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Review: LocoCycle — Hell on Wheels

LocoCycle tries to embrace the "so bad, it's good" school of campy game design, but lacks the heart and conviction necessary to do so.

Dragging along

Graphics and art

The graphics in "LocoCycle" are one of its few high points, although this could just be because the rest of the game sets the bar so low. Each level is almost identical in layout — a straightforward stretch of highway with occasional off-road sections — although at least the levels look fairly different, from the sunny straightaways of Mexico to the red rocks of Oklahoma and beyond.

The vehicles themselves, save for I.R.I.S. and S.P.I.K.E., are nondescript and are mostly just there to clutter up the road and make it harder to navigate from one enemy encounter to the next.

The game also fails to demonstrate what makes the Xbox One so powerful. "LocoCycle" is bright and colorful, and the frame rate is smooth, but there's nothing here that wouldn't look almost as good on the Xbox 360.

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The cut scenes are live-action affairs, complete with D-list celebrities (like Tom Savini and James Gunn) and enough cheese to stock a Wisconsin supermarket. They prove more obnoxious than charming.

Music and sound

The music and sound effects in "LocoCycle" are fine, although instantly forgettable. What's harder to ignore is the voice acting. Lisa Foiles of "All That" and The Escapist fame does her very best as I.R.I.S., but even she can't compete with a dreary script and a cast that, in general, sounds very bored.

A lot of the dull voice acting can be chalked up to a script that's not nearly as funny as it thinks it is. Either way, though, expect lots of inane commentary from I.R.I.S., a lot of screaming from Pablo, and nothing to write home about from anyone else.

The bottom line

"LocoCycle" would be a slapdash game on any system, but the fact that it's launching alongside the Xbox One adds insult to injury. If the grating characters and lazy racism don't gall you, then the repetitive, careless gameplay almost certainly will.

What's even more upsetting is that Twisted Pixel has produced truly excellent games in the past, from the frantic platformer "'Splosion Man" to "The Gunstringer," a spaghetti Western with motion-controlled puppets. Fans of the company's previous work had every reason to expect "LocoCycle" would live up to Twisted Pixel's high standards.

Gamers should steer clear of "LocoCycle;" it's easier than trying to steer I.R.I.S.

Developer: Twisted Pixel
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 11/22/13 (Xbox One) / TBA (Xbox 360)
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360

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Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

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