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Going along for the ride with LocoCycle

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Twisted Pixel's LocoCycle stars a sentient motorcycle named I.R.I.S. and her mechanic, Pablo. Although the mechanic is an unwilling participant in the motorcycle's quest for freedom — one who's being dragged along on the road — he isn't just flailing helplessly behind the crazy motorcycle.

The scenario sounds absurd already, and indeed, Twisted Pixel's trademark comedic sensibilities were immediately obvious from the moment a studio representative began our eyes-on demo. You see, I.R.I.S. isn't oblivious to Pablo's presence; it's just that they have very different ideas of the arrangement. When I.R.I.S. decided she didn't want to be a piece of military equipment anymore and busted out of Big Arms, she took Pablo along with her because she figured they were a great partnership. But Pablo actually has a pant leg tangled up with the bike, and he's having a hard time explaining to a robot that being scraped across pavement really hurts.

It might have something to do with the fact that Pablo, voiced by Freddy Rodriguez, only speaks Spanish.

The level we saw took place on a highway running through a canyon in the American southwest. Big Arms agents were in hot pursuit of I.R.I.S., and the Twisted Pixel rep swerved through traffic in an attempt to evade them. Some of the enemies took the form of agents in jetpack suits hovering above the bike; in those situations, I.R.I.S. leaped upward to unleash some aerial melee attacks on them. The attacks are less juggling enemies than jumping from one to the next.

LocoCycle also includes quick-time event sequences, both for I.R.I.S. and Pablo, that the Twisted Pixel rep described as existing to "spice things up." According to the studio, approximately 85 percent of the action puts the player in full control, and quick-time events just serve to break up those segments.

The quick-time event segments are, as in other games, used for big, cinematic action sequences. In one, I.R.I.S. rode along a bridge that a helicopter was firing rockets at, and she drove on as pieces of the bridge blew up behind her. Pablo got into the action when a Big Arms agent flew onto I.R.I.S. — the mechanic took a pipe wrench and whacked at the guy in one section, and in a later sequence, caught a rocket and threw it back at the helicopter to destroy it. In essence, said the Twisted Pixel rep, Pablo is stuck in a tough spot, but since his fate is (literally) tethered to that of I.R.I.S.'s, he's going to do what he can to help fend off her would-be captors.

LocoCycle is set for release in 2013 on the Xbox 360.