Jun 5, 2013

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Rush Bros Review

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It’s sad for me to say, but finding a platformer that thinks outside the box is hard to find in this day and age. With this in mind, I was very surprised with how much I enjoyed playing Rush Bros, the side-scrolling platform racer from XYLA Entertainment. While you can see some of the inspiration comes from other games in the genre, Rush Bros has it own small touches and features that let it stand out. If you’re willing to take a small risk, you’re going to be in for a bit of a treat.

Rush Bros is a side-scrolling platformer where you control one of two brothers who are racing to mark the first time being together since they split up to pursue a solo career. The aim is to get from one end of the level to the other in the quickest time possible, and with the smallest number of deaths possible. Within the levels, there are puzzles, traps, obstacles and mazes for you to navigate and solve on your way to the finish line.

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The gameplay follows most aspects of a standard puzzle platformer, and you can see inspiration was taken from Super Meat Boy here. You navigate levels using the ability to run left and right, duck, jump, slide and jump up, on and off walls. There is also a action button that is used for moving leavers within the level; these open doors as well as drop objects to aid you on your path to the end of the level. During the level, you will encounter many obstacles, ranging from simple spikes to saws, electric fences and even glitch walls. Some of these objects move quicker or slower depending on the pace the music currently playing.

Some levels will also have you