PAX Prime 2013: Lococycle hands-on
This year’s E3 made it abundantly clear that smaller games – the Xbox Live Arcade, PSN level small games – are a big deal this generation. Sony’s bid for the indie crowd made a big impression, and here at PAX one of the biggest Xbox One games on display is an Arcade title. Twisted Pixel, who had their big XBLA breaks with the ‘Splosion Man series and The Gunstringer later in the 360’s life cycle, are bringing their new game Lococycle out for the Xbox One’s launch.
“It’s easy to pick up and extremely simple in nature”Despite its shiny coat of paint, Lococycle is immediately familiar as an Arcade-level game. It’s easy to pick up and extremely simple in nature, although its limited, easy set of mechanics pulls from absurd directions. Essentially, Lococycle is an on-rails driving game with elements of shoot-em-ups, racing games, and Devil May Cry-esque action. None of these mechanics are particularly complicated, but rolled into the same game they create a unique and amusing sense of trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time.
The player controls the motorcycle (and its hapless passenger, Pablo, who hangs off the back of the bike and serves as a sword of sorts) as it careens down a long highway populated with enemy cars, motorcycles, and giant robots. Lococycle seems to shift in and out of phases; cars ahead of the bike need to be shot, while bikes pulling up alongside need to be hit with Pablo, and brief stretches of open road can be boosted down at god-knows-how-many miles per hour. It’s a bit like playing red light, green light with a talking motorcycle.
It’s a very simple game at its core, but it’s at least varied. If the quick variations are enough to keep the game from getting boring, it could be something of a quirky instant classic. The level I played was relatively easy, but with faster encounters and a more dangerous track, I could imagine the game getting incredibly complicated and satisfying. If nothing else, it will have that bizarre Twisted Pixel charm that made The Maw and ‘Splosion Man so popular.