Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / No Straight Roads

Go To
Start a rock band... end the EDM empire.
Mayday: We're not stopping 'til we claim our fame!
Zuke: And bring change to the system.
Mayday: Yeah, that too.

Vinyl City. A groovy, colorful, rocking place for music and artists everywhere literally powered by music, where you are free to express yourself however you wish—until the oppressive record label No Straight Roads (NSR for short) came, taking over the city with their vast financial resources and influence, doing everything it can to restrict and crush all other forms of music except for their artists and EDM.

Enter Bunk Bed Junction, an indie rock-duo comprising guitarist/singer "Mayday" and drummer "Zuke." Outraged and frustrated by NSR's predatory practices, they vow to crash their megastars' concerts and performances and defeat them, take down their CEO, Tatiana, and free their city and its people with The Power of Rock!

No Straight Roads is a rhythm-based action-adventure video game developed by Malaysian independent studio Metronomik and published by Sold Out. The core of the gameplay revolves around its soundtrack, enemies, and attacks all timed to the beat of the music, and the protagonists fighting them by firing notes like bullets, transforming props and objects into machine-guns and useful devices by playing epic solos, or simply smacking them with their instrument.

It released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Epic Games Store (as a timed exclusive) on August 25th, 2020. On the first anniversary of the game's initial release, it was announced that the game would receive an Updated Re-release on Steam as No Straight Roads: Encore Edition, which released on October 21st, 2021.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abbey Road Crossing: One of the trailers has a shot of a poster for 1010 where they're in this pose against a minimalist background.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The base of operations for Bunk Bed Junction, that's large enough to hold multiple rooms that are unlocked through game progress. Most prominent besides the main room are a workshop to modify their instruments and a concert area serving as a skill shop. It also has a shaft big and empty enough to park a helicopter.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • You'll find names all over the place, from Barbara to Tatiana to GiGi to Zed to Zuke to Mayday.
    • Played for laughs in Yinu's promo, where she mentions having three toys named Alice, Puddles, and General Stragovich. Even the narrator is briefly puzzled at that last name.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: During the game's last playable segment, B2J have to revisit each of the districts they conquered to give power back to the megastars so that they can all stop the satellite from falling onto the city.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Barely any of the characters have a conventional skin hue. For starters, Mayday's skin is bright orange while Zuke's is green.
  • And Then What?: As Tatiana points out, Mayday doesn't actually have a plan for what to do when NSR are successfully ousted, nor does she have any idea what to do about all the alienated EDM-loving citizens, the hundreds of NSR employees who'll be left jobless in the wake of the rock revolution, or how to run Vinyl City. It helps Mayday to realize that Bunk Bed Junction are becoming just as bad as NSR.
  • Antagonist Title: The title refers to the record label that's put a stranglehold on Vinyl City's musical talent, NSR.
  • Art Evolution: An In-Universe example with the collectibles earned from the Sayu battle. The first is a piece of Sayu fan art created by her soon-to-be voice actress Tila, which is fairly crude and mostly seems to serve as a way for her to live out her fantasy of confessing to her crush at school. This version of Sayu is also depicted as a human and not a mermaid. The second is a drawing of Sayu by her creator and illustrator, Remi, which is obviously leagues above Tila's work, but also features a significantly different design for Sayu. The third and final collectible is another drawing by Tila, featuring the finalized design of Sayu along with her, Remi, Dodo and Sofa celebrating getting signed by NSR. While still not as good as Remi's work, she has vastly improved in the three years between her first drawing and this one.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Only the best musicians are granted a Platinum Record by NSR. Those records give the owner complete control over a district of Vinyl City as that district's Charter. By hijacking the Megastars' shows, Bunk Bed Junction claim the records and so take over the city one district at a time.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Many of the melee skills and mods aren't as useful as they could be given a lack of goons to fight and the fact that most bosses keep themselves at a distance from the protagonists.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The third DK West encounter starts off with him and Zuke arguing, as the last two began, and West once again challenges Zuke to a rap battle. Mayday steps in and takes the challenge instead. Then a double whammy after West's first verse; the gameplay proceeds as normal, but the crowd chant is replaced by Mayday's verse, which doesn't diss West at all and compliments him instead.
  • Big Bad: Tatiana, the CEO of NSR and prime charter of Vinyl City, is the one leading the movement against musical creativity in the city by promoting her label's top artists in any means necessary.
