I can’t recall any of the music. Big name voice talent like Robert “T-1000” Patrick is wasted with the silly dialogue and over the top deliveries.
The whole experience frustrates me. Driving at insane speeds on a wise cracking sentient motorcycle should be gaming nirvana, but the writing, mechanics, and design of Loc0Cycle are subpar. It’s not worth the price of admission, and is one of the Xbox One’s weaker launch titles.