One of the best things about indie games is that so many of them are willing to not take themselves extremely seriously. No Straight Roads is a silly game with a silly main character, silly concept, and silly dialogue. And it is wonderful.
In a world dominated by electronic dance music (or EDM for the cool kids), you play as Mayday and Zuke, two rock musicians looking to take down the electronogarchy with the power of rock. Also, there’s a bit about the city having no power because any overpowered government also has to be incompetent/evil.
It is all silly in the best of ways. Mayday has a personality reminiscent of Tiny Tina from Borderlands 2 or Jinx from League of Legends. She’s extremely excitable in a crazy yet adorable way and it is hard to watch most of her dialogue without cracking a smile. On the other end of the spectrum, Zuke is regularly relaxed and carefree, allowing himself to be pulled along by Mayday’s shenanigans. They work extremely well as a pairing and they are fun to watch.
In terms of gameplay, No Straight Roads plays as a fairly straight forward action adventure game. You run around a 3D environment smacking enemies with your melee attacks or shooting flying enemies with ranged attacks. No Straight Roads also adds a rhythm mechanic where enemies will attack on the beat, forcing you to dodge and attack based on the rhythm of the surrounding music.
I adored the demo of No Straight Roads at PAX. The characters were fun to watch, the environments were interesting and varied, and the story was the perfect kind of silly. You can really feel the love the developers put into making this game lighthearted and fun.
While the rhythm mechanic was an interesting idea, I didn’t find that it factored into gameplay extremely well. The characters that attack on beat performed a sweeping attack, forcing you to jump or dodge before the beats hit. This made it very difficult to get into a groove with the enemies. And during the boss fight, I found that the visuals were far more important than the audio in terms of dodging attacks.
Check out the trailer below: