EDM has taken over Vinyl City, and it’s up to you to put a stop to the tyranny with the power of rock! No Straight Roads has you playing as Zuke and Mayday. Mayday is an excited, bubbly guitar player who shreds with the best, and Zuke plays the drums. Two up and coming rock artists trying to make it big in a city powered by music. With a unique colorful art style and a unique setting, let’s take a closer peek at what this game has to offer.
First of all, it should be known that while this is a musical inspired game, it lacks the feel of a rhythm game, but this isn’t necessarily bad. Enemies attack to the beat of the music, but you aren’t rewarded for attacking to the beat. This seemed weird at first, but it’s more of an adventure game in a futuristic musical setting. Overall, music is a part of the game, but not something that you have to pay attention to all that often to be successful. In some ways this makes you feel less constricted with how you play, but some players may find it doesn’t quite scratch the itch they were looking for in a music-focused game.
Players will battle EDM music by crashing concerts and performing in a battle of the bands. Throughout each concert, a meter will show which band is leading the charge. As rock music starts to take over, the track will actually change to power chords and face-melting solos. Zuke and Mayday each have different instruments but don’t play all that differently from each other. Mayday has slower, more powerful attacks, while Zuke does quicker combo attacks. A cool idea, but the gameplay itself didn’t feel that much different.
The level design is where this game really shines. Each boss battle was very colorful and unique. Ranging from a crazed DJ to a child prodigy pianist, there are some cool music styles represented. However, with only 7 main battles, it can feel kind of short.
Between levels, you explore Vinyl City and hang out in your secret underground sewer hideout, which has several rooms to explore that serve to check collectibles, apply power-ups, and play a retro arcade style mini-game. Vinyl city is fairly big with people to talk to, hidden collectibles, and power-ups. After each boss battle, you’ll have to run through the city to get to the next boss. It’s a cool idea to help bring the world to life, but after running through the city for the 5th time, it gets to be a chore.
This game screams co-op gameplay with the two playable characters and adventure like setting. The fixed camera angle works better in co-op to keep the frantic fights more grounded. However, when we got to exploring Vinyl City, the camera switches to 3rd person view, but only follows the main player. This caused a lot of confusion for my buddy who kept losing where he was on the screen. We ended up trying to get through the area quickly out of annoyance rather than explore for collectibles or secrets. This would be fixed with online co-op, but there is no online co-op. Luckily, I had a friend to play with locally, but this struck me as odd.
There were a few game-breaking bugs we encountered through some levels. Seems like most of them came up during the Yinu boss fight. In one, my co-op partner couldn’t move, and could only jump around like a frog. It was funny at first, but definitely not right. We thought this was maybe part of the boss mechanics, but when exiting back to the city, he still was only able to hop around. It required a game restart to fix. There were a few other random similar bugs that happened, but only during this boss fight.
The game soundtrack and animation are great, and I found myself jammin’ along to the music a couple of times. Even the evil EDM songs which are destroying the city are pretty good. Don’t care for a particular track? Don’t fret. You can change out the track at pretty much any time, and in a game with such catchy music, this is a definite bonus.
No Straight Roads should definitely be considered if you’re looking for a solid adventure game with a focus on music. Who doesn’t want to be a big-time rock star and save the people with your music? Got a buddy? Even better. With some minor camera issues in exploration, co-op is where this game shines. While not necessarily a rhythm game, No Straight Roads has a great soundtrack and some cool music aspects. The stunning visuals and unique level design will have you shredding riffs to free the people of Vinyl City.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of No Straight Roads for the PC provided by Sold-Out Software and Metronomik.