  • Big Blackout: One happens after the tutorial, just as Zuke says that NSR is doing a good job governing the city. The fact that the reserve energy is being used only for the megastars only inspires Mayday and Zuke to fight back. As it turns out, the blackout was going to happen anyway, but Tatiana's bias against rock only made things worse.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The name of the power-supplying Qwasa devices is derived from the Malay word kuasa, which means "power".
    • Yinu's BAKAT awards get their name from the Malay word for "talent".
    • Lukisanart, the website where Sayu's creators posted art of her before making it big, derives part of its name from the Malay word for "art".
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Any cutscene with DK West is this, since he mostly speaks Malay when he isn't rapping, with occasional bits of English peppered in. The other characters have no trouble understanding him, so they continue to speak English while West speaks Malay. Zuke also occasionally slips into Malay during scenes with West, usually whenever West particularly gets on his nerves.
  • Bittersweet Ending: After beating Tatiana and learning she was Kul Fyra, Kliff has the satellite crash into NSR's tower to get rid of EDM. This forces Mayday and Zuke to team up with Tatiana and return control back to NSR's megastars. After all of Vinyl City is saved, Mayday's guitar is broken and she realizes that her revolution was misguided and made her lose sight of why she wanted to play. It ends with Tatiana giving her her guitar and them continuing to play, along with NSR welcoming all forms of music.
  • Black Comedy: Neon J., an actual war vet, ends up going full Shell-Shocked Veteran after his defeat. It's all Played for Laughs as he winds up going on such a long tangent that Mayday and Zuke end up losing interest and just walk away.
  • Blatant Lies: Tatiana disqualifies Bunk Bed Junction at the Light's On audition and denounces rock music as a dead genre and useless to Vinyl City. On the walk home, Zuke and Mayday see their performance on TV which shows that their musical skill was powerful enough to nearly max out the Qwasa meter contestants are judged by. In a setting where music is used to make energy, Bunk Bed Junction's performance means they would objectively be an asset to the city.
  • Both Order and Chaos are Dangerous: Absolute Order corrupts absolutely, as NSR has cracked down on freedom of individuality (especially Rock music) in favor of mass-produced crap, it has had constant infrastructure problems that have lasted for years, and its leaders vomit out content while ignoring their growing mental baggage and how it negatively affects their fans. But at the end of the game, Bunk Bed Junction's unrestricted chaos allows the Loony Fans to riot en-masse and nearly tear down the city by destroying its infrastructure because it happens to be made by a megacorporation - in this case, one angry Kliff decides to take his revenge with a Colony Drop, ignoring the collateral damage in Vinyl City itself. Mayday and Tatiana both acknowledge this at the end and find a middle ground.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: On one hand, NSR not only put a ban on all rock music, stifling any creativity, individuality, and self-expression, but they also made it so that only their elites get backup power during any city-wide blackouts. On the other hand, Bunk Bed Junction instigates their 'musical revolution' by hijacking other artists' concerts and beating them up, as well as venting their personal grievances against EDM. Not only do Tatiana and Mayday bring these points up before their fight, but Tatiana also regards how hundreds of NSR employees will be put out of work after the revolution and that Mayday has no plan on what to do afterwards, not to mention all their revolution will do is alienate all the people who genuinely love EDM. However, Mayday also calls Tatiana out on how she banned rock music just to make her Kul Fyra persona that much easier to forget. Both sides do concede the other's point at the end and reach a compromise.
  • Boy Band: 1010, composed of five androids with K-pop style haircuts.
  • Breather Episode: The battle with 1010 is noticeably much more comedic in tone compared to the more dramatic narratives running through the previous battle with Yinu and the subsequent battle with Eve. Even Neon J.'s breakdown at the end is Played for Laughs.
  • Brick Joke: When Mayday and Zuke first crash DJ Subatomic Supernova's concert, he proceeds to compare their "irrelevance" to former planet Pluto. Later, after the boss fight ends with Mayday and Zuke literally sending DJSS flying...
    Mayday: And Pluto is still relevant! You hear me?! (Beat; to Zuke) What's a Pluto, anyway?
    • And then later on, at the very end of the game, for the final district returned to the megastars:
    DJ Subatomic Supernova: You Plutonians are not so bad, after all.
