What do you get when you combine two of the minds behind games such as Final Fantasy XV and Street Fighter V? Apparently a third-person, action-adventure game where you play as a rock band trying to take down an evil EDM empire. No Straight Roads is the name of the game and it’s the first game from Malaysian developer Metronomik. As someone who loves colorful visuals and rock music it’s a game that spoke to me as soon as I first saw it. A game needs more than just some good audio and visuals to be a complete package so does No Straight Roads have those other ingredients to make it a success?
The game takes in Vinyl City, a neon futuristic city that is under the control of the NSR who is making sure that EDM music is the only thing around. We play as two characters, Mayday and Zuke, who make up the Bunk Bed Junction indie rock band. Mayday is my type of gal playing the guitar while Zuke handles the drums. All these two want to do is show that rock music is still important and they have a burning desire to prove that to the city. Unfortunately, the NSR shuts down their attempt at the start of the game and now it’s up to these two rockers to take back the city. I enjoyed the story for the most part as it unfolded but it started to lose a bit of steam towards the end. I also found the writing to be quite funny at times and got some good laughs out of it so I was happy with that. The voice acting is great especially for Mayday and Zuke and great voice acting can always make me care more about a game.
No Straight Roads can be played either in single-player or in offline two-player co-op. I played solo for this review and doing so you’re able to switch back and forth between Mayday and Zuke using the shoulder buttons on the Dualshock 4. The game unfolds in what almost feels like a boss rush with some light exploration, platforming, and other combat sequences spread throughout. Different city districts have you exploring them before ending with you taking on several rooms of enemies and ending with a boss fight. Exploration was kind of boring but was important as it allowed me to power up the city and gain new fans. Gaining new fans then let me unlock new skills in my skill tree. Then there are the collectible stickers you can find about that you can equip for various buffs.
The combat is fun with both Mayday and Zuke each having different play styles to set them apart. Mayday has better ranged attacks and hits harder while Zuke is better at getting in at close range and building up combos. Mayday and Zuke each have a special gauge that builds up that then lets you pull off each of their special attacks. If you fill up both of their gauges at the same time there are even special dual moves they can perform that look awesome. The enemies you fight all move and attack to the beat of the music which is pretty cool but I never really found the combat against normal enemies to be challenging. It very much felt like a lot of mindless to do work on my way to getting to the bosses. Oh and speaking of those bosses that’s really where the gameplay in No Straight Roads shines.
Each of the bosses is distinct which helps to make them all memorable. There’s a child pianist, a pop boy band, DJ Subatomic Supernova and more. Some of the boss fights felt like they dragged on too long but outside of that I really enjoyed the challenge of figuring out each of their weaknesses. I also really liked how as I got closer to winning the fight I’d start hearing rock music invade the boss’s music letting me know that rock was prevailing. Boss fights are also built around making you replay them over and over as once you beat them you gain the ability to change up the musical element of it next time. You can also keep replaying them to get more fans and for a better score. I should mention that the game only took me around seven hours to finish. How long a game is versus the price is something that is different from person to person but I do wish that it lasted a bit longer for the price they are asking for.
No Straight Road’s art style is beautiful and vibrant and reminded me a lot of games like Jet Set Radio and Psychonauts. The soundtrack doesn’t feature any bands I know but I really enjoyed listening to them anyway. As a huge fan of rock music I felt like the soundtrack here really made this game that much more special. For the trophy hunters out there the game has 40+ trophies including a Platinum. It will be a challenge to earn them all as you’ll need to beat all the boss fights without getting knocked out and beat them on different difficulties.
No Straight Roads is a good first effort for the Malaysian based Metronomic. It’s got a beautiful art style, catchy soundtrack, varied boss fights, and great voice acting. Some of the other parts of the gameplay like the exploration and regular combat fights feel a little underbaked. Whether you get it now or later on sale I think No Straight Roads is one of the better and more unique indie games to come out in 2020.
*No Straight Roads is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
No Straight Roads$39.99
- Very enjoyable and catchy soundtrack
- Every boss fight feels different from the last
- Wonderful and vibrant art style
- Great voice performances
- Exploration parts are kind of boring
- Short runtime might turn some away for the current price
- Combat outside of boss fights feels mindless