Bunka. Junka. Shakalaka. BAM!
No Straight Roads has been on my radar since playing it back when events were allowed to be held at EGX 2019. I remember watching my friend play some cutesy Tim Burton style game when I caught No Straight Roads out the corner of my eye. I saw all these colours popping on screen as somebody fought a giant DJ in space. So, I got up and headed over to the booth to give it a try for myself!
No Straight Roads is an action-adventure game that sees you defeat enemies to the beat of a rhythm. You play as an indie rock band, Bunk Bed Junction, which is made up of two members: Mayday, an enthusiastic female guitarist who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and Zuke, a laid-back drummer who takes life one beat at a time. They live in Vinyl City, a place run by the power of EDM (Electric Dance Music). The premise of the story is literally the musicals We Will Rock You meets Monsters Inc. as the electricity of Vinyl City is literally powered by music!
The game opens with you playing a tutorial which is set up as an audition akin to X-Factor or American Idol. Bunk Bed Junction rocks the studio with their indie-rock power! Mayday is hard-hitting but slow whilst Zuke is a quick combo stringer but limited to three hits, though the tutorial states he will be able to chain more as the game goes on, plus they both have ranged attacks when they pick up ammo dropped from crates. After all is said and done, all the judges reject them as they believe rock is a dead genre and that EDM is the only music worthy of peoples ear and the only music that can power Vinyl City.
But, as it turns out, rock is incredibly powerful as the two catch a glimpse of their performance on TV and see that just a bit of their audition immediately provides electricity – again, kinda like the film Monsters Inc., where laughter was more powerful than screams. Mayday decides its time to takedown the corrupt NSR who run Vinyl City and as a blackout occurs they re-route the back-up energy to their own buildings and essentially say screw you to the citizens.
Anyway! Enough about the story as this is a game, so let’s talk about the gameplay! So the build I played gave me access to the tutorial mentioned above, the first boss, DJ Subatomic Supernova, the boss I fought at EGX, and the second boss, Virtual Idol Sayu, as well as getting to wonder around Vinyl City.
Vinyl City is a hub world that connects to each of the boss stages as well as your home, which is the sewers. Throughout Vinyl City are little energy clusters that you can collect to power-up parts of the city to give light and power back to the citizens and which will pull more fans in for Bunk Bed Junction. I have no idea what fans are for but it makes me feel good as the number increases.
Boss stages see you running through a stage as you battle your way towards the boss room and I found it similar to the original No More Heroes, with each stage being designed to fit the theme of the boss. For example, Sayu is a cute virtual mermaid idol, so her stage was full of cute pastel colours with an underwater theme and as you drew closer to her the stage turned into an underwater Hatsune Miku concert with glow sticks. Whilst DJ Subatomic Supernova didn’t have a build-up to his boss battle, his stage went from DJ decks in a club to outer space and he became gigantic!
After defeating bosses you acquire various mods that you can equip to give yourself different special abilities! Zuke’s ability allowed him to perform a drum solo that restores some health, and Mayday’s saw her charged up and toss her guitar at the enemy for higher damage. You can do combo specials with both Zuke and Mayday but I didn’t unlock any during the course of my playthrough of this preview build.
Overall, I’m looking forward to No Straight Roads as it’s funky art style and head bopping soundtrack appeal to me greatly and has a different approach to games than the realistic and heavily emotional games that have so far featured in 2020. You can grab No Straight Roads on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC via Epic Games Store on August 25th with a Nintendo Switch version coming at a later date.
A preview code was provided by PR for the purposes of this preview.