No Straight Roads follows the story of the enigmatic duo Mayday and Zuke as they try to tear down the EDM Empire that NSR has created. And why do they want to do this? It is because NSR has created a new order in Vinyl City where the only music that is accepted as art is EDM (Electronic Dance Music).
NSR has created the show Lights Up to find the next big artist, and Mayday and Zuke audition for it with the band name Bunk Bed Junction. Although they impressed the audience with their music, they are turned away by NSR for playing rock music.
Mayday decides that it is then time to take action, as NSR not only control the music of Vinyl City, but also the city’s electricity. NSR wastes all the electricity on their elite, rather than distributing it to the areas that need it most. So Mayday sets out a plan to take revenge on NSR, with Zuke agreeing reluctantly.
This narrative follows the basic structure of the underdog hero taking on a rich and powerful villain. Whilst it is a fairly straightforward and somewhat predictable story, the humour is really where it shines. No Straight Roads is filled to the brim with one liners and hilarious characters. One character, a DJ called DJ Subatomic Supernova, even has a planet for a head! One line in particular, which can be seen in the image bellow, really made me chuckle
What’s the combat like?
No Straight Roads, at its core, has a fairly standard action adventure style of gameplay. The main differentiating factor is the use of the music during combat. Enemies will attack on certain beats of a song, so it is important to memorise the different types of enemies and their attacking styles, but you do not have to worry too much about the music to succeed in these sections. However, the music becomes vital when facing off against the bosses!
Boss battles are the focus of No Straight Road, with each boss being more deadly and difficult than the last. Like regular enemies, bosses will attack on certain beats, or have a barrage of attacks happening across the arena at certain intervals. Some melodies repeat during boss fights to give hints of when certain attacks will occur. It is vital to listen to the music to be able to defeat these bosses, as the music helps you understand the bosses attack patterns and timings. Ignoring the music can make a battle much more difficult than it needs to be.
Each boss battle has a letter ranking system. You can earn more fans by attaining a higher rank. Fans are essential for unlocking new and more powerful moves and combos. This means that it is very important to try and attain the highest rank possible.
If you die whilst fighting a boss, you have the option to immediately respawn and continue the fight. Doing this will cost you the possibility of attaining a rank above a C for that fight. This is a fantastic feature, as it enables players who are not looking for as big a challenge to still continue through the fight without having to worry about the loss of progress when they die.
For those who love a challenge though, different modes are available for replaying each boss battle once the story has been completed. These include various difficulty modes, as well as a parry mode, which, as the name suggests, involves focusing on parrying attacks to damage the bosses.
Differences between Mayday and Zuke
You play as both Mayday and Zuke in this action packed adventure, and can swap between them seamlessly during a battle. Both characters have different playstyles. Mayday focuses more on slower, more powerful attacks, whereas Zuke is quicker and more efficient with combos.
Various items can be transformed during a battle, and these assist tremendously with defeating the various bosses. Transformations made by Zuke and Mayday differ from each other also. Mayday transforms items into weapons that can damage a boss, whilst Zuke’s transformations are often support based, sometimes drawing the attention of the boss to allow Zuke a moment to strike.
The rap battle is an interesting mini-game included in this title. It is very infuriating though! During this rap battle, you control two hands simultaneously on a guitar hero like platform and have to manoeuvre them around the various obstructions on the stage. I saw the game-over screen way too many times whilst playing this mini-game.
The World of No Straight Roads
No Straight Roads’ world is divided into districts. Each district has an NSR representative, known as a leader. Defeating the leader of a district unlocks the next one. The design of these areas are based off of their leader, with colours and themes of the environments matching them. The design of each of these districts is absolutely stunning and walking around in them can be an absolute delight.
After every battle, Mayday and Zuke head back to their hideout and then have to travel through all the unlocked districts to get to the next available area. There are no shortcuts to the next area due to the districts’ linear design. This can become a real annoyance. Hopefully, the developers patch in fast travel!
The music is definitely the most spectacular feature in No Straight Roads! It features a great mix of Rock and EDM, often combining the two for some unique sounds. Each boss battle features a unique playlist. As the battle goes on, the tracks change and become more and more intense. The instrumentation alters, often featuring more distorted guitars and heavy drums in the later part of the encounter.
As a leader’s health slowly gets depleted, the EDM track that is playing is slowly infused, and then eventually replaced by Rock music, and because you are fighting for the right to rock, this just helps to build the intensity of the fight till the leader is eventually defeated.
It is impossible to overstate just how incredible the tracks in No Straight Roads truly are. Each track sets the perfect tone and atmosphere for each battle as well as in each of the districts. One track in particular even includes the opposition singing exactly what they are going to do. This is both hilarious and absolutely brilliant.
No Straight Roads is definitely worth picking up. It is captivating from the very beginning and an absolute must have for any music lover. Plus, the time investment to finish the story is only about 10 hours. You will definitely sink a tonne more time into the game if you attempt to attain an S rank for every battle. Make sure that you have headphones on, or your speakers loud when you play though, so that you can experience the fantastic soundtrack of No Straight Roads!
Reviewed by Samuel Incze
No Straight Roads is an entertaining and brilliant action-adventure game that never ceases to make us laugh. Filled with some very unique bosses and interesting combat encounters, this title keeps the action going from start right up to the final encounter. No Straight Roads is a fantastic 10-15hr experience that we would definitely recommend!
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Sold-Out Software. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.