Hands-on With LocoCycle
During an afterhours event at the Microsoft booth during E3 2013, I was able to get a hands-on with one of the Xbox One’s launch titles, LocoCycle. Coming from the minds at Twisted Pixel (The Maw, Gunstringer), this humorous action title puts you in the seat of an unlikely protagonist: a motorcycle.
In LocoCycle, you take the reins of a hyper-advanced motorcycle names I.R.I.S., who is controlled and driven by her advanced artificial intelligence. The demo started me in the middle of a high-speed chase, being tailed by robots and men in black suits (presumably the government) all while a man named Pablo was hanging from the rear chassis. Admittedly, I was a bit lost as to what was going on due to being thrown in the middle of an event, especially since Pablo didn’t speak a lick of English. However, the lack of story and context helped show off key parts of LocoCycle, namely the gameplay and sense of humour.
While controlling I.R.I.S., I had access to two different melee attacks, one using the front wheel and the other using the two rear wheels, forward machine guns, and a high speed boost. Aside from these basic moves, you’re also able to leap into the air and attack aerial foes using lavish combinations. While airborne, the forward attack button is used to attack with Pablo, who acts as sort of a boomerang – flying out in a spin to damage enemies before returning to his spot on I.R.I.S.
What results via these mechanics are two things: first, stunt driving action scenes similar to the Spyhunter series, and second, it creates some intricate and entertaining Kung Fu-like cinematic displays. On the ground, simply driving and firing your cannons forward gives you that suave James Bond feel, while tripping and smashing your opponents with your melee attacks reminds you that your motorcycle character is somewhat alive. Taking to the air, things get a lot more intense. Since I.R.I.S. features two rear wheels on two separate axels, they can be positioned like human legs. This allows for incredible aerial combat akin to some type of violent dance, with flurries of kicks and sweeps as you soar through the air. Augmenting this is a counter ability, used by pressing the jump button when enemies are signalling their attack. Press at the right time and the result is a short-yet-flashy takedown scene, often ending in a blow from Pablo’s wrench! While the physics aficionados will be calling foul-play on I.R.I.S. (as she seems to float in the air indefinitely at times), it adds a certain extra comic relief to the title.
Speaking of humour, much of LocoCycle’s allure comes from its comedy and generally wacky themes. I.R.I.S. will often make random statements that have little to do with the circumstances. For example, she at one point asks Pablo what he will do when they reach their destination, and his reply was something along the lines of “you are a crazy machine” in Spanish, before she responded with “I’ll get falafel!” This language barrier, mixed with I.R.I.S.’s cold, robotic phrases (on or off topic) make for an interestingly funny experience. It almost feels like you’re playing an action-adventure sitcom!
Once the action was done, foes were dispatched, and the laughs ran dry, LocoCycle proved to be a title that gamers will watch for when the Xbox One launches. Utilizing the right blend of mechanics, Twisted Pixel once again has a potential hit on their hands. If their track record is any indication of how LocoCycle will hold up, this is one game you’ll need in your collection!
LocoCycle will be available on Xbox One at launch, and will be downloadable on the Xbox 360, but with a date that has yet to be announced. Stay tuned for a full review at (or around) launch!
About This Post