There are many things that you can forgive a videogame for.
LocoCycle, for example, looks pretty dreadful for an Xbox 360 game, let alone an Xbox One game. However, many would be happy to look past that on the proviso that the game itself is enjoyable enough to compensate.
You might even be willing to go easy on a game like LocoCycle for having a host of systems that seem a bit half-baked, on the basis that the game at least has a few ideas.
LocoCycle – Humour & Story
What’s less easy to forgive is when a game is straight up boring and, for the most part, that’s exactly what LocoCycle is.
LocoCycle is a game about a sentient motorbike dragging a hapless mechanic (literally) on a roadtrip towards Scottsburg, Indiana.
Said motorbike isn’t supposed to be sentient and she’s also worth a lot of money, so the company that built her is doing everything they can to stop you.
LocoCycle is a game that wants to be ‘wacky’, then. Normally, that would be enough to set alarm bells ringing, but, while LocoCycle isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, developer Twisted Pixel again demonstrate their ability to imbue their games with an embarrassingly cheesy brand of humour and somehow get away it.
Unfortunately, that sense of fun that Twisted Pixel is clearly aiming for with LocoCycle is absent when it comes to the act of playing the game.
Lococycle – Mini-games & Mechanics
LocoCycle effectively operates like a collection of mini-games; you’ll always be on the move, but what you are doing as you barrel ever closer to Scottsburg varies as you go.
LocoCycle’s painfully slow start teaches you the basics while also setting you up to expect the game to be mind-numbingly boring – an expectation that is tempered by the fact that the game eventually introduces enough elements to alleviate the tedium somewhat.
One moment you’ll be dodging objects in the road, the next you’ll be shooting at cars. Or, you might be asked to take out a group of enemies with melee combat, complete a QTE section and then play a top-down shoot-em-up.
The problem is that, whatever you’re doing, there’s never enough depth to it for it to be rewarding.
Take LocoCycle’s melee combat. This consists of mashing X and occasionally pressing A to counter. When we say mashing X, we mean mashing X. There’s no timing, no strategy, nothing.
You’ll easily be racking up 100, 200, 300 hit combos, which is probably meant to be funny, but is actually indicative of an experience that is uniformly shallow.
LocoCycle’s driving provides another example. It doesn’t feel like you’re really in control, with the game almost pulling you around corners, even if you deliberately try to veer off the road – that’s probably fortunate, given that the bike you control handles horribly.
The fact that LocoCycle almost always seems to hand out an A ranking at the end of a level, whether you’ve been trying or not, probably tells you all you need to know about the experience of playing this game – that is, there’s little sense of control and even when you make a mistake, it feels inconsequential.
Despite all this, LocoCycle occasionally manages to be fun. The game is at it’s best when it disguises the paucity of depth in its systems by switching quickly between them.
The game will sometimes surprise you by introducing a quirky idea or giving you a decent boss fight that makes you wonder if you’re being a little too harsh on LocoCycle.
When it comes down to it though, LocoCycle is a game that is too often defined by tedium.
LocoCycle makes a welcome effort to provide the player with enough variety to keep things interesting, but there’s so little depth to its systems and such a lack of consequence to everything that you do.
As a result, LocoCycle rarely manages to rise above passable.
Version tested: Xbox One