No Straight Roads blends rock and EDM into an amazing album that pays tribute to the legends while maintaining a stringent dedication to fueling the neon-soaked gameplay with over-the-top ballads and toe-tapping tunes.
When I first saw the trailer for No Straight Roads, I knew it was a game for me. Neon lights, punk-styled characters, cities that remind me of the grandeur and spectacle of Japan’s greatest cities — the game had it all. Upon playing it, I was a true believer. No Straight Roads both plays and sounds like a dream, creating a fusion of practically everything I love in games as a compilation, if you will.
Dancing through multiple genres ranging from Classical to Future Jazz, there’s plenty to enjoy in this soundtrack. Each track gives a bumping beat to bash enemies to, but also provides a thematic tune that intertwines with the personality of the boss or enemies that you are fighting. As a result, each action is personified by this musical fusion that provides an active soundscape that accentuates each battle, heightening your gameplay to almost a synaesthetic experience.
No Straight Roads seems like a lost game from a previous generation, but it executes the main ideas so well, you can tell that there’s a lot of inspiration used from games from yesteryear to put together this greatest hits game that mashes up multiple games and music types into a polished product. Every track on this album offers an insight into what it’s like to play the game, but you really need to check the game out for yourself, as well. Check out this deep dive into the tracks included on the collector’s edition vinyl and see what the hype is all about:
Main Theme of No Straight Roads
With an electric guitar that delivers a performance worthy of celebration, this kick-off track throws you right into the exciting world of NSR. The rapid riffs and grunge drum beats bring to life a track that personifies the indie rock nature of the game.
Four Plus (The Audition)
While the audition doesn’t go so well for Mayday and Zuke, this track is a proper punk groove with some eclectic guitar work that sends it straight through the stratosphere. The main beat is a wildfire of manic drum work that would make any rock fan raise some horns.
This ‘wave sounding version of the main theme’s melody is a nice down-tempo rendition that offers a contemplative track for introspection. Synths and wailing guitars mix to bring the sound of the ’80s to the track. Good music to study to.
vs DJ Subatomic Supernova
Deep disco never sounded so good. This chirpy Disco track really gets the synths rolling near the end of the track and takes it to another level. If only they had Disco like this in the ‘70s, perhaps the scene would still be alive today.
The K-pop feel in this track may be a direct tribute to Hatsune Miku, but the lyrics lend themselves to the digi-mermaid that Sayu represents. The chorus is a proper ride, with a thick crunchy bass that will rattle your earholes. The rest of the track is an energetic blastoff that never lets go until the final note. I absolutely love both this track and the boss fight that matches it.
Heart of the Prodigy
A soft, short, and sweet piano melody that perfectly encapsulates the sadness and purpose behind the fight against the child prodigy Yinu.
Welcome to the sewers! This track compliments your hideout, where you upgrade your abilities and gear, so is one you’re going to hear a lot. A funky flip between grunge metal and power-rock, this track works well for what it is but may get a bit stale if you leave it on for too long. My favorite part is the steel guitar sound in the middle.
The City Streets
Serious Jet Set Radio vibes here. You can envision the bustling town as you close your eyes and take it all in. Sounds a bit like something that would compliment a funky travel infomercial, if they have those in the future. The jazzy synths get downright funky and deliver a head-bopping tune that will keep you energized as you move between areas.
Gothic choral hits mix with blazing guitars to create an epic showdown track. Could easily have been an instrumental track for Within Temptation. The metal in this track is fast and frantic and brings the running beat up to eleven. Don’t miss this one!
vs DJ Subatomic Supernova (James Landino Remix)
Pump up the jam with this fresh and funky EDM mix of the Subatomic Supernova theme. Very bubbly and chiptastic, this version brings new life to the already energetic track. I love the humming and resonant chirps of this remix, as the lowpass filter really shines at bringing down the tempo to then ramp it up with an even more energetic breakdown.
No matter how you slice it, No Straight Roads is a great game. The full soundtrack even further evidences the fact that the music elevates this game way past a traditional beat-em-up and puts it up there in a special subgenre with the likes of Rez and Beat Saber — both games with killer soundtracks that keep you coming back for more. It’s not perfect, but even after the credits roll, you have an excellent OST that you can listen to over and over again and never tire of. You don’t have to take my word for it, though.
Pick up the soundtrack on Bandcamp or your favorite music service today!