Developer: Twisted Pixel Games | Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios | Played on: Xbox One | Price: $19.99 / ESRB: Teen [Violence, Suggestive Themes, Language]
Admittedly I was transfixed. Paralyzed by the cheesy live-action opening that went on…and on…and on…honestly I expected an achievement just for sitting through its inanity. Lococycle introduced itself with a storyline video that was an 80s movie schlock parody mixed with 80s movie cash-in ineptitude. It was beautifully terrible. And I didn’t get that achievement for surviving its half hour diatribe (to be honest, a five or so minutes, but it felt like a lifetime).
Imagine if Saints Row 4’s style and voice was co-opted into a live-action intro but, well, cheaper. And, if you can believe it, even more ridiculous. That’s Lococycle’s premise setup and its gameplay doesn’t elevate it beyond the bizarre and banal. A hint of Spy Hunter, a suggestion of ‘pick any beat-em-up,’ and a heaping, hoping dollop of desire that anyone will buy into the nonsensical premise.
Nefarious world leaders meet with sleazy tech salesman to buy exorbitantly priced—at a mere $350 million—motorbike. Not a spaceship, a new world, or immortality, but a KITT-styled multilingual bike…that loses the multilingual ability pretty quickly.
But hey, this Lococyle on the run has the delightful, possibly hard-up-for-work Freddy Rodriguez as an accidental passenger, trapped in its wheel guard. His flailing form (and impossibly padded pants) provides the banter between man and machine that, we’ll assume, was intended to make each stage in a chase from Central America across the U.S. a thrill ride for all involved. It doesn’t. Nor does Robert Patrick’s turn as the evil SPIKE bike—which snags its own unwilling passenger in the form of a middle-aged Midwestern lady—save the situation.
What you get is an animated bike shooting those ominous black Lincoln town cars as they chase you down, get in the way of bonus objectives, and cause aggravation. You progress onto rejects from Space Harrier who you defeat with button-mashes for combos and the occasional defensive counter, and similar “threats.”
An upgrade system for your bike rewards your shooting, combos, and time between stages, but it’s a shallow and uninspiring. Which is pretty much the short and sweet summation of Lococycle.
I mean, you can kinda see how this premise on paper could capture some of the raw gameplay nonsense of games like Pain with the mechanics of Spy Hunter and Space Harrier and Arkanoid… Yes, really. But while the live-action sequences hint at something deeply self-aware and even a self-parody, it never makes you chuckle, even in that knowing way that you’re in on the gag.
Moving through the environments is simply one road to another, with off-shoots for pretend shortcuts, and a different variety of NPC roadkill to ignore as you focus on the simple objectives.
Now, it’s relatively short, and completing each section awards a hefty 75 achievement points, which might be enough to compel some Gamerscore-whores to stick with it. But it’s ultimately a tedious slog with not enough self-awareness to make each snappy interaction in any way rewarding.
Lococycle is available, it’s cheap, but it’s not a showcase for your shiny new hardware.
— Liveaction opening dragged on
— Shallow upgrade system
— Not funny
3 / 10