On paper, despite being the studio’s first baby yet unknown Metronomik, No Straight Roads has something to interest. It is indeed designed by Wan Hazmer, lead game designer of Final Fantasy XV, and Daim Dziauddin, concept artist sure Street Fighter V, as well as a whole team of talents of all kinds. But do good developers necessarily make a good game? The answer in our test !
The rock however defended by Mayday and Zuke is only very little put forward.
The basic concept of No Straight Roads is promising, with a gameplay directly linked to the musical universe of the game. We follow here Mayday and Zuke, guitarist and drummer of an independent rock band, who will face the tyranny of No Straight Roads, electronic music mogul who extended his empire over everything Vinyle City, until taking the monopoly of the management of its energy. Failed to The Voice local whose jurors are the bosses of society, they will take revenge and give back its (musical) freedom to the city. Because yes, even if the universe is inspired by dystopias, no one seems too unhappy to listen toEDM in this lively and colorful city, or even to live under the aegis of No Straight Roads.
Beyond its polished cartoon art direction, the world of Vinyle City hardly really catchy. Basically, the main villains have a very limited charisma, including for the villain Tatiana, and the storyline flush with daisies worthy of a Sunday cartoon struggles to be catchy. And it is neither the quick hang-ups to the pasts of the heroes and the final mollasson that will make No Straight Roads an unmissable. Without being horrible to follow, the storytelling doesn’t fly much high, and the stakes aren’t engaging at any point. In terms of form, the animations may be fluid and the universe pop and flashy, the small budget is felt in austere graphics and a world that sounds hollow.
Otherwise, music and sound environment, there is something to be surprised, because rock yet defended by Mayday and Zuke is not highlighted very much. There are certainly rare instrumental pieces of the genre with pretty cool tones, but overall, the majority of the tracks are made up of electronic compositions of all kinds, eyeing up to the drum&bass and the synthwave. Globament, the soundtrack is cool and easily carries us away during fights, including during a successful and fun hip-hop aside. But for a production where music is the main theme, we were entitled to expect more.
The story is not the same on the side of French dubbing, yet so highlighted by Metronomik. Okay, Kelly Marot and Donald Reignoux’s work for the heroes reinforces this cartoonish side of the game, but the fact that these voices have been heard almost everywhere in the past prevents giving a real personality to the title. And, sorry, but when the big villain Tatiana Threatens us with the voice of the voice actor Julia Roberts, it’s not worrying for a penny. For the rest, it’s a bit of a mess: if some bosses are entitled to rather sympathetic speeches, the presence of amateurs like Julien Chièze is heard, especially since the character of the latter is far from being anecdotal. Finally, don’t even pay attention to some of the cast names like Sora the videographer or Seem, brought back just to give three sentences through totally unnecessary NPCs and clearly just placed there to appeal to “celebrities”.
Despite its relatively cool cartoonish and light side, No Straight Roads especially struggles to find its balance in terms of sound gameplay. Even if it can at first glance be taken as an action game with a platform side, to put it simply, it is above all abouta title dedicated to boss fights with scoring. Between each level, we have access to a hub with a few collectibles and inputs for those boss fights, with no trigger or even an action button to activate. The “platform” phases are in all cases poorly managed, with a heaviness in the movements and the jumps which is found in the fights, and especially the decorations empty of interest and interactivity, in spite of the presence of useless objects to observe and the famous doubled NPCs which are useless.
It is above all a title dedicated to boss fights with scoring.
The fight only takes place within the framework of these boss clashes, which begin with a short series of minions to be eliminated through several zones. This first phase goes pretty fast, but lacks interest, even with the timing-based combat system. All enemy attacks are launched in rhythm to the music, and if it is sometimes quite difficult to make the link between the notes and the opposing moves, it is especially necessary to see patterns to be detected to raise your level of play. This mechanism is however more interesting during boss battles, with several phases and often several ways of causing damage.
Melee attacks are not always allowed, but it is possible to send rare projectiles, use parry to return powerful purple attacks, or temporarily animate objects with the power of music . On a unique music specific to the current level, we are therefore entitled to quite rich and dynamic sequences (even a little chaotic sometimes) requiring mastery and skill. The subtlety is that the experience is playable solo as well as co-op, and if you are alone you can switcher heroes at any time. Unfortunately, this does not change much, the classic and special moves of Mayday and Zuke all having more or less the same effect.
The passages are uneven, as much on the pleasure taken as on the difficulty, but there is something to have a good time for players of all levels, nothing more. It is possible to continue after his death without game over by sacrificing his score, and there are obviously several difficulty modes that are gradually unlocked to satisfy everyone. No Straight Roads is still very short, completing in just four hours on your first pass. It is thought to be played and replayed, but with only 6 or 7 levels, some of which lack interest, only scoring purists will find a reason to repeat them over and over, and not necessarily with the enthusiasm that a game with such challenges is supposed to offer. Besides that, upgrades can be bought to diversify our skills, or stickers stuck on our instruments to get bonuses, but the actual difference is minimal.
It is therefore a No Straight Roads in half-tone that we have here in front of us. Universe that sounds hollow and not catchy enough, effective soundtrack, but not unforgettable, narration too light for a gameplay clearly dedicated to adults, rarely fun combat system, and true nature of boss rush encompassed by not the most interesting phases, the title struggles to really put the player in his pocket. If you like cartoon worlds and are passionate about scoring, why not, but for others, the few most enjoyable passages will not necessarily be worth it.
No Straight Roads is available for € 39.99 at the Fnac.
- The light atmosphere worthy of a pre-teen cartoon
- Some pretty cool rhythm fights
- The anti-EDM scenario that even the game doesn’t believe
- The universe struggling to come to life
- Austere gameplay that brings little fun in combat
- Very short if you are not scoring shot
|Favorite editor of your favorite editor since 2009, passionate about booming music, fan of comic series of all kinds. I’ve played Pokémon a little too much in my life.|
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