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 will attack with the beat of the music, but you aren’t rewarded for attacking on 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. Get the crowd on your side and crush the opposing artist with the power of rock. 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. Sway fans by smashing enemies with your instruments and shooting music notes. It’s hard to say how deep the combat will actually get. Right now it’s a bit simplistic, but I only had the chance to play the first two bosses.
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. This is a cool idea, but the gameplay itself didn’t feel that much different. The level design is where this game really shines. The two levels that I played through felt very different from each other, which made the artists feel like they had their own music style. It makes me curious about what a KPop boss battle might look like.
Between levels, you explore Vinyl City and hang out in your secret underground sewer hideout. Exploring the city seems cool at first, but there’s not really much to do. People around town don’t have much to say. There are some collectible type objects that don’t seem to do anything yet, and some power cells laying around. These are used to power up various devices around the city, which give you more fans. Fans are essentially used as currency to power up your characters in your hideout. I didn’t get the chance to play with many of the power-ups with the demo, but this is where the combat could have a chance to become more unique and engaging. The hideout has several rooms to explore that serve to check collectibles, apply power-ups, and play a retro arcade style mini-game.
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. For the most part, co-op is where this game shines. 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. Online co-op should be fine with each player controlling their own camera, but couch co-op players beware.
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 which 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.
No Straight Roads launches on August 25th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. A Nintendo Switch version release is expected shortly thereafter.
This preview was written based on a preview copy of No Straight Roads for the PC provided by Sold-Out Software and Metronomik.