LocoCycle review: crazy bad

Ever watch a movie that's so bad... it's good? Films like Fast Five and Crank 2 don't advance the art of cinema, but they revel in their over-the-top camp nature to provide exciting, brainless entertainment. Twisted Pixel attempts the same with LocoCycle, but ends up with a game that's so bad... it's bad.

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There's no doubt where Twisted Pixel's intentions lay. LocoCycle tells the story of a hapless mechanic taken hostage by a rogue robot motorcycle by a overly-sturdy pant leg. He's dragged into a road trip where the duo is pursued by another malicious robot motorcycle, voiced by none other than Terminator 2's Robert Patrick. Filled with cheesy live-action cutscenes, it's clear that Twisted Pixel intended this to be an homage (or parody?) of cheesy grindhouse cinema.

Although we're all "in" on the joke, it simply isn't that funny. Imagine if a standup comedian overstayed their welcome--for four hours. LocoCycle is a one-note joke that's amusing to entertain for a few minutes. But the premise cannot sustain a full-length adventure.

No wonder the game ends up feeling repetitive. Whether you're fighting a boss or a horde of enemies, you'll end up repeating the same actions over and over again. You can pretty much get by holding B during the driving portions. You can pretty much button mash your way through any melee combat. You can also ignore any of the frequent QTEs that pop up. There are moments of genuinely surprising gameplay, but they'll be copy-pasted in later parts of the game. For example, at one point in the story, I.R.I.S. the titular LocoCycle ends up powering down. Pablo must use his skills as a mechanic to restore power to her before getting run over by an oncoming vehicle. It was a surprisingly stressful moment--that is literally copy-pasted in a later part of the adventure.

During that sequence, Pablo says "I don't know what to do with this thing." And he says the exact same thing when he encounters the exact same problem only a few stages later. It's as if Twisted Pixel had about thirty minutes of material and hit Ctrl-V over and over again.

Most of the humor of LocoCycle centers around the inability of I.R.I.S. and Pablo to understand one another. Pablo speaks Spanish, while I.R.I.S. thinks she can understand the language. And while that sets up some good laughs at first, it becomes frustrating when that is the game's only punchline. Perhaps one of the only good things that can be said about the game is that there is an option to turn the dialogue off.

LocoCycle serves no purpose in anyone's digital library. There's simply nothing redeeming about it. It's not even a technical showcase for Xbox One. With a dull art style and dated effects, it looks worse than most launch games did... on Xbox 360.

With its shallow gameplay, lazy design, and unfunny writing, I can only hope that Twisted Pixel intentionally set out to create a bad game--one that could be celebrated in the way that terrible films can. If so, LocoCycle is a huge success; it is miserable. [3]


This review is based on early downloadable Xbox One code provided by the publisher. LocoCycle will be available for download on November 22 on Xbox Live for $19.99. The game is rated T.