No matter how much Travis Touchdown places himself as an utterly unlikeable loser, we cannot help but love him, can we? So SUDA51 is giving us more of him, this time placing him inside a videogame of all places. No really, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes has the player playing a video game about the main character being in a video game.
For those that might have missed out, Travis Strikes Again is set after the second main title and follows Travis to his campervan in the middle of nowhere as he is attacked by Badman, an assassin out for revenge against Travis for the murder of this daughter. When Badman finally tracks him down, the two of them are transported within the video games console, the “Death Drive MK II”.
Travis can navigate through, and survive in for some reason, the Death Drive owing to his Death Glove that he wears, obviously. Now he is trapped within console and needs to play through the six different games inside to obtain the six Death Balls before Badman, and get the final prize – a single wish.
Needless to say, this game doesn’t get any less crazy than this premise. The demo at EGX was short but got the point of the game across in a very short time, with a neon beat-em-up style game against a gloriously retro neon backdrop. The title of the demo level is the wonderfully garish Electric Thunder Tiger, domain of the equally insane Electro Triple Star.
This level simply has the player hacking their way through waves of indistinct foes of varying difficulty, stopping occasionally to shake the Joy-Con to recharge the beam katana (because of course you do). Also, in an unusual twist for No More Heroes, you also have four special abilities on quick select that each have a cooldown timer on them, so it looks and feels a lot like a MOBA in practice.
Also changing in this game is the addition of 2-player co-op, which operates as a drop-in-drop-out system. At any time a second player can join in as Badman to fight alongside Travis. The special abilities of the second player differed slightly in Electric Thunder Tiger, meaning that devastating amounts of damage could be done of the enemies and boss when the two players work together.
In fact, my only gripe with the game at this point is that it could turn out to just be a collection of mini-games. I know that this is what the game is gunning for, even from a conceptual level because SUDA51 is a brilliant mastermind of interesting nonsense; but I wouldn’t want Travis Strikes Again to be a shallow experience because of this, especially because this could be the make or break on the potential of a No More Heroes 3.
Having only played one level, or game, out of the six planned for Travis Strikes Again, it’s hard to make any sort of general call on the aesthetic of the game. But, from what was available, the visuals were absolutely incredible if utterly off-the-wall. All of the gameplay takes place in a bright and colourful set of neon-tinted corridors, all of the narrative plays out across scratchy, static-filled dialogue boxes, Travis Strikes Again (or this level at least) feels like the retro games that it is constantly aping.
Then there’s the humour, which is definitely still present here in spades. This time, the level of fourth wall breaking jovial nonsense has been turned all the way up. In the demo were several instances to Birmingham, to EGX, and referencing how much better the game was since the Gamescom build. It’s stupid, of course it is, but never ceased to place a dumb smirk on my face at the sheer gall of SUDA51 on display here.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, if it lives up to how wonderfully dumb and enjoyable this demo was, will please fans of the series a lot and likely bring in a whole new host of fans of Travis and his antics. The concept behind the game might be odd, and the execution even more so, but the final product looks to be anything but bite-sized.
What do you think of this side outing of Travis Touchdown? Will you be picking this title up, or has it not piqued your interest? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter!
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