Be ready to take on the road and all that comes with it – meet I.R.I.S., an intelligent motorcycle made to serve and protect humans – one problem though. She’s gone rogue due to a lightning strike.
This game has a shallow story to it. Some big shady company has been able to develop a very advanced artificial intelligence, which can go either way in terms of good things vs. bad things. This company presents their two motorcycles, I.R.I.S. and S.P.I.K.E. to some of the richest and most powerful people in the world happening in the era of LocoCycle. By sheer chance, a lightening strikes happen and messes with different systems on I.R.I.S. and it just so happens to be the nearest person available (when she comes to) that she takes with her to a dream that came to fruition by a TV commercial and a magazine lying on the floor. Meet Pablo, the kind mechanic who is the most unlucky living being since Donald Duck – at least when he’s near I.R.I.S. She takes him out on the road, heading for the Freedom Rally, and in spite of all Pablo’s efforts to convince I.R.I.S. to let him go, he’s not getting through to her – her language program is done for.
On-rail brawler goes nuts
The gameplay took me a while to get used to. Right from the bat, I really really disliked the lack of camera control and the on-rails experience in form of I.R.I.S.’ set speed. After that, the game kept growing on me – the combat system is complicated, yet simple. This game is a button masher, but there’s a few things to be aware of while fighting, such as the Super Attack which has has a bar with limited use, but this one quickly regenerates while not in use. In general, everything onboard that you can use with I.R.I.S., will regenerate quickly – depending on how much upgrade you’ve given her. The game has a simple RPG element where you upgrade different stuff on IRIS, such as fighting moves, health, boost and weapons. Fighting moves and weapons gives more damage the more you upgrade and health and boost gets larger the more you upgrade those. At the end of one-off playthrough, you should have been able to upgrade 90% of the upgradeable stuff.
The games’ bad physics and under par graphics are saved by sheer fun – the fighting aspect of the game is fun and varying, but it does gets old, as these things both have been seen before, and you get to see a lot of it in the game. All of these things are being wiped out by two things that quite unique for Twisted Pixel: weird humor shown in the gameplay (chasing a van where midgets with bombs are attached getting thrown at you, and you have to bump into the van to get rid of the midget is something I’ve not seen before) and then we have all the small dialogues and monologues that easily could be thrown into a stand up show unaltered. Lots of small easter eggs – such as I.R.I.S. saying something a like: “You’ll see some serious shit once we hit 88 miles per hour” (this is a reference to the “Back to the Future” films for those not in the know), that made me smile of joy when playing, making me forget about all the small annoying things the game has.
When I saw the very first teaser at E3 I was a little doubtful, but I did wanted to see more of what was coming from Twisted Pixel. I love their humour, but it’s getting too weird in most of their games – in Comic Jumper, it was the different styled worlds, and in LocoCycle it’s the live action cutscenes making it weird – or unique if you will. The first full gameplay trailer made me really want the game, and initial comments and reviews of the game (it came out on Xbox One a few months ago, I had to go with 360 version) was disappointing, but the gameplay still looked fun, so I decided to give it a chance, and here we are. A game full of fun, but with disappointing physics and graphics.
Miss; I am leaning towards accepting the five year old graphics and physics as being on purpose for the arcade style feeling the game has. The live action cutscenes is out of place, and they are way too long and silly – a motorcycle eating an ice cream? Really?
Need; A more believable story with more heavy content would have helped me taking this game seriously. On the other hand, the light and ridiculous experience was alright – I guess.