No Straight Roads Game Review by Luke
Posted on September 10, 2020
No Straight Roads (NSR, 2020) Review For PS4
NSR is a Rhythm-Based, Action, Indie game, and the premier title for Metronomik. NSR is rated PG, featuring mild fantasy violence and coarse Language.
NSR is not only an amazing title but a phenomenal title to show the talent behind the new studio. Amazing art direction, beautiful music compositions and a charming story about equality, all mixed into a highly enjoyable boss brawler. But it could push some away with its linearity and over-all shortness.
Story and Voice Acting
Start a rock revolution as Bunk Bed Junction, an indie rock band led by Mayday (Voiced by Su Ling Chan) and Zuke (Steven Bones), in Vinyl-City, the city that runs on music. Vinyl-City is run by NSR, a corrupt corporate EDM group set out on destroying rock. But, after NSR put their plans into motion and ban rock, blackouts ravage Vinyl-City, forcing Bunk Bed Junction to stand up for their right to rock.
NSR’s story is a charming romp through a diverse world, showing you how everyone uses music in their own way, from bonding with a loved one or finding your purpose. NSR takes a deep dive into music’s uses and tells a thrilling story through and through.
The story is only made even better by the great voice cast that bring the characters to life, making every scene as comedic or as somber as they need.
In NSR you will be spending most of your time taking on one of the games’ many eccentric boss battles. In these battles, everything is determined by the music, having you focus on the beat of each track to understand how to avoid certain attacks or when to go in to deal some damage. Every tone change and every beat drop could lead to a devastating attack, but with a good ear all of them can be dodged, letting you out in a counterattack. With constantly changing music styles like orchestral, to J-Pop you’ll always have something new to dig your teeth into.
“Notes” can also be used as projectile attacks to hit the out-of-reach enemies. These are earned through defeating enemy fodder or for dodging attacks.
The battles are made even more deep with you being able to change between Zuke and Mayday on the fly. Mayday is a much slower character but is also a heavy hitter. Zuke is a faster combo-based character, and as him, you will be focused on stringing hits together. These changes in play styles help you still get hits in no matter how fast or slow the beat is.
But getting up to these battles takes work. You will have to take on linear platforming challenges filled with robot servants of NSR. While not long, these small areas have some fun level and visual designs, making for a nice diversion.
All of these battles are linked together by Districts (NSR’s Hub World), a quite linear though fun to explore area filled with contraptions to power up with Qwasa. Qwasa are vials of concentrated music found throughout the world, with these you will be able to power up the city to get extra challenges.
Bunk Bed Junction’s headquarters are also available in the districts, and visiting it will allow you to get briefed on missions or purchase upgrades from a skill tree. Stickers and Mods are also available, allowing you to power up character’s certain features such as health or damage output.
NSR fixes its linearity issues though by adding in unlockable difficulty and challenges, allowing you to play through your favourite stages with a new track or a new challenge.
Visuals, Sound and Performance
NSR is a visual splendor, from a grungy alleyway, vibrant J-pop filled district to a cyber-punk boy band town, and there is a constant barrage of new things. What makes these areas so great though is the amount of change they receive throughout your journey. At first you will hear a lot of EDM and see NSR propaganda, but as you grow your fanbase and revolution, rock will fill the streets and graffiti will be sprayed in your name, constantly changing the look of re-occurring areas. NSR’s cutscenes also make the vibrant visuals pop. With a mix of both 3D and 2D animated scenes, both lovingly created and voiced, it’s a joy to take in NSR’s world.
These stunning vibrant areas are made even better by the game’s phenomenal soundtrack. Grungy rock, EDM and reggae inspired rap are just a taste of the amount of diverse sounds NSRfeatures, and none of them stop ever being consistently great.
NSR’s performance is where it fumbles though. Although keeping a consistent FPS of 60, NSR features a lot of area pop-in, and some broken feeling areas. Pop-in is mainly only noticeable in the hub world, and while not game breaking, it can make certain areas look empty when there’s nothing in the distance. Some of NSR’s hub worlds and arenas can also feel broken at times. I felt like I was frequently getting into areas I wasn’t supposed to be in, and while I was able to exit these areas, it gave an overall un-finished feeling to some of the world.
No Straight Roads is a journey through a rock filled world with highly enjoyable, though linear gameplay, a beautifully vibrant world and a great story with a charming message. NSR is a game I cannot recommend enough to fans of the Rhythm-Based or Hack-And-Slash genre.