Rhythm games can be hard to get into for people who prefer shooters and action-adventure titles, but No Straight Roads aims to bridge the gap between those corners of the gaming industry. Developed by Metronomik (a new studio co-founded by Wan Hazmer), No Straight Roads is set in a place called Vinyl City and sees the player attempt to take on the NSR label as they fight EDM music with Rock. It's the type of game you would expect to see from Devolver Digital... in a good way.
Playing as Mayday and Zuke, players are tasked with progressing through the story and defeating various bosses, using whatever attack and dodge abilities they can master along the way. As seen in No Straight Roads' E3 trailer, Mayday plays the guitar, whereas Zuke plays the drums, and they both have different types of attacks. Swapping them out, especially in battle, is ultimately necessary to win in the end. No Straight Roads' isn't overly easy or difficult, but it is challenging at times. During a boss fight, players will have to understand the rhythm because that's what appears to determine the boss' attack. Plus, overcoming the hurdles requires some skill in puzzle-solving, even though you're not exactly solving puzzles.
From our brief hands-on demo with No Straight Roads, we discovered that it's not as fine-tuned as other rhythm games and it hasn't struck the right balance between action and music for casual players just yet. However, it's certainly on the right track. No Straight Roads is intriguing enough as a concept to consider trying out, and it's undeniably fun as a whole. Getting into the... rhythm of it all may take some time, but No Straight Roads opens up once players do so.
What's great about No Straight Roads is that it presents the best of both worlds for action-heavy players and those who like a good rhythm game. It's not as hyper-focused on keeping up with the rhythm as other music-based titles, but striking at the right point in the song does matter from time to time. Furthermore, players who just want an action game but with a great soundtrack to boot, No Straight Roads allows for that as well. But perhaps the most appealing aspect is that, despite its inherent placement of EDM as the opposition, the game incorporates both genres of music without disparaging one or the other (at least from what we saw in our hands-on demo).
Continuing off that aspect, if people pay close attention, they'll notice that Rock starts to win out in the end once EDM bosses are defeated. It's a nice touch to go along with the story, and that's partly what's special about No Straight Roads. Instead of being another quirky game with a great soundtrack, it's attempting to subvert rhythm games without diverting too far from what makes them engaging in the first place. And since a sequel isn't in the cards at this stage, if you ever wanted a spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio but with more action elements involved, then No Straight Roads is most likely the game for you.