  • But Thou Must!: After defeating a boss, the sewers exits will be blocked until the player goes to the briefing room to learn about the next NSR artist they need to take down.
  • Character Select Forcing: The fight with Eve greatly encourages the player to use Zuke for the majority of the fight and Mayday only when necessary. There are fewer attacks on his side and the timing is less aggressive. Zuke's transformations would be more useful as the decoys help redirect attacks compared to Mayday's Turrets which would most likely miss given how Eve will move sides if you linger. Zuke's playstyle also appears to be more suited for the fight, being faster and easier to dodge her early Zerg Rush and fast barrage of attacks. Given how the two have a history together, it would make sense he'd be the one to get more involved in the fight.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Before the fight with DJ Subatomic Supernova, he's berating a subordinate for failing to launch a satellite. The satellite makes several more appearances, showing the rankings for various artists in Vinyl City and how Bunk Bed Junction is climbing up the charts. It ends up being the central piece to Kliff's revenge scheme.
  • Colony Drop: During the climax, Kliff tries to drop a satellite onto Vinyl City, which could've killed thousands had Bunk Bed Junction and the NSR artists not stopped it.
  • Crosshair Aware: Crosshairs appear on the ground whenever an airborne attack is about to land. What you need to do varies on color. If red, dodge. If pink, you can parry it.
  • Cyberspace: Fittingly for a Virtual Celebrity, Sayu's concert is set in a virtual stage complete with Tron Lines when her creative team's editor cranks down the darkness.
  • Dark Reprise: The final level of the game features darker, rock versions of the Megastars' theme music, as Mayday and Zuke race against time to give control of the districts back to the Megastars before a satellite crashes into Vinyl City and kills everyone.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The name of the website Lukisanart partially derives from the Malay word lukisan, which means art.
  • Disco Tech: Vinyl City is powered by devices called Qwasas, which convert sound waves into electricity. The city's main source of power is the Grand Qwasa, a large device located in Festival Plaza, and artists regularly perform for it to power the city.
  • Double Jump: Unlike most games, the player doesn't have this as part of the default moveset and has to unlock it via upgrades.
  • The Dragon: Eve serves as Tatiana's right-hand woman.
  • Duet Bonding: At the end of Yinu's boss fight, when she starts playing on one half of her broken piano, her mother calms down from her violent rage, shrinks to a more normal size, and joins her on the other half of the piano. This makes Yinu smile at her for the first time since early in the fight, showing that their relationship is likely to be on the mend from here.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Most bosses have a section where B2J go up against a bunch of NSR robot mooks, and there's usually some platforming involved, and both the enemies and the platforming are timed to a beat. These sections are usually pretty simple and don't take too long to get through, but the bosses are the star of the show, with multiple phases, multiple tracks, and they really test the player's skills on timing and parrying.
  • Evil Overlooker: The cover art for the game has silhouettes of Tatiana and her megastars (and DK West) looming over Bunk Bed Junction.
  • Experience Points: The closest thing, being used as currency to purchase skills, is the fanbase of Bunk Bed Junction. Fans are earned after successfully completing concert hijackings, pirate radio broadcasts, or restoring power to various fixtures throughout the districts. As more fans are acquired, higher-tier skills become available.
  • Finishing Move: To finish off each boss, Bunk Bed Junction perform a Showstopper, which has them use their instruments together to fire a massive blob of blue energy at the boss. And at the very end, Bunk Bed Junction perform a Showstopper not just backed by the Grand Qwasa, but by all the NSR Megastars joining in to help repel Kliff's Colony Drop.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The whole confrontation against Tatiana qualifies as this.
    • When Kliff briefs Bunk Bed Junction about Tatiana, he tells them that her weakness is her past. Considering that Kliff had met Tatiana (or more accurately, Kul Fyra) personally before unlike Mayday and Zuke, it can't be any more accurate. At the end of said briefing, there's also a short scene where Mayday looks at Kul Fyra's poster and reaffirms that she's doing all of this in her hero's name, completely unaware of just how relevant Kul Fyra is to Tatiana.
    • As her HP drops, the murals of the NSR artists fall down and the music becomes more and more rock-like. When her HP drops to a low level, the background becomes a rock stage with "The Goolings" printed on its monitor; during her final phase, she becomes coated in magma in a way similar to Kul Fyra's poster, which itself appears on the rock stage's screen at one point.
