15/09/2020

๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽธ No Straight Roads | Nintendo Switch | Review | "Great Licks and Solos But Not Always Bang on The Beat" ๐ŸŽธ๐ŸŽถ #GameDev #IndieGames @MetronomikIncEN

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Game Title: No Straight Roads
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Metronomik
Rating: MELTING

From the minds of Wan Hazmer (Lead Game Designer of Final Fantasy XV) and Daim Dziaudin (Concept Artist of Streetfighter V), No Straight Roads puts you in control of May and Zuke, a duo that make up the band Bunk Bed Junction and who use the power of rock to defeat the ‘evil’ EDM that has completely taken over Vinyl City, their hometown.

A game that dances around several genres, No Straight Roads has some really tasty ideas and great moments but it does feel like it is spinning too many records at once and this adds up to a game that doesn’t feel as flowing and cohesive as the amazing soundtrack and artwork that backs it all up.

The game begins with a tutorial that explains the main controls and introduces the characters. May is a guitar-wielding, fiery rock chick with heavier, slower attacks and Zuke is the more combo-driven drummer with a laid back ‘tude. 

The game is fully voice acted with really high-quality voice work that comes with a very Eastern delivery in that it’s pretty energetic, high-octane stuff – especially when May opens her mouth – and this along with the style of visuals gives a really kinetic sensibility to the overall presentation and story.

The main rhythm-based combat feels solid and the conceit that each enemy has a set pattern linked to the soundtrack is a nice touch. I found myself flicking between characters almost as an extra energy bar –perfect for that extra edge during boss fights - and just to mix things up. 

The music in the game is really cool and to be honest, something I may pick up on vinyl as it is one of the highpoints of the game. The plot point that rock is better than EDM, whilst something that I personally very much agree with, isn’t reflected in the soundtrack, all tracks are well-implemented and charge the scene that they are used in.
As mentioned above, the game is doing some serious plate-spinning here. Your characters have a central underground bunker which is used as a hub and has various rooms in which you can upgrade, look at your collectables, re-try bosses and much more, it’s presented visually in a way that’s reminiscent of something like XCOM or Fallout Shelter and I mainly used it to add stickers to weapons for percentage damage bonuses and the like. 

There’s also a free-roaming section where you explore the streets of Vinyl City which is where you pick up items that recharge power to various facilities and utilities and also grab some items, it’s definitely the most chilled part of the game. 

The main bulk of the action comes from working your way through the levels themselves and making your way to the boss fights. This is both the most fun and yet frustrating about No Straight Roads. The boss fights are rhythm and pattern-learning visual extravaganzas with each wacky boss having multiple iterations and there’s always a fun cut-scene leading up to them. As you’d expect from the overall presentation, the enemies are over the top and well-designed. 

The main issues for me were how the lead-up stages to get to the boss felt almost PS2-like in their design. The camera angle is strangely low and can’t be adjusted. This, combined with the amount of platforming does not a good mix make. I yearned for the camera to just tilt up slightly so that I had more of a view of the leaps I was making and whilst it only takes a fraction off your health when you plummet, it still isn’t fun. 

Also, when playing in portable mode, the camera zooms out pretty far during the epic boss fights and so it can be pretty hard to see where your tiny characters are on the screen, adding a random element that doesn’t really need to be there.
No Straight Roads has some great ideas but in having a home hub (in which there’s also a neat retro-rhythm game to play), free-roaming sections as well as the main linear 3D platforming action, it feels like it’s casting a wide net with efforts that personally, I’d have loved to have seen focused more on the primary gameplay and it’s a shame that such seemingly minor things like a locked camera and zoom can have such an impact. 

This is a fun, charming and energetic game with a great sense of personality – that, granted, some may find annoying – but, to stick with the musical theme… it’s a record that occasionally skips.
๐Ÿ’ง❄️ RATING: MELTING ❄️๐Ÿ’ง


Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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