Stepping into the colourful, vibrant world of Vinyl City is a treat. A crazy, dystopian metropolis powered by “evil” EDM music from corporation NSR, No Straight Roads makes a spectacular first impression. Mayday and Zuke comprise rock band Bunk Bed Junction, and it’s up to you to bring rock back into the world. With a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, you have to plough your way through the DJs of each district in the city, alternating between light exploration elements and some hack-'n'-slash gameplay. The real star is the boss fights, though.
With heavy emphasis placed on attacks to the beat of the music, all of the boss fights – of which there are six, plus two optional encounters – are inventive and great fun. While you can ignore the rhythm if you want, the game truly shines when you pay extra attention to it during boss fights. Bunk Bed Junction has to face off against a variety of different musicians, starting with a fairly basic DJ before moving on to things like a piano savant or a fully synthetic boy band. The sheer fun of these fights paired with the vibrancy of the world reminded us of Double Fine at its best on multiple occasions.
Unfortunately, everything surrounding these boss fights feels a little half-baked. The light exploration we mentioned is basically a dozen small areas, with one or two for each boss. There are collectibles and secrets around, but the in-game rewards for finding these things doesn’t feel worth it. This is particularly problematic as many of the secrets need late-level unlocks to access, and the threshold to reach them requires massive amounts of grinding.
Luckily, the grinding is centred on replaying the boss fights, easily the strongest feature of the game, but now with new modifiers and difficulties. The problem is, by the time you’re ready for that, there’s not really any reason to stick around. Everything surrounding the boss fights hovers around mediocrity. Secrets feel strewn about without any real plan, jumping is finicky, and many of the rewards are just lines of text. After the game’s six-hour runtime – a rather short duration given the price point – there’s relatively little we found ourselves wanting to revisit. Ultimately the result is a fun world, with fun characters that absolutely nails its boss fights, but settles for adequacy on all other fronts. As the first game from a new team, it’s not bad, though.