I had the awkward task of explaining this game to a friend the other day. She looked confused and slightly afraid throughout the entire conversation. Eventually she snuck out of the room while I wasn’t looking. I doubt I’ll have better luck putting it down in writing, either, but here goes:
LocoCycle is a game about a motorcycle. It’s not a “motorcycle racing game”, though, because the rider (a Mexican mechanic named Pablo) never actually gets on the bike. Instead, he is unwillingly (and painfully) dragged along behind it when his trousers get caught in the rear wheel.
The motorcycle isn’t just a motorcycle either. It’s a state-of-the-art, multi-million dollar sentient vehicle with advanced intelligence named I.R.I.S. Imagine K.I.T.T from Knight Rider - only on two wheels. The motorbike can also perform martial arts...
Yes, you read that correctly.
If you think it sounds like a bad '80s action movie gone wrong, you’d be on exactly the same page as the developers. Leading you into this madness is a cheesy, low-budget live-action movie that literally looks like a throw-back from the 1980s. It features terrible lines of dialogue, redundant pauses (possibly for ‘comedic effect’), and enough washed-up B-Grade actors to sink the Love Boat with.
These live-action sequences are at first captivating, but after a short while you start to feel a bit nauseous. It’s like watching twerking. The terrible acting and cheesy one-liners are initially entertaining, but the lack of editing makes them painfully long-winded at times. Shot in HD, the videos transition abruptly to the poor in-game graphics with the subtlety of a bulldozer. The visuals in LocoCycle resemble ‘rezzed-up’ PS2 graphics and it would be safe to say that MOST of the ridiculous 11GB download must be taken up by the cheesy cut-scenes, rather than any actual game content.
While a part-racer / part-fighter action game with a ludicrous plot sounds like a bucket load of fun, unfortunately both of these elements are watered down to their most basic forms. The end result is repetitive gameplay that is far too shallow and simplistic to generate any sense of replayability.
While LocoCycle has an impressive sense of speed, most of the tracks you’ll hoon through have side barriers, which means that steering is barely required as you can’t go off the road. After an early upgrade in the game, I.R.I.S will even be invulnerable to collisions - meaning your driving skills are never put to the test.
The combat requires a little bit more attention, but again the controls are primitive. Holding down B shoots at targets from a distance, and then hammering the same couple of buttons engages in close-quarter attacks. As previously mentioned, your motorbike is capable of martial arts, contorting and twisting its metallic body to perform the equivalent of kicks, punches and head-butts. It’s ‘Bike-Fu’... only it’s not nearly as cool as that sounds. You’ll end up repeating the same combos over and over, occasionally countering an enemy’s attack by pressing a different button (whenever a reticle changes colour.)
The developers have added in some other elements, such as a turbo boost which generates a bit of excitement for around five seconds. And there are quick-time events as you and I.R.I.S launch off ramps, perform stunts, and crash through structures.
LocoCycle throws in a few challenging rinse-and-repeat boss battles, too, including a build-up to your arch-nemesis SPIKE, another sentient motorbike that's out to take you down. Ultimately, despite it brimming with inventive, outlandish imagination, LocoCycle is a tedious outing that is bearable for around forty-five minutes before declining into a trying slog.
The only real highlight in LocoCycle, apart from the cringe-factor, is the voice talent behind I.R.I.S. Completely oblivious to Pedro’s dilemma, her cold-hearted yet amusing witty banter through-out almost saves this game. There is also an appearance by Freddy Rodriguez and a crazy cameo by Tom Savini (the guy with the crotch-cannon in From Dusk till Dawn) which might appeal to Robert Rodriguez fans.
I reviewed this on the Xbox One and, in hindsight, LocoCycle would probably be a better Xbox 360 title. It certainly doesn’t show off any next-gen prowess, so don’t buy this game to show off your new hardware.