If you are looking for a little more rhythm in your action adventure games, look no further than No Straight Roads. The title has you hop into the shoes of an indie rock duo Mayday and Zuke who are battling an EDM empire in order to free Vinyl City. If you enjoy music-based games with a story like Elite Beat Agents, Patapon, and Parappa the Rapper this is a game that really can carry a tune. Although it doesn’t hit the heights of the aforementioned classic titles, it still offers a lot of charming fun. Let’s plug in that electric guitar and get ready to take back the streets of Vinyl City.
No Straight Roads Review Details
Block rocking story beats
The story mode in No Straight Lines offers fun, rhythm-based action. Your musical mission is to reclaim the streets from the diabolical NSR who believe there is only room for one musical genre: EDM. You play as a one-two punch in Mayday and Zuke’s band the Bunk Bed Junction. During story mode you can swap between the two characters at any point over the course of 8 levels. The roughly six-hour campaign will keep you quite busy, and if you decide to go for all the collectibles especially if you ramp up the difficulty. It has the potential to keep you entertained for upwards of 8 hours out of the experience. It’s up to you and the crew to shine a little light on a dystopian world with a little rock n’ roll.
No Straight Roads gameplay
Each character has their definitive playstyle with Mayday being a heavy hitter, using her electric guitar like an axe. Zuke allows for a more methodical approach stringing together combos and light attacks. The gameplay is an area that could use a lot of improvement, the controls are as not as tight as they should be. They feel very “floaty” and don’t always match the on-screen action. This is especially frustrating in a game that depends on rhythm and timing to succeed. I really enjoyed being able to swap between characters, but the gameplay fell short.
A key fanbase
As the story progresses you move from section-to-section of Vinyl City clearing out bosses and gaining fans. The use of fans is interesting as they act as the game’s experience (or exp) system allowing you to upgrade you combat and defense skills. The boss fights really standout as a highlight as each encounter offers its own set of unique mechanics. I also found the multi-stage encounters to be a lot of fun and not frustratingly difficult. As you defeat bosses you gain more fans and in turn this opens more areas of the city to explore.
You are tasked with collecting music notes that can be used as ammunition, and other objects can be transformed into weapons. You can also equip stickers to your instruments that offer various buffs to speed and damage you can deal to enemies.
The game offers two player co-op which is a lot of fun, save for the frustrating camera angles. As you play with a friend the camera often focuses on player 1 leaving the second player off screen. This led to getting lost out of frame or getting snagged on objects that you couldn’t even see coming, it’s a shame this wasn’t more closely addressed. The mode is so much fun outside of this one flaw that really holds up the action.
An exclusive three player mode is available with the Nintendo Switch allowing another player to join the duo in an assist role.
No Straight Roads neon-soaked world
The overall art style is incredible, offering a modern city that just oozes cool. The charming characters look like something straight out of Sega’s cult classic Jet Set Radio. The game truly has a style all its own and this permeates through the overall presentation.
In terms of frame rate, the game does struggle to keep 60FPS locked at all times. Large areas cause a noticeable drop in frames, in combination with troubling camera angles it really takes away from the slick graphics. The game is graphically stunning and aside from some framerate issues is a visual feast.
Far and away the best parts of No Straight Roads is its fun and catchy soundtrack, it totally rocks! The creative use of the musical arrangements really immerses you in the experience, hinting at enemy attacks and movement. There were more than a few tunes that had me tapping me as I played along.
Each composition is very reflective of the environment and the main bosses that you face off against. It was interesting to hear the styles of music change along with the stages of multi-leveled boss fights. At first, I heard an abundance of EDM but as the rock star protagonists overcame rivals the soundtrack shifted to more rock n’ roll. It was a great touch that immersed me further into the game. The soundtrack is absolutely fantastic and easily the best part of the game.
No Straight Roads is a fun innovative game that breaks away from norm. It’s an action adventure game layered with interesting music and rhythm mechanics. The stunning art direction and sterling soundtrack really immerse you in the experience. I’ll be humming some of the tunes in No Straight Roads for months to come. It’s unfortunate that the gameplay and camera angles hold back the experience, but it’s still a unique game that you should check out.
+ Excellent soundtrack
+ A unique, modern art style
+ Boss fights are fun with a lot of variety
– Controls are an issue
– Camera angles are very frustrating
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF NO STRAIGHT ROADS
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5
Overall Rating 3.5/5 (70%)