No Straight Roads is the debut game of the Malaysian game company Metronomik, created by the minds of the lead game designer of Final Fantasy XV, Wan Hazmer and concept artist of Street Fighter V, Daim Dziauddin.
The game takes place in Vinyl City, where its governing body is the music corporation No Straight Roads (NSR).
The story follows Mayday and Zuke, two members of an indie rock band called “Bunk Bed Junction,” who intends to make rock a relevant genre again by competing in NSR’s Lights Up Auditions, where ambitious music artists audition to have their music be the source of energy for the city through qwasa, which causes music to be transferred into energy.
Musicians that are able to fill the qwasa in the audition to the max are eligible for NSR.
Despite delivering an astonishing performance and delivering the max amount of energy to the qwasa, the judges of the auditions, being members of the NSR, disqualifies them out of unfair bias due to them being a rock band.
Tatiana, the head of NSR, tells the band members that “the age of rock is over” and that the main music genre NSR favors is Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and bans rock from Vinyl City.
Mayday and Zuke then witness a citywide blackout, where the only areas in the city with power through backup energy are those that work with NSR.
Seeing NSR for the corrupt music label they truly are, the duo unites to fight against NSR and the artists who work under them.
No Straight Roads is an action adventure game that is rather unique compared to most other action adventure games.
The game’s main prospect is music, where it even has a rhythm-based combat system in which enemy attacks are based off of audio cues.
Each enemy has unique variations of audio cues to signal an attack that the player must listen to in order to avoid it.
Destroyed enemies allow pickups such as power up energy and music notes which can be used as ammunition for projectile attacks.
Players can choose to play as either Mayday or Zuke and can switch between them during gameplay.
The duo has different playstyles where May focuses more on attack damage with her guitar while Zuke relies on combo attacks with his drums.
In each district, the player must fight through their way to get to the NSR supported artist in charge of the district, who acts as the level’s boss.
The boss battles in the game are each unique in their own way as well as they each have different tactics that must be studied in order to defeat them.
Each boss also has their own music style catering to EDM.
Bosses also have different patterns and phases that change during the battle, some of them being more challenging than the rest.
Just like with enemies in the game, boss battles are based on rhythm and audio cues that the player must listen to in order to tell if a certain attack will be executed, sometimes the boss will attack with pink colored attacks, which can be parried if timed right.
After defeating the boss, the player acquires their platinum disc, which can be used to move to the next district.
Sub bosses in the game include rap battles with Malaysian rapper DK West, where the player must guide through rhythms while avoiding rhythm notes in order to defeat him.
After each district is over, the player is then returned to the sewers, which acts as the games hub where players can modify their weapons and obtain new skills and abilities.
Players can modify the characters weapons by adding mods which can enhance the weapon and stickers which can be found throughout the game that can give temporary power ups and buffs to the weapon.
After defeating each district and its boss, players acquire fans, which depending on the score they reach for defeating each boss, can obtain more fans the higher the score and rank is.
Players can use these fans as currency to purchase new abilities for May, Zuke and even duo abilities.
The game also has offline, two player co-op, so players can bring in a buddy to join the band.
No Straight Roads truly is a unique game that has amazing potential that was developed in three years and for Metronomik’s first game, it delivers that potential.
With a colorful and smooth artstyle, large variety of music, a unique story, likeable characters and “fine-tuned” gameplay, No Straight Roads is worth jamming out on.