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LocoCycle (Xbox 360) artwork

LocoCycle (Xbox 360) review

"Lloyd Kaufman's cameo is the only thing that makes sense about this game..."

Paint. Drying.

That's the best way I can describe LocoCycle's live-action opening, where high-tech A.I. motorcycles are being sold, by James Gunn, to the highest bidder of stereotypical, shady ambassadors and spokespeople. And Tom Savini. The whole thing is bizarrely stiff, goes on for an absurdly long time without any actual progress, and fails at being funny. Remember when Splosion Man summed up the plot during the 20 second title sequence? What happened to brevity? It's so bland, I tried justifying its existence by thinking maybe they intentionally made it bad, and that we're supposed to laugh at the badness. Either way, it's a terrible waste of time, and when the blue motorcycle protagonist, I.R.I.S., gets hit by lightning, malfunctions, and goes rogue while dragging a mechanic along with her, I was glad the game finally started.

Then I got worried. As a tutorial prologue mission, I know its job is to show gamers how to play this third-person vehicle combat game, but it somehow manages to do it so tepidly. Amid teaching players how to fight and use the dash button are a bevy of theatrics: panicking scientists you can run over, sirens sounding off, lights flashing, things exploding, constant camera angle switching, and dramatic music blaring in the back. Not to mention, there's constant "banter" between I.R.I.S. and the mechanic, Pablo, where the running gag is him pleading for his life and I.R.I.S. misconceiving his pleas as something completely different, often topping it off with a movie, TV show, or video game reference. Comedy! This goes on nonstop for the entire game, and it gets old immediately.

Don't think the combat is going to savage what's left of LocoCycle's very small dignity, either, as it's one of the most alarming things I've experienced in a video game. Close combat is similar to titles like the Batman Arkhams, Bayonetta, or Metal Gear Rising, where you're basically "glued" to one jet pack enemy after lunging, pounding away with X/Y button combos, and countering nearby foes when they take a swing. As much as I needed to make comparisons to those games, it still pains me to do so, since LocoCycle's system is downright insulting. The only time enemies fight are when they're triggering your counter prompt, EVEN the one you're currently fighting. You get so much leeway when it happens, too, turning every single group encounter into a repetitious smackfest, with essentially zero resistance if you haven't yet drifted into a fantasy about playing a better game.

The game's other main form of combat, shooting opposing cars and vans, is just as terrible. They show up, you fire at them, watch their health bars slowly drain, and that's it. Even though there are men in black firing at you continuously in said vehicles, and sometimes their erratic drivers shuffle crazily around the road, there's barely any threat or challenge. The only time I recall being "challenged" was when I had to destroy three gas tankers, that I.R.I.S. mistook for poison, within a time limit. Cars just kept aggressively blocking my line of fire to the point of being obnoxious. So by challenged, I actually mean annoyed. Worse, these shooting scenarios pop up just as much as the close combat parts, so have fun swinging back and forth between the two segments.

Whenever new enemy types are introduced, they barely add any variation to the existing rogues gallery, other than visually; agents with giant roller skate legs are just jet pack enemies, and you can easily dodge bombs being tossed from jeeps. Seldom, you get a minor task to contend with, such as avoiding dropped missiles with propellers, or dodging laser beams while dashing towards what can best be described as Mobile Suit Boba Fetts. Minor, because these are more like distractions than actual hardships, and the only reason you will get hit is due to the wobbly controls. There is one enemy type that legitimately gave me trouble, which is a scientist in a electrified hamster ball. When they appeared in groups, the view shifts overhead, and I had to use the dash move carefully to avoid their turbulent patterns. Dare I say, it was somewhat, kinda, sorta, slightly fun.

I should also mention this important factor: there's an upgrade tree. Between stages, you're allowed to buy new stuff with points accumulated from kills and combos. Fair so far. The problem lies with the combination of overpowered abilities and the huge sum of points gathered, because everything is easy to destroy, making an already-disastrous game into a trivial mess. You can purchase outrageous abilities ranging from health regeneration after every kill, to a boomerang-esque attack that cancels counter triggers before they start, and even permanent spreadshot machine guns. Want to buy an upgrade that exempts damage when bumping into traffic? Hell, it's one of the first choices. Also of important note is how enemy types you've been fighting don't get stronger throughout the journey, so by the time you reach the final act, every single enemy encounter is a joke.

LocoCycle is stupendously appalling. It is a product loaded with so many interesting concepts that are butchered by half-assed executions, and I am absolutely flabbergasted Twisted Pixel Games felt the completed version was worthy of release. It's almost as if they thought the concept of including concepts was enough to make this a solid game, along with the barrage of horrid "jokes" littered throughout the game. Oh, Robert Patrick is S.P.I.K.E., the rival motorcycle? Let's make Terminator one-liners! Seriously, simply making references to popular media is not comedy, you're just making references to popular media. The most depressing part is that actual effort was put into writing these, as I never heard a repeat "joke" during my entire playthrough.

LocoCycle is an insult to action games, an insult to vehicular combat games, an insult to comedy, and an insult to quality.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (April 25, 2016)

Hopefully Pixel Ripped will pull a "Witch & Hero" and have a great third game, if it ever happens.

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Suskie posted April 25, 2016:

Heed my warning next time, man :(
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pickhut posted April 26, 2016:

It worked for two and a half years... but I still couldn't help myself.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted April 26, 2016:

Sometimes the temptation to partake of awful media is too much to resist. Sadly, only film seems capable of providing actual "good-bad" work.

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