    • Last but not least, after defeating Tatiana, the crown used to power her battlefield is actually Kul Fyra's guitar. Sure enough, much to Mayday's shock, Tatiana was Kul Fyra, she's just left bewildered since she had not met Kul Fyra personally before she took over the city with an iron fist as Tatiana.
  • Flashy Protagonists, Bland Extras: Many of the plot-relevant characters have very distinctive designs and silhouettes, from Bunk Bed Junction to the Megastars, with all interact-able NPCs having unique skin-colors and designs as well, while crowd shots tend to favor silhouetted or gray individuals, and non-interactive NPCs in the overworld being gray.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are quite a few hints about Tatiana being Kul Fyra.
      • Tatiana angrily puts down Mayday in the end of the tutorial after Mayday accuses her of not knowing anything about rock. Notably, it's Mayday accusing her of never holding a guitar in her life that prompts said speech. She certainly would know about rock having been a rock star herself.
      • When discussing Kul Fyra, Kliff makes a comment how she didn't need to change. Hinting that Kul Fyra is still around as a different person. Which also hints at his inability to accept what Kul Fyra became.
      • One of the interviews has Mayday mention her glove is fingerless because the full glove messed with her fret work. Tatiana also has fingerless gloves, which seems to just be a fashion choice at first glance but might be Tatiana subconsciously falling back into old habits from when she was a guitar player.
    • After beating DJ Subatomic Supernova, Mayday states to Tatiana that their fight is to claim their fame and bring back rock. Zuke has to remind her that they're trying to fix the system. It's the first clue that Mayday's Idiot Hero tendencies would almost cause a Full-Circle Revolution.
    • When Mayday is first contacted by Kliff via phone, Zuke wonders how he got her phone number. This both hints at Kliff's ability with hacking, and the fact he's not what he seems.
    • As you beat more and more of NSR's Megastars, you can see that their districts have been vandalized in Bunk Bed Junction's name. Turns out, their "fans" do more harm than good in the Final Showdown, having taken control of NSR's mechs and blocking most of the districts to keep NSR out, even while a flaming satellite is crashing into NSR's tower.
    • During the news report after Bunk Bed Junction defeat Sayu, one of the news ribbons includes a mention of Tatiana denying rumors that the energy output is only at 47 percent. Which really is the case, as the climax reveals.
    • Doubling as Meaningful Foreground Event, during the first battle with DK West, one of his lines is about a girl called Nadia he and Zuke knew in college. His attacks the first time he mentions her conspicuously spell "EVE", hinting at the connection between them way before the actual reveal.
      • On that note, the fact Tatiana was aware DK West and Zuke were brothers when she summons the former to hinder Bunk Bed Junction's progress indicates someone she knows is acquainted with them. DK West remarks when seeing Eve that he hasn't forgotten about her.
    • After beating every Megastar and reaching the number 1 spot on Vinyl City's Top Chart, the NSR satellite's monitor suddenly changes into "ROCK RULES!" It's Kliff hijacking it for his Colony Drop plan.
  • Friendly Enemy: Most of the time, Mayday heckles the NSR artists that she and Zuke go up against, although there are two that she becomes fond of.
    • Mayday becomes a fan of Sayu in the process of fighting her, wanting to pinch her cheeks, calling her cute, and even reciting one of her own catchphrases. After it's revealed that Sayu's creative team consists of four kids, she really admires their talent and tells them to stay out of the fight and stay in school. And to never have Sayu take the reverse mermaid form ever again.
    • Mayday then goes utterly gaga for 1010, fangirling over them after they flirt with her. She's then distressed once their chassis are blown apart revealing their metal skeletons, but at the end, she's still reluctant to use their Showstopper on them.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: No matter how you slice it, Mayday's impulsive crusade against NSR by pushing out its megastars mirrors how NSR rejected Bunk Bed Junction's performance in the first place. Tatiana also points out that their actions will set a bad example for the residents of Vinyl City: opposing parties that don't get their way will simply resort to violence to solve the problem instead of diplomacy. She realizes how dangerously close Bunk Bed Junction was to becoming the new NSR when Kliff has NSR's satellite fall on NSR's tower in order to establish rock's dominance over Vinyl City.
    Mayday: Wait-We're the new NSR!? Holy crap why didn't I see this sooner!?
