PAX East: ‘Lococycle’ is the ‘Short Circuit’ of video games

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There was a point during my hands-off demo of Lococycle where Jay (my presenter) told me about the genesis of the project.

“Our CCO, Josh Bear, watched Torque one night. There’s a part where there’s a fight scene between two ladies on motorcycles, using their bikes as the weapon. Apparently, he dreamed about it that night, and came back to us saying ‘This is the game we have to make.’”

Freaking. Awesome.

The plot of Lococycle goes something like this: after graduating valedictorian of Assassin’s School, motorcyclist I.R.I.S. is struck by lightning (ala ‘Short Circuit’), and suddenly feels the need to compete in a motorcycle race in Indiana. Trouble is, she’s all the way in California. After stealing away her faithful mechanic, Pablo, the two set off on the open road being chased by bad guys galore. Oh, and Pablo only speaks Spanish, and I.R.I.S’ translator circuits were fried from the lightning. Got that?

The game itself plays like a weird hybrid of God Hand, the best parts of Sonic Adventure, and Road Rash–if that makes any sense at all. Driving along on a huge expanse of highway, I.R.I.S. weaves in and out of traffic with Pablo being dragged along behind her. As bad guys approach her, I.R.I.S. takes them down with the vehicular equivalent of hand-to-hand combat, racking up impressive combos, and using Pablo as a boomerang. Run into some innocents after a bit of combat? You’ll lose your combo, and slow down a bit. But you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get that combo chain back up. Wave after wave of enemies on bikes, in vans, and just plain dudes are all trying to bring you down. Occasionally, there’s a break in the action, and some incredibly cinematic QTE’s appear. I know, I know, QTE’s are hardly gameplay. But I really think Twisted Pixel got it right in Lococycle. The action doesn’t stop, so every merge into a QTE is seamless and fluid, which is what every action game made in the last eight years has needed to do.

Twisted Pixel’s trademark characterization and humor are ever present in the new game–the dialogue between I.R.I.S. and Pablo being the standout for me. Imagine Danny Glover and Mel Gibson from Lethal Weapon, except they can’t understand a word each other is saying. Lococycle really is like a classic buddy film turned on its head, and that makes for some great lingual gags. The game’s voice talent is also worth bringing up, with industry darling Lisa Foiles voicing I.R.I.S., Freddy Rodriguez as Pablo, and Robert Patrick as the evil S.P.I.K.E.

Honestly, Lococycle is my most anticipated Xbox Live Arcade title, I just wish I could get my hands on the game. While there’s no release date, things are looking strong for a release sometime this year.

Max was born at the tender young age of zero in a town noted for its horses and baseball bats. He enjoys giraffes, puppies, Robocop, oft forgotten movies of the 90's, British comedy, and bicycling.