No More Heroes is a franchise I totally forgot I needed in my life. I played the first two to death when they released on the Wii, and always wanted to see where the series was headed or even if we would ever see Travis Touchdown again. The series has long been known to be a bizarre little love letter to gaming, and with Travis Strikes Again, director Goichi Suda (known as Suda51) is as sharp as ever. This time paying homage largely to the indie game scene, Travis Strikes Again is No More Heroes but not as you know it.
The general premise of the plot is best left unexplained, but the game opens with Bad Man trying to murder Travis Touchdown as revenge for him murdering his daughter, Bad Girl from the first game. Somehow, through some strange power, they’re both sucked into the Death Drive MkII, Travis’s rare unreleased gaming console, and must fight their way out. It’s a bonkers story though I’d expect no less from auteur director Suda51 – and includes elements of government conspiracies, existential crises and talking cats (and sheep).Travis Strikes Again might take place in the No More Heroes universe but it certainly plays a whole lot differently. The general premise of the game is that you’ll play as Travis or Bad Man as they venture through six different video games on the Death Drive. Each of the games is littered with bugs that need eradicating as well as a boss. Much like the first two games, the highlights are the boss battles, though unlike the first two games there’s a lot less of them. Still, Travis Strikes Again evokes the spirit of the No More Heroes games but in an entirely different way.
Most of the game is played through a top down perspective, not unlike Diablo and Baldur’s Gate. The difference is that Travis Strikes Again is incredibly fast paced, requiring players to dodge and evade attacks not unlike a game like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry. The difference in Travis Strikes Again is in its simplicity – which would normally hold back a game like this. Instead, Travis Strikes Again takes its simplistic premises and transposes them into strange and bizarre situations.Each of the unreleased Death Drive video games Travis jumps into has its own aesthetic and look, but also features unique gimmicks too. One might take the form of a side-scrolling platform game (primarily), while another is a Resident Evil-esque search for clues through an elaborate mansion. One of them even has you fighting to earn parts to upgrade your virtual reality race car (yes, a game within a game. So meta).