Rush Bros. – (PC)

rush-bros-titleWant to dash? Want to run? Want to see what the world of technicolour madness in racing platform excitement is all about?
If you are that person, then I’d advise you to read my new review of Rush Bros. for SquareGo magazine.
You can find it there, or below the cut.

Rush Bros.

XYLA Entertainment
2/5

People love platform games.

It’s been true from Sonic and Mario, to N+ and Super Meat Boy, the simple level-leaping, left to right adventure is a beloved staple of the gaming diet.  So how can you improve and re-incentivise this idea? Why not make it a competition? There’s a lot for scope for a competitive racing 2D platformer, otherwise there wouldn’t be the need for speedruns on games like Limbo and Braid.  So when confronted with Rush Bros, you might be tempted to throw caution to the wind and get plugged in.  Well dear reader, I’d advise you to consider throwing with a little less abandon and cautiously read on.

Rush Bros is the brainchild of XYLA Entertainment, who have put the hours in to create this brightly realised and vibrantly pretty little speed-along title.  It’s a simple enough idea, a rollicking set of 40-odd platform courses (or maps) over which Red brother and Blue brother, must chase to the end in a mad dash! Of course some of the maps have locked doors, so it’s a chase back and forth to get keys to open these and back…  Wait. What? Isn’t this a race?  Well apparently it is in the sense that you have to get through it quick, but this is where many players will probably start to feel uneasy with the game.

Kick a ball!
Kick a ball!

On the style front, sure it works. It’s undeniably a good looking game and the gorgeous backdrops of cityscapes and stylised mountains and forests make a great contrast to the electric primary colours of the platforms and the titular Bros themselves.

The really good idea the game has, is that a few of the game’s hazards are timed depending to the music tracks playing. This is supposed to be a major feature, but in practice, it’s an occasional curiosity, which will only become obvious on maps where the hazards happen to sync with a change in the tempo. The game’s feature to import music from your own files is a great one, but unless you’re a fan of speed garage, or super slow classical, then you’ll be unlikely to notice much of a difference. Importing tracks however is a good thing, as the ingamemusic is unfortunately somewhat obnoxious, like being stuck in a bad student rave round 2004 in a dull corner of Bristol.

It’s from here that the cracks sadly start to appear more frequently, as the maps are actually fairly large, many are unintuitive and rely on perseverance and multiple playthroughs for players to memorise routes. There’s obviously a need for repetition to reach a point where a player wants to ace them through competition or speed runs against their previous times, but in Rush Bros the maps feel like ‘platformer maps’ rather than ‘races’. It also feels oddly sluggish and slow for a racing game. There is almost never a sense of speed to the Bros jumps or slides, and the running pace is criminally belaboured.

Jump up a red thing
Jump up a red thing

Another big problem with Rush Bros is that if looks and feels as if it ought to move like Super Meat Boy. Well, it doesn’t. The ease at which the little hunk of gore leapt and slid around the short maps, simply isn’t present here. True, SMB is a singularly unique title, and Rush Bros is aiming at a different audience and style, but the moves, jumps and general style are so similar that it’s impossible to shake that thought, once it’s crept into your bonce. (I’m sure the readers are thanking you Graeme. -Ed)  As a result, the game feels just that little bit clumsy and sticky in comparison.  A race best left to others.

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