During our time at PAX East earlier this year, we were able to check out a demo of No Straight Roads from developer Metronomik, an action-adventure title that blends music and story into a colorful rock spectacle.
One look at the game and its possible to draw comparisons to other popular titles thanks to the work of Final Fantasy XV lead game designer Wan Hazmer and Street Fighter V concept artist Daim Dziauddin (Dam Dizzy-AH-din)put into this project. Now, after playing an updated 90-minute demo, we were able to get a feel for a few new ideas the team has added to this adventure.
The No Straight Roads demo features the entire prologue, which introduces Mayday and Zuke as they try to win a music competition to make a name for themselves. Despite their efforts, though, the competition was held and judged by the electronic dance music giant, No Straight Roads, who denounced the use of rock music and made EDM the only acceptable genre.
If that wasn’t bad enough, NSR also used their corrupt power to move energy from the city to power their EDM concerts. That is when Mayday and Zuke’s band, Bunkbed Junction, decided to stop NSR’s evil intentions and crash their shows, which requires them to defeat the label’s artists with the power of Rock.
What I liked during the demo is just how much it reminded me of all the shows I watched on Cartoon Network. Character designs are wonderfully abnormal with elf ears, random skin colors, and flower-shaped eyes. It doesn’t stop at the art direction either; the writing mimics the comedic timing and personality of a Turner classic fueled by the loud and out-going Mayday commanding the room to no avail. Her energy is then paired by Zuke’s level-headed and laid back approach to wacky scenarios. It has me hopeful that No Straight Roads is just one big episode meant for the afterschool block.
Since this game is all about music, it’s no surprise that I was bobbing my head to the game’s combat sections, which offers some great tracks. This is one element of the game that has only been perfected throughout development, and it was nice to see the idea expanded on as Mayday and Zuke faced multiple enemies and a boss instead of the one on one encounters.
Unfortunately, there’s some complexity found in the game’s battle system where the enemies attacked too quickly without any block or dodge commands offered. We know these features are offered in later parts of the game, but balance is critical in these early sections, and I hope that this is addressed in the final release.
Furthermore, controlling the characters during platforming sections doesn’t always work and could definitely use some adjusting. I often fell off of fast-moving platforms because the momentum needed to jump forward or change directions before jumping felt very loose and took some time to get used to.
I was presently surprised by how No Straight Roads builds its narrative using music, creative platforming, and battles. The visuals and style might grab your attention, but the unique adventure waiting for you will definitely keep your interest, at least during these early moments.
No Straight Roads is coming to PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via the Epic Games Store on August 25, with a demo and mini-OST available now. There will also be physical collector editions available for PS4 and Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch.
Check out the new trailer below:
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