Twisted Pixel Games has built up quite a reputation over the years. It got its start with the enjoyable 3D adventure The Maw before moving into more un-traditional 2D territory with the thrilling ‘Splosion Man (and Ms. ‘Splosion Man) and the humorous yet challenging Comic Jumper. For its latest feat, the development team is going all in for LocoCycle, a thrilling racing/fighting adventure that really tilts the odds against you when it comes to surviving in one piece.
From the game’s title, it sounds like you’re riding a rather mean machine…. but that’s not the case as you ARE the mean machine. You portray IRIS, a prototype motorcycle with an automated collective and plenty of weaponry. She refuses to kill, so she’s on the run from enemy agents and a rogue motorcycle called SPIKE. The game covers every inch of her escapades, ranging from battling jetpack-carrying soldiers in hand-to-wheel combat to driving out of harm’s way as a couple of helicopters lay waste to the road.
LocoCycle’s gameplay is broken up into three different segments.
The first is the actual driving, as you duck and weave your way through traffic and shoot at any enemy agents that get in your way. It’s here that LocoCycle has a nostalgic approach, similar to that of the Spy Hunter games on PlayStation 2, where you can easily target enemies while avoiding civilian casualties. Though our demo wasn’t hands on, it looked as if IRIS reacted with precision while cruising around corners and targeting opponents.
Secondly, there’s combat. Enemies will show up quite frequently in LocoCycle, and some will get a little too close for comfort. To fend them off, IRIS has to react by executing a number of striking moves, whether it’s a spin of her wheel or a jarring ground plant that transforms an enemy into roadkill. You can mix up these attacks to create a number of unique combos, but you’ll also have to watch for incoming strikes or else IRIS will pay the price with a slight loss of energy.
One other component that really adds to the in-game combat is Pablo, the Mexican mechanic who’s stuck helping IRIS out on the road. He’s pretty much chained to her over the course of their adventure, and she can literally swing him around to either deliver a finishing blow on an enemy or grab an incoming missile and flinging it back at whoever fired it at them.
The third part of the game relies on quick-time events. There are sequences where you’ll have to hit the right button when highlighted on the screen in order to avoid a dangerous situation. During our demonstration, this came when an attack chopper trying to lean in and destroy IRIS with its spinning blades. Hit the right button, and you avoid turning into a junk pile.
We haven’t seen what kind of part SPIKE plays in LocoCycle just yet, but you can probably bet that you’ll see him appear during boss fights, where he’ll team up with fellow agents to throw obstacles in your way, forcing IRIS to react quickly in order to avoid crashing. We’re sure to find out more in a couple weeks’ time, as LocoCycle is likely to be at Microsoft’s booth in some capacity since it’s an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive. (Who knows, it could show up in this year’s Games of Summer program.)
Twisted Pixel is making sure that every aspect of the gameplay remains focused and the player isn’t overloaded. When you’re fighting a guidance system will keep you on the road. However, you’ll still need to react quickly when it comes to someone taking a swing at you. When you go back to driving, you’ll just have to worry about using your guns and not a fancy attack move. The game will know the difference between these two sequences, as well as the quick-time events, so you won’t have to do multiple things at once. Twisted Pixel knows what kind of fun needs to go into a game.
We’ll have more information and strategies on LocoCycle in the months ahead, leading up to its release later this year. Yippie-ki-yay…*expletive deleted.*!