PAX East Hands-On: No Straight Roads

Though I didn’t have a recorded interview with this, I got a good 15 minutes with it. This is a fucking sweet and creative game. Ready?

Picture this… Oh, I’m sorry, you can hear AND see this better? My mistake. Let me back-cue this record a little bit.

Ok, first off, the gameplay is very intuitive and very beautiful. It’s extremely music based, but also hack and slash based and you can Get By With A Little Help from Your Friend. You are Mayday, here to save rock with the help of your drummer Zuke. Though the bosses are very Zelda-akin and super awesome looking, with their musical prowess, the soundtrack never stops with you losing. In fact, it keeps you in the game, coach- as even if you are feeling you are losing, the amazing soundtrack and the music you can make with your cohort through attacks can be uplifting and even heart palpitating. You are never at a loss because though music and notes are universal, sometimes one musical genre tries to overtake another, so you may even feel you want to crank that volume up!

This is a very beautiful and creative choice of the creators, that deploy and wonderful art style with a level design that is dare I say, NEXT LEVEL. The humor never misses A BEAT. The voice acting and character design is ON POINT. The six-stringed mission statement is colorful with an air of wittiness and self-awareness that is only rivaled by the music they are trying they are to combat against.

Either way, ya gonna rip it up!

ROCK has always been the outlier, the absorbing of music that they sometimes are cooler than. In this instance, it’s EDM.

I mean, who wants to listen to machines when true emotion and musicianship is created through 4 instruments? I mean, really, is true musicianship over? Different styles make work to break a band up but in this case, you have to work IN CONCERT to wherever the boss make take you in expressive and dynamic moves, through working together (because as a band, you need to work together to get yourself out there,) and through sometimes giving yourself up in knowing that you are the greater than the sum of its parts.

In future content, they want to expand it out of EDM. For instance, I played a level that was based on rock (for my character’s powers) and classical. The goal of this game is not only quirky but also clever and intuitive.

For those of you who like “hack and slash but shoot at the enemy” games, this will not disappoint in the least. The learning curve if easy enough to pick up, but steep enough to be rewarding for those looking for a fun and mellifluous challenge. The weaponry is only your instruments and your wits.

Think of this like a Fooly-Cooly game if you got to switch characters on the fly. The humor is on goddamned fleek, the boss battles are epic looking and feeling, the marriage of your sound and the soundtrack (which always keeps you back in the game, no matter how hard you may fail at times) will have you not knocking, but rather scratching at this Heaven’s Door.

Who knew notes could be so harmful? Oh, wait. Mothers.

 

This is a game made for music lovers, but you don’t have to be a hardcore record store junkie to love it. The art style is Ax-ecuted wonderfully by Wan Hazmer, lead game designer of Final Fantasy XV and Daim Dziauddin, the concept artist behind Street Fighter V.  The intuitive controls and camera work of the characters you pilot make it a sight to behold along with the imaginative set pieces of levels. With optional two-player co-op and the different levels and bosses being based on different musical genres, why would you not give this little record a little spin on PS4 and PC coming 2020?

That being said, I give this six electric guitar strings out of five. Now what you do with those open strings… is your own song.

P.S. A huge thank you and super shout out to Katie Clark at Sold Out Sales and Marketing Ltd. for facilitating this. She was super helpful seeing me through the demo and was open to any and all queries. Katie… you ROCK with two metal horns up!

Oh yeah, your enemy is that strong. Like 50 Cent, I am in DA CLUB!

About Robert Kijowski

Robert Kijowski
Robert J. Kijowski is a screenwriter who enjoys a good chuckle and an even better weep when indulging in art both good and even better bad. He enjoys the company of strangers in a theatre but adores the camaraderie of friends watching Netflix. He also loves to talk- a lot. This can be read through his recaps and reviews on the Workprint or heard through his weekly movie podcast, After the Credits. His presence can be felt through Facebook, Spotify or Ouija. Don’t use the latter though- he almost always ghosts people.

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