Twisted Pixel has consistently cranked out mediocre games. Every major release besides the ‘Spolosion Man games, despite my going into them without any prior expectations, has failed to deliver. As such, I was leery of LocoCycle, despite its potential to be funny and exciting. Halfway through its bizarre ten-minute long live-action sequence, I found myself wondering what, exactly, I was doing playing this game as part of a brand new console launch.
It felt shameful, to be sure, and it only got worse from there. LocoCycle shambles after IRIS, a runaway smart motorcycle manufactured by military arms maker Big Arms. Pablo, a Spanish-speaking mechanic, is dragged along on a tumultuous journey with the motorcycle on the way to a Freedom Rally in Indiana, because that means so much to her. I mean, it was the first thing she saw when she was “activated,” after all. And talking motorcycles just want to have fun. That part should be obvious.
Gamers want to have fun as well, and LocoCycle doesn’t exactly offer it in droves. It’s not a racer and it’s not a platformer — it’s best described as an action game where you face off against the same few enemies over and over using IRIS as a brawler. She’s about as maneuverable as any cycle in a sandbox game where you’re forced to use the same few moves to clear out the resident baddie population. Most of them involve slinging poor Pablo, who’s chained to the back of IRIS, into them.
Combat is far from intuitive or even exciting. Not only are the enemies you face the same (higher-ups from Big Arms are constantly after IRIS to bring her back to headquarters) but you can basically sit back and relax while you mash a couple of buttons to get through these segments. When you’re forced to submit to minigames that find you “fixing” IRIS as Pablo, it gets even worse — you’re never given concise instructions as to how you’re actually supposed to perform them. It’s as if Twisted Pixel forgot to include these in their most integral moments, leaving the game feel just about as unfinished as it looks.
What’s really bizarre is the insistence upon forcing Pablo to speak only Spanish, so neither he nor IRIS can understand what the other is saying. In a world where language barriers can and do act as the cause of some humorous situations, you’d think this might have made up for LocoCycle’s bizarre design decisions, but instead what it does is reduce Pablo to little more than a Hispanic setpiece that players can point and laugh at — oh, how funny this Spanish guy is! He’s speaking nonsense! Ha ha ha! It’s painfully unfunny. Why even introduce a character like this? It’s lost on me.
For a next-gen title, aesthetics certainly aren’t LocoCycle’s strong suit, either. If you can’t tell from the above screenshots, it’s decidedly flat, like a 2000s PC game. For an Xbox One game available at launch, it feels as though it would have been much more at home as just an Xbox 360 title, or perhaps a Wii game — that’s what it feels more suited for. It feels weird to say this about a next-gen game, as it’s typically the graphics that save a lackluster title from total mediocrity, but even those couldn’t save this game.
Even looking fantastic wouldn’t save how inane, silly and not fun Twisted Pixel’s latest effort is. A generic voice and personality for IRIS, a weird twist in the form of Pablo, and tired vehicular combat do not make for a fantastic Xbox One debut. At least the studio’s other games had their moments of cuteness — what can I say about LocoCycle, other than este juego es basura?
Version Reviewed: Xbox One