  • Gainax Ending: While its stakes, symbolism, and overall narrative are rather clear, the cavalcade of weirdness that occurs during the final act including Tatiana inexplicably having the power to manipulate time, a helicopter being piloted by an alligator, the NSR artists becoming giants after getting their districts back, and the NSR tower functioning as both a giant metronome and an enormous robot fist all happens with little explanation or comment.
  • Gameplay Grading: At the end of each boss battle, the player's performance will be graded in accordance with how much time they took, how much damage they took, the highest combo they reached, and the amount of attacks successfully parried. The higher the grade, the more fans you earn for your efforts, which go from C(ool), B(est), A(wesome) to S(haka-laka-bam).
  • Game Within a Game: In the sewer base, Mayday and Zuke have an arcade machine that can actually be played called Master Wolfe, which is a rhythm based shoot 'em up kind of game.
  • Gatling Good: Mayday is able to turn the stage props into gatling turrets by playing music near them.
  • Gimmick Level:
    • DK West's boss fights are more straightforward rhythm game segments, with Bunk Bed Junction being able to attack DK West after passing a verse.
    • The final level of the game features Mayday and Zuke having to turn the meter to EDM rather than rock, to give control of the sectors back to the Megastars to help them stop the satellite.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: Bunk Bed Junction were wrongly snubbed at Light's Up Audition, and believe that NSR is responsible for the city wide blackouts, which makes their plight sympathetic, but they're also effectively staging a coup against an important part of the city partially due to disagreeing with their music choices. NSR itself is what's keeping the city running, and the Megastars aren't particularly bad people, but the company also hogs resources and is incredibly restrictive to up-and-coming artists. NSR is also genuinely trying to stop the blackouts, but can't, mainly due to Tatiana's restrictive nature stemmed from the fallout of her past mistakes. The finale of the game ultimately involves Bunk Bed Junction and NSR deciding to put aside their differences to stop Kliff from killing potentially thousands of people due to his fanaticism, which also allows both sides to realize that it was wrong to vilify the other over their musical preferences.
  • Harder Than Hard: The game has three difficulty levels above Normal and Hard: Crazy, Parry and Perfect Parry. Crazy is the next step up from Hard, where bosses are even more aggressive and hard-hitting, attacking far more frequently. Parry is a special setting where transformable objects and most means of directly attacking bosses are taken away, leaving the only reliable way of hurting them to be parrying projectiles back at them. And Perfect Parry is largely the same as Parry, but with the added caveat for the player that one hit from anything means death.
  • Heel Realization: After defeating her, Zuke apologizes to Nadia for leaving her without breaking up with her face-to-face, acknowledging he was a coward for running away.
  • Holiday Mode: No Straight Roads: Christmas Edition, a free update released in December, makes everything in the game Christmas themed, with Mayday, Zuke and the Megastars gaining new outfits themed around the holidays, as well as the music getting new mixes to fit the holiday season.
  • Homing Projectile: The player character picks up notes off the level and is then able to shoot them. These projectiles will then home in on the closest target.
  • Hong Kong Dub: The Japanese dub notably struggles to match the mouth movements (and occasionally body language) of the characters during in-engine cutscenes.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Observing the Radio (Siren) Tower explains that they were built for citywide announcements. Now they only play NSR promos and music day and night. Zuke remarks that they're practically background noise to him now.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • Yinu's final phase has its own unique remix of her battle theme, not included on the soundtrack either as part of her full theme or by itself. It's about a minute long, but the phase it plays during is only about thirty seconds, and due to the fact that running towards the goal is done automatically during that phase, there's no way to wait around to let it play for longer.
    • While every boss fight has hybrid rock and EDM versions of the themes that mix depending on how you're doing in the stage, these, along with unique remixes, are unlocked when you beat stages and available to be used as the stage's theme on their own on any replay. However, there are also completely unique and much more complex drum (Zuke) and guitar (Mayday) tracks, which are only played when using the transform action. They're in sync with whichever song is playing, and they're fully-fledged tracks, but since transforming an object takes less than 5 seconds, you'd have to intentionally hold the button down longer to hear more. The same applies for certain bosses, such as 1010, who have voicelines or sound effects that play in sync with the tracks, but aren't included in any of the actual officially released songs.
