Grab your electric guitar because it’s time for a rock and roll revolution. No Straight Roads from developers Metronomik blends a music-fueled world full of personality with interesting gameplay mechanics that make for a memorable experience that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
After a bombastic opening sequence, you’ll take on the role of Mayday and Zuke, an up-and-coming rock duo looking to make it big. After NSR, the record label turned global empire shuts them down, they realize how much NSR’s EDM empire has taken from their city and has only profited and gained control from abusing their power over the poor and underrepresented. The duo decides to fight the power and take out each member of the group and also in turn spreading the power of rock back to the people to, quite literally, power the city which the empire has taken from them.
The moment I dropped into the world I knew No Straight Roads was going to be something different and special. It’s relatively simple but packed full of style and character. Most of the game you’ll be venturing a hub world that opens up and connects you to each of the NSR controlled districts. From each new district, you’ll bash and smash your way through an action and platforming sequence that culminates in boss battles that are epic set pieces themed to one of the six musical performers you’ll be taking down. These sequences are quite literally the show stealers. You’ll go from a DJ throwing planets at you, epic alleyway rap battles, and mechanical boy bands that you’ll have to takedown. All of these sequences are also loosely tied to the beat of the music track playing. When enemies attack, timing your dodge during a boss fight or prepping an attack can be tricky because of this. It all comes down to timing so it behooves you to time your attacks rather than rushing in headstrong.
The boss battles can be pretty challenging. You can swap between both Mayday and Zuke during combat so managing each character’s health is necessary playing solo. If one character is out its game over. You can play the game Co-op, but I was unable to do so with the time I had with the game. The game is somewhat forgiving in that you have the option when you lose a battle you just give up a better score and restarting drops you right back where you were in the fight. However, a higher score does matter. At the end of a boss fight, you’re scored on your performance during the battle. The higher the score the more fans you accrue. These fans essentially act as your XP, having a higher number of fans which unlocks better moves and abilities within your skill tree that you can utilize in battles. So while you can ultimately complete No Straight Roads through a war of attrition the game really is about replaying and mastering these boss fights. You can also unlock multiple variants of each boss battle that are tied to new music tracks which change up enemies attacks since they move at different tempos.
Being a game centered around music the soundtrack is stellar. Everything from roaring guitars, piano medleys, bass drops are all outstanding. The styles and aesthetics of these genres are infused into the environments and make for some truly spectacular areas although most are generally linear and have some minor interactions. Even as basic as some of the environments felt the amount of detail and character infused to them made even just the little bit of exploring I could do so engaging. After each boss fight, I loved going back to this large courtyard in the hub which had TV’s that displayed who you were to take on next, giving you just a little bit of flavor before you even made it to the villain’s area which was a cool and subtle way to prepare you for the next encounter.
I love what No Straight Roads does with the little that’s there. You could probably mainline and beat the main game in about 5 hours but every hour of this game is packed to the brim with style, character, and heart. This is a great ballad of how the modern music era has lost some of its way and hopefully the smaller up and coming performers in the industry can one day pave the way for a better future and make an impact in the world. It all wraps up into a short yet very sweet package worth your time.
This game was played on PC and purchased by the reviewer