By now most players, especially Nintendo fans, are likely familiar or have heard of No More Heroes in one way or another. The series was an immediate hit on the Wii, and managed to get a wonderful sequel just a few years later. Travis Strikes Back is an entirely new take on the series that steps away from directly continuing the story in favor of a game anyone can step into right away and even take it on with a friend. While not directly marketed as a sequel to its predecessors Travis Strikes Again puts players once again into a fan favorite media-loving protagonist as he takes on a crazy challenge like one he’s never faced before.
The story of Travis Strikes Again falls some years after No More Heroes 2, after which Travis has gone into living alone in his simple trailer. Badman finds his way to Travis’ camper hideaway and confronts him over the murder of his daughter. After a brief breakout fight the two are unlucky enough to be sucked into a mysterious game system known as the Death Drive MK-II. Unfortunately for both of them, the only way out is to make their way to the end of each level and defeat every boss that dares to challenge them. For better or worse they’re in this to the end, and will fight among one another and everyone else along the way if they want to get out alive.
One of the big distinctions between Travis Strikes Back and its predecessors is the main gameplay style. Instead of the classic third person perspective, players are introduced to a more arcade-looking overhead hack ‘n slash scenario. Travis, along with Badman if playing co-op, must make their way through video-game inspired levels filled with baddies to take on along the way. While playing solo is definitely easy to pick up at play, the story aspect behind Badman’s inclusion makes co-op feel like the best way to get a feel for the overall story as the two struggle to get out alive. This helps when the gameplay itself draws from two players having extra skills, which is inspired by the Switch having two controllers by default.
The basic combat will seem familiar to most, with there being both light and heavy attacks that can be dished out in short combo bursts. This has to be monitored pretty closely, however, as using attacks will drain a character’s battery power over time. Players will have to recharge their battery in order to keep fighting, which makes for a good balancing mechanic so players can’t just mash buttons constantly in order to win. The benefit of going in with two players is the added super attack that can only be pulled off by both characters. Once they have managed to full charge up, the two can form a beam of light between themselves and if they manage to get enemies intersected in it will dish out massive damage to anyone foolish enough to get in the way.
Travis Strikes Again takes on the feel and appearance of a wonderful indie title with arcade vibes, all with a very tight combat system that is familiar yet unique enough to stand out. As a game filled to the brim with wonderful references to media and a sense of humor that is most definitely an individual trait of the team behind it, players will likely find tons to enjoy in their trip through one of the most deadly gaming consoles ever conceived. While it may still be a little ways off now, anyone interested should prepare for being to take on the fantastic gaming-inception that is Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes when it releases on January 18.