There are very few genres that won’t catch my attention when you add the words “rhythm based” to their description, and No Straight Roads is a very good example of that. No Straight Roads is a 3D rhythm action game developed by Metronomik that is coming to PC this Summer and has also been confirmed to later be coming to the Switch. We were recently offered an opportunity to preview the PC version of the game through the Epic Games Store.
In No Straight Roads, the player takes control of Mayday and Zuke, two musicians living in Vinyl City with the dream of making it to the big time. Together they form the band Bunk Bed Junction, with May on guitar and Zuke on drums. Vinyl City is a place literally powered by music, as an organization known as NSR has developed technology to convert music into electricity, and the game opens on Bunk Bed Junction auditioning to be the next biggest suppliers of power. There’s just one problem: Bunk Bed Junction is a rock band, and NSR is run by a group of purists who only have interest in EDM. When they are turned away despite a stellar performance, May and Zuke decide to take down the EDM Empire and reintroduce rock into the lives of Vinyl City’s residents.
The preview began with a bit of a rough start as the opening cutscene, a short scene where May and Zuke are filming their “meet the band” video before their audition, had a fair bit of audio desync issues. These mainly manifested in dialogue playing and then a few seconds later the character doing the lip movements and animations connected to said dialogue. It’s not that the game or cutscene was lagging, everything seemed to be playing just fine, but this was an inconsistent issue during cutscenes, seemingly only happening to specific characters (usually May). Even so I was immediately charmed by the game’s vocal cast, as they are clearly having a ton of fun with the characters they’re playing. The character designs are also fantastic and memorable, especially May who is just so darn cute you can’t help but love her immediately.
Once gameplay starts, the only real rhythm based part is that all the enemies around you seem to mainly function according to the rhythm of the song playing. You play as either May or Zuke, switching between the two with the left bumper. May is the heavy hitter, taking large swings using her guitar, while Zuke is more based around comboing enemies, with quicker lighter attacks that are easier to cancel out of. You can also collect notes to use as ammunition in order to hit enemies that are out of your physical reach. When you switch characters, the inactive character will hang back and slowly replenish their health as they rest. If either character dies, it’s game over.
For the purposes of this preview, I played through the tutorial section as well as the first boss fight with DJ Subatomic Supernova. The boss fight itself was overall very good, with fantastic space-themed visuals and incredible music, but it did have a few problems. At certain points the fight felt like phases might have dragged on a little long, and that there might have been too much happening on screen to keep track of for much of the fight. Even so, I still managed to have a good time and found myself nodding my head heavily to the bangin’ tunes accompanying it, which I’d say is arguably the most important part of a music-based game in the first place. The rhythm overall does not seem to play all that much a part in the minute to minute gameplay of No Straight Roads, but its heavy music themes are unmistakable, and I’m looking forward to seeing where these roads lead.
No Straight Roads releases this Summer on PC and is set to follow on all major console platforms, including Nintendo Switch, at a later date.