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Arts in Review

Cascade Arcade: The push and pull of LocoCycle

The game looked like a great arcade game, but constant delays in production led to the unusual choice of developing the game primarily for the Xbox One. Last week, I saw the game was available on Steam (steampowered.com) and bought it for the cheap price of $9.99.

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By Jeremy Hannaford (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: March 5, 2014

 LocoCycle-review

LocoCycle is one game whose development kept my interest over the past two years.

I first saw a small preview at PAX 2012, then got to play a short demo at PAX 2013. The game looked like a great arcade game, but constant delays in production led to the unusual choice of developing the game primarily for the Xbox One. Last week, I saw the game was available on Steam (steampowered.com) and bought it for the cheap price of $9.99.

Now I want my money back.

Before I get into too much detail, I want to make something clear. I really wanted to enjoy this game and tried to stay interested, but a lazy attempt of porting the game over resulted in my distaste for it.

The control layout was still mapped for an Xbox controller. They could have done a quick image redo in Photoshop and we would have controls for PC. But even that wouldn’t really help because all the button prompts that appear are for an Xbox controller. It can be confusing during the quick time sequences when ‘A’ means shift key and triggers mean the ‘R’ key.

Aside from terrible controls for a PC port, LocoCycle is rather simple. You play as IRIS, a
supercomputer / motorcycle that has become self-aware and escapes from her makers. The levels consist of driving along various highways and using speed, machine guns, and melee combat to fend off attackers.

Unwillingly along for the ride, IRIS’s mechanic Pablo has his pant leg stuck to her chassis and is being dragged behind. When I asked a member of Twisted Pixel at PAX how Pablo wasn’t a torn-up piece of human flesh after the first level, he responded, “It’s a secret.” I will keep with the silly tradition, but it’s nothing extravagant.

That’s what you feel throughout LocoCycle. Its gameplay is not very complex and doesn’t give much variation.

On the side of story and character, I found the opening dry but soon the game picked up and became entertaining. The over-the-top action and humorous quips between IRIS and Pablo produce several laughs, and the enemies, while simplistic, are fun to combat.

Despite the game’s relatively short length, most of the appeal wears off quickly. Much like a phone game, LocoCycle was unable to hold my interest for only a short time before I remembered I had better games to play.

LocoCycle definitely tries to catch your attention with wacky antics — whether the somewhat enjoyable live-action cut-scenes, or the ridiculous idea of a motorcycle hovering over a highway for long periods of time while fighting flying robo-men.

The first boss-fight between IRIS and Spike, the evil chopper voiced by Robert Patrick, is intense and hilarious. The battle’s mix of puzzle-like movements and quick-time events was a moment of  exactly what I was looking for in this game. But shortly after, the old control roadblock reared its ugly head again.

I needed to repair IRIS by bringing two wires together. But they needed to be brought together simultaneously, and since hitting both direction keys cancels each out, I could not pass this scene. This brought up my previous feelings about what a lazy porting job this was.

LocoCycle is a game that has big build-up and crummy execution. Most of its stages add up to a game that will lose your interest and become another forgotten game.

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