No Straight Roads collides music with beautiful neon colours and 3d graphics to deliver a solid outing showcasing a beautiful and colourful world while the majority of the world is stuck in lockdown. The gameplay mixes between action and rhythm based timed responses, what the game does exceptionally well is a stellar soundtrack that keeps your motivation going when the gameplay starts to feel grindy.
The game is set in Vinyl City, a neon, Tron looking metropolis that is divided up into multiple different areas. Each area is under the control of a pop star your player faces in battle to get closer to unlocking the city. The colours are clearly influenced by the different music genre’s and the lush and vibrant environments look absolutely beautiful (I reviewed the game on Playstation 4) The blend of 2D-3D animation works in favour of the game allowing for an explosion of colour as the action ramps up.
The boss fights are interesting. They are done at a distance from your character, with their attacks being sent out. They do look amazing as the notes dart towards you, however the attack response is slow and requires a lot of patience to defeat a boss battle. You need to find the right spot for your character to avoid these attacks while attempting to fire a few hits back as well. It can feel a little grindy, and it definitely adds some time onto these areas. The disappointing part is that the beat doesn’t always match the soundtrack (like Just Dance, Guitar Hero etc) so with music based games like this, you usually get this feature, it can be a little de-motivating.
Each different area of the city showcases a different musical genre. While the two main characters Mayday and Zuke are indie rock battling against an EDM empire, there are great takes of KPop, boy-bands and EDM. It is this catchy soundtrack that will have you searching Spotify for the soundtrack (as of today it’s not up there yet :/) The highlight of the game for me was the underwater level with Sayu. It is set underwater and your team is being attacked by a mermaid while the crowd holding neon glow sticks referee the battle. IT is not only a feast for the eyes but the song is the standout of the game (PLEASE put this on Spotify soon!)
The rock loving Zuke and Mayday each have their own unique play styles with guitar and drum abilities. Each has their own skill trees and unique special attacks that are built up by fan energy. Be very wary that enemies can counter your attacks and even cancel them out so when you try and use these attacks they are not always effective in destroying an enemy in one swoop. At the end of each level you earn a rank, if you do end up dying in a boss battle, you won’t be able to go any higher than C. You can go back and restart the whole area to avoid this, but this is of course very time consuming and will depend on the type of play that you enjoy.
Apart from boss battles and gameplay, there are a ton of collectibles and notes hidden around each area. The writing is spot on, it reminded me a lot of Psychonauts with tongue in cheek humour and several hilarious swipes at the music industry. If you want to play this game several times through there are a ton of trophies to unlock. If you enjoyed the music as much as I did, you will be more than keen to jump in for more time with this game.
No Straight Roads is the first outing from Metronomik, it is a dazzling and spectacularly animated world that combines innovative gameplay. The thing they have really nailed is the soundtrack which is probably the most important part of the game. If you do have a headset, it is highly recommended playing with these on or through a surround sound system to get the most out of it. While some of the boss battles can get a little frustrating, it doesn’t detract too much from the game.
No Straight Roads is available today.