  • Loony Fan:
    • As you claim more districts from NSR and provide more power to areas that need it, more and more fans will join your cause by defacing NSR-owned territories in the name of The Power of Rock. That's not a good thing, as it foreshadows how far the rock fans are willing to go to bring down NSR and their EDM empire, even if it means getting in the way of the only means of stopping a satellite from crashing into the city.
    • Exemplified by Kliff. He was a gigantic fan of Kul Fyra and rock back in the day, pouring his heart and soul into supporting her, and was crushed when her band broke up and she became Tatiana and turned to EDM instead. His support of B2J was all to knock Tatiana off her perch and prove that rock is superior, and when she still won't give him the time of day, he triggers the aforementioned satellite drop.
  • Made of Iron: Everyone. The aftermath cutscenes of the various bosses tends to show them as well as the player characters beat up, bruised, and even cut all over, and DJ Subatomic Supernova is hit so hard that he's launched into orbit, while at one point Mayday and Zuke crash onto the ground after what seems like a 300-foot fall. Yet all that damage just leaves them annoyed or frustrated more than anything if that much, no hospital visits or even rest stops needed afterwards. This includes Yinu, a nine-year old, who's just distressed about her broken piano instead of the bruises on her face. Neon J gets his cyborg face monitor broken but it's quickly shown that his death throes is just him being purposefully melodramatic after he cuts the act to get mad at Bunk Bed Junction. The closest thing to a lasting injury that the victim actually cares about is Kliff getting a broken nose which persists later on, and even that's all he got after landing on his head from a hit that sent him flying. Physical damage seems to be only a minor annoyance in the game's world although an orbital satellite crashing down on everyone probably exceeds that tolerance.
  • Magic Music: Possibly the source of everyone's unexplained supernatural abilities. Maybe.
  • Magical Realism: The game starts with a rather digestible science-fiction conceit of a city powered by music. Then bosses start spontaneously transforming into singularities and giant spiders without much comment.
  • Medium Blending: The media broadcasts are done in 2D animation, while the rest of the cutscenes are animated using the in-game models.
  • Mickey Mousing: Enemy attacks follow the beat of the music.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: In the final level Kliff desperately tries to convince you to not to destroy the generators, at one point even attempting to convince you to stand in the enemies' attacks.
  • Morton's Fork: The entire conflict comes down to this: Bunk Bed Junction's actions cause chaos and has terrible results including riots...but at the same time, had nothing happened, Titiana's fixation with order and refusal to allow freedom of creativity was both an unhealthy system, ignored the mental problems of her Megastars, and made the system far more inefficient than it needed to be to the point of causing infrastructure problems that just kept growing. On top of it, several of the Megastars have very serious unresolved psychological issues (Yinu and her mother's relationship most prominently and Eve's mental problems). So while Bunk Bed Junction's actions were poorly thought out and wrong, the established system was unsustainable and also would've had bad consequences down the line. Both Mayday and Tatiana acknowledge this in the end, coming to a middle ground that better serves everyone.
  • Music Is Politics: The message of the game is that the music industry is harsh and brutal to the unprepared, naive artist. While it doesn't have to become something evil or exploitative, it will become so if left unchecked, especially if it takes hold of people who don't have it in their minds that stardom isn't all it's cracked up to be. None of the game's bosses are truly evil people, but their respective reputations have become so large that it has corrupted and taken hold of their egos (like DJ Subatomic Supernova), their inner demons (Eve), their artistic integrity (Sayu's creative team) or even their familial bonds (Yinu and her mother)
  • Nightmare Face: Bunk Bed Junction's fans try to make giant, metal totem poles in the likeness of Mayday and Zuke. Despite their best intentions, they're not at all flattering, and their idols wind up having to fight them to stop Kliff during the finale.
  • No-Gear Level: The "Parry" difficulty modes remove all transformable items in boss fights and restrict certain skills such as the ones that provide musical note ammunition to force the player to rely on melee attacks and parries exclusively.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The player becomes this on Perfect Parry difficulty. A single hit from anything is a one-way trip back to the start of the battle.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Sayu, the virtual idol, is a mermaid. In her boss fight, her creators end up turning her into a reverse mermaid, that is, a fish head on top and human legs on the bottom. It doesn't last though.
  • Pluto Is Expendable: DJ Subatomic Supernova compares Bunk Bed Junction to Pluto as a way of saying their music style is no longer relevant. Mayday is quite affronted, even though she has to ask Zuke what Pluto is.
