LocoCycle
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2013-11-27 Xbox One Action Twisted Pixel

I've had my eye on LocoCycle since the first annoncement, and I have to say, even if I wasn't ready for what I was about to face for review purposes, that doesn't mean the experience wasn't worthwhile.

LocoCycle begins with a live-action cutscene that would seem taken right out of any B-movie, sound quality, costumes, acting and all. World leaders gather at a cocktail party, where I.R.I.S. and S.P.I.K.E. are introduced as weaponized smart motorcycles, intended to be auctioned among the present. But a storm approaches, and as the party is ushered indoors, security takes care of sheltering the bikes. On the way to the garage, I.R.I.S. is struck by lightning.

It is at the mechanic's that I.R.I.S. starts showing signs of life, first noticing a magazine, and then a T.V. commercial. The first thing she sees is a motorcycle festival in Scottsburg, Indiana. She makes it her life goal to attend it, and takes off dragging the poor hispanic mechanic, Pablo, who has unfortunately gotten his pant leg stuck somewhere near the exhaust pipe.

The initial gameplay sequence that follows this introduction is hilarious and rather bizarre. I.R.I.S. speeds up, Pablo tugs at his pants, screams and begs her to let him go, but always in Spanish. I.R.I.S.'s translator is apparently broken, so the subtitles we see for his lines are all in Spanish. I.R.I.S. just assumes whatever Pablo is saying is basically what she wants to hear, so her answers are usually totally unrelated or the complete opposite of what he asks for: a plea to stop is misunderstood as a crazy plan to defeat enemies and screams of terror are taken for enjoyment. Obviously, if you don't read Spanish, those bits of hilarity will be lost in translation.

You get to defend yourself by attacking all types of security while knocking people down for hit combos. You'd figure after they get out of the first stage, Pablo would have no back left whatsoever and there would be a trail of blood behind him (indestructible mechanical overalls, perhaps?), but obviously no one was going for realism with this one and even Pablo is occasionally surprised at the durability of his pants.

In fact, the first few words (not naming names, there were three of us here at the time) in this room following the absolute silence during the initial movie and game sequence were:
- Wow... this game is retarded...
- Why are you still playing it then?
- Because it's cool as s**t!

Not only can I.R.I.S. shoot (she is a military vehicle after all) but also has some cool fighting moves, and if we look close enough, the motorcycle almost seems human at times when dishing out attacks. You can also attack with Pablo, who flies through the air still attached to the motorcycle and swings with his wrench. Sometimes he gets tossed at the enemy like a boomerang, only to get back with his leg stuck on I.R.I.S..

I can't even begin to explain what happens as he spins through the air, because the entire thing is absolutely nonsensical, particularly Pablo's expressions! The mindless combat does get pretty repetitive, as normally does a true button-masher, but is interesting to watch the moves unfold as you pull off crazy combos. Add in some QTEs, some water stages where poor Pablo goes butt-skiing along wearing a life vest, some side-scrolling sequences reminiscent of old brawlers and a few interesting boss fights for variety. Not to mention the enemies are as strange as they come, and I was especially amused by the suicide midgets being thrown out of a van and I.R.I.S. making comments about certain science balls.

There are some occasions where you need to repair I.R.I.S. by playing a mini-game, such as welding shapes, connecting cables, tightening screws of hammering pieces into shape. At the end of each stage you are graded and earn experience points, which you can trade in for upgrades such as weapons, health, speed and melee combat techniques, which will customize your combat style and add a sense of accomplishment to your efforts.

The game gets even crazier when the evil weaponized motorcycle comes to play. S.P.I.K.E. sets out in search of I.R.I.S., also with a companion to drag around, but their relationship is quite different, as they socialize and even stop for a burger or ice cream. I'm unsure how a motorcycle could even slurp ice cream, but apparently it's through the headlights...

Twisted Pixel wasn't afraid to try something different and crazy, and as a result, LocoCycle comes across as unique, absurd, hilarious and entertaining. It is a fairly short game that lacks in replay value, and the humor is certainly not for everyone. But I like some crazy in my games, and for me it was a fun ride while it lasted.