No Straight Roads lets the music set the tone

Forget everything you know about classic dystopias: in No straight roads are bad EDM enthusiasts in power who have banned rock music from Vinyl City. With a startled heart, independent rockers Mayday and Zuke take part in a talent show in which they are ignored despite their musical skills. EDM absolutely everything, there is no more room for rock. Mayday and Zuke then fight against the various electronic caps to free Vinyl City from this horror. Developer Metronomik does not take the rock-to-electronic duel very seriously, however, and mainly wants to interweave two musical views in a colorful world with a unique fight.

In No Straight Roads, you must free up sectors of Vinyl City by eliminating all the bosses. He has, for example, drones, anti-aircraft guns or explosives in defense, but everything moves to the rhythm of electronic music. You can only attack a robot if it doesn’t jump to the beat, or you can avoid a shield when it slides sideways with a few bits. If you are a little advanced, you can rebound some attacks at the right time. Mayday and Zuke respectively use their guitar and their sticks as weapons. Convert standard attacks into powerful combos while converting energy into special attacks. When both energy counters are charged, the two characters can launch a super attack together. At first it takes a while to get used to this unusual way of attacking and defending, but the setup of No Straight Roads is so simple that you can quickly keep up with the game.

However, co-founder and game designer of Final Fantasy 15 Wan Hazmer of Metronomik points out that No Straight Roads is not a classic rhythm game. It is not so much the intention of fully controlling the rhythm as of finding an answer. You can also see it from the difficulty level: as a level progresses, there are more and more small details (and therefore musical notes) to which you must pay attention. This soon leads to a musical cluster fuck. In a boss level, there are no control points, so when you die, it returns to square one. So No Straight Roads is miles away from rhythm games like Just Dance or Rock Band, but more like Devil May Cry or even Dark Souls.

Around the world, you can do nothing but collect Qwasa with which you can supply street lights or vending machines. This gives you fans, which then serve as a sort of XP to unlock skills in a real skill tree. In addition, you choose the special attacks you put on the triggers in the hub and stick stickers on your instruments as temporary improvements during boss fights. As of this writing, it’s unclear if the hub and the afterlife will have even more to offer at the exit, as real gameplay is now limited to the aforementioned boss fights.

Art, like the tone of the game, is rather playful: colorful and graffiti, thanks to the caricature style of Daim Dziauddin, illustrator of Street Fighter 5. No Straight Roads also has a more serious side with its underexposed streets and on the other hand neon light advertising. Ironically, electronic music constantly prevails as the perfect accompaniment to this thrilling world. So Metronomik mainly plays with the often heard but absurd thought that “your taste is better than mine”.

With artistic style and unrelenting music, No Straight Roads is a mustache, as the two support each other elegantly and keep you coming back to play. Expect an energetic, action-oriented and often difficult adventure in which the music determines the environment, the character of your enemies, but also the underlying story. If Metronomik elaborates the world a little to avoid the self-proclaimed “ straight tracks ”, the studio offers an eccentric interpretation of a rhythm game. So No Straight Roads has beaten a lot of potential.

No Straight Roads will be released on PC and PlayStation 4 on August 25.

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