  • The Power of Rock: Literally, one of the early cutscenes indicates that part of the reason music is such Serious Business in Vinyl City is because they use devices called "Qwasas" that convert sound vibrations into electricity. One of Mayday's first clues there was something wrong at the audition was that they were disqualified despite powering the Qwasa to almost full capacity. In addition, it's implied all the crazy powers both they and the Megastars use come from their musical talent. It turns out that it was because of Tatiana's personal bias against rock that she disqualified them. Unlike most examples of this trope, it also turns out that rock and EDM are actually completely equal in power output rather that rock being a superior form of power.
  • Propaganda Piece: Invoked by the Boss trailers, which are styled as NSR commercials presenting the artists in a good light: for instance, they make Yinu look like an Innocent Prodigy, show DJ Subatomic Supernova giving a rousing speech about music, and even have 1010 host a vlog where they give a tour of Vinyl City.
  • Regenerating Health: Damage taken by Zuke or Mayday will grey-out a part of your health bar, whilst also removing a smaller one. The greyed-out parts will regenerate slowly while you're controlling the second character, encouraging you to switch between them frequently. The "removed" bits can only be healed by picking up junk food items, which will also instantly heal a large portion of the normally slow to regenerate grey bits.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Bunk Bed Junction's idea of "fighting back" against NSR is by crashing into their megastars' performances and beat them up with The Power of Rock, which amasses quite a number of fans, as shown with the graffiti all over. This is deconstructed, as during "The Final Showdown", as you race back to give district control back to NSR's megastars, Bunk Bed Junction's fans will have completely taken over the district, building weapons that look like Mayday and Zuke, NSR robots graffitied to have their colors, and blocking the way with signs of worship. This is all bad, as it shows the dark side of Loony Fans and their "dedication" to an artist's work, even when there's a satellite about to crash into an "oppressive empire". Kliff was right when he said that their fans would stop them.
  • Rule of Cool: In the finale, Ellie, B2J's pet alligator, is somehow capable of flying a helicopter, and carries the two to the various districts to give power back to the megastars. Said megastars also turn giant for some reason, and NSR tower turns into a giant metronome and robot hand to swat away the falling satellite. None of this is given any explanation, but it's just freakin' cool.
  • Rule of Symbolism: There is so much in the boss fight against Yinu. During the portions when Mayday and Zuke have to fight, Yinu's piano is suspended over them by strings via Yinu's mother. When the battle escalates, the mother's dubstep theme overshadows Yinu's classic piano music, as the former takes over for the latter. Finally, there's the size of Yinu's mother. Throughout the fight, she's a looming giantess who hardly pays any attention to her own daughter's pleas. After the fight, when her daughter's sad piano music calms her down, the mother shrinks down to the size of a normal woman and starts playing. This signifies she's now humbled and has decided to play alongside her daughter as an equal and a mother.
  • Serious Business: Music is this due to it literally powering the setting via devices that absorb sound vibrations called Qwasas, and it's implied most of the characters powers come from their musical talent as well (as well as Eve's artistic talent). The Big Blackout is revealed to have been the unintentional result of Tatiana limiting the music that can be played to EDM due to her personal bias against rock, and furthermore, Kliff takes this up to eleven in a completely different direction, when it's revealed that he never cared about the energy crisis; he just wanted to prove that rock was better than EDM and kicking out both it and Tatiana due to her change of career and music choice, going so far as to drop NSR's satellite on their tower to re-establish rock's dominance over Vinyl City. It's this act that makes Mayday realize that they've become the very thing they stood against, and it ends with NSR being saved and reworked by Tatiana and her megastars as to not only allow EDM, but all kinds of music, which finally ends the blackouts.
  • Ship Tease:
    • When confronting Sayu and stating she isn't real, Sayu claims to be as real "as [their] love for each other" to Bunk Bed Junction's shock. When Sayu insists she can tell their feelings and encourages Zuke to embrace his, Zuke starts rambling about "many factors to consider" before Mayday changes the subject. While it should be noted Sayu's a self-admitted Love Freak, Zuke doesn't outright deny Sayu's claim either.
    • Zuke keeps his cool at the beginning of the 1010 fight up until Mayday starts crushing on them, at which point he freaks out and demands to know what 1010 did to her. Later, when Neon J's factory malfunctions and blows 1010's faces off, Mayday is upset that they're "no longer handsome and sexy and gentlemanly", to which Zuke just says, "Good."
  • Shoot the Television: Both Mayday and Tatiana punch their TVs at one point, usually whenever one sees the other on the news. Both even have their partners saying, "Great, you owe me a new TV."
  • Shout-Out: So, so many
    Mayday: Baby don't hurt me?
    Zuke: No more...
    • Retdex's pose in his dialogue artwork is taken straight from the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Torture Dance.
    • The album covers for 1010 and Eve seem to reference real-life albums.
      • 1010's image of them walking one behind the other with open legs references the album Abbey Road
      • Eve's avant-garde album of two faces in profile looking at each other is likely a reference to The Division Bell
    • Showstoppers are preceded with cut-ins of the characters' eyes, which look very similar to the cut-ins from Persona 5 that appear when a party member gets a critical hit or strikes an enemy's weakness.
  • Stealth Pun: In the final phase of 1010's fight, Neon J initiates an "All-Kill Protocol", which at first sounds like a generic threatening command, but is actually a reference to a term used in K-pop, when a song tops all the major charts.
  • Systematic Villain Takedown: The game's story format follows the heroes taking down the 5 Megastars one by one before taking on Tatiana.
  • Tempting Fate: While Mayday is on a tear about NSR banning rock from all their future auditions because of Bunk Bed Junction, Zuke tries to calm her down by saying that she can't deny that they're doing a good job of running the city, jerks or no. Cue the Big Blackout.
    Mayday: Zuke?
    Zuke: ..Yes?
    Mayday: If I could see your face right now, I'd punch it.
  • This Ain't Rocket Surgery: Said by DJ Subatomic Supernova when he needs to correct the actual rocket scientists that are working for him. Supernova admits it is literal rocket science, but still.
  • To the Tune of...: In one of the game's early trailers, titled "Welcome to Vinyl City", there's a song sung by Mayday that uses the melody of the overture to "The Barber of Seville."
  • T-Word Euphemism: When facing the Virtual Celebrity Sayu, Mayday gets fed up trying to talk to the digital mermaid because she's not real. Zuke quickly says you're not supposed to use "the R-Word" around Sayu as pointing out she isn't real is a taboo subject in the Akusuka District. Mayday promptly does so anyway.
  • Variable Mix: As indicated by a tuner at the top center of the HUD, the boss music will switch between a Rock and EDM variant depending on the player's performance and other factors. The intensity of the music also increases with each phase, with the Rock mix also emphasizing the guitar or drums based on what character is being controlled at the moment.
  • Virtual Celebrity:
  • Wham Line: Throughout the game, we're led to believe that rock was in fact superior to EDM, but when Zuke checks how much juice they produced during the fight against Tatiana, he says 47%, the exact amount as Tatiana made.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Bunk Bed Junction is called out a lot by the Megastars, most prominently Yinu, Neon J, and Tatiana:
    • Yinu yells at Bunk Bed Junction that them crashing concerts only proves that, for all their talk of promoting music, they seem to only be good at wrecking things.
    • Neon J directly calls out Bunk Bed Junction for destroying Yinu's piano after his defeat.
    • Tatiana completely tears apart their actions by raising a series of very legitimate points over how they really didn't think through the consequences of usurping the Megastars.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Vinyl City might be in Malaysia, but Malay is shown to be distinct from whatever everyone else is speaking to each other. In addition, Vinyl City doesn't have an airforce whereas Malaysia actually does. Then there's K-Pop manager Neon J, a veteran of the "Border Wars", a clear allegory to North and South Korean animosity, and he speaks as if the safety of Vinyl City hinged on the outcome of those wars.
  • Who's on First?: When Neon J's factory craft is shot down, he starts screaming, "Mayday! Mayday!" Mayday wonders why he's calling for her, before getting it.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After their fight with Eve, Zuke finds it in his heart to help her see she doesn't need to be with him to be worthwhile. In fact, he wisely tells her she completes herself, and should learn to love herself despite her insecurities.


Video Example(s):


The Showstopper

At the end of every boss fight, Mayday and Zuke perform a Showstopper against the boss to finish them off properly, hurling a blob of blue energy at them and in the case of DJ Subatomic Supernova, blowing his ass into the Milky Way.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / FinishingMove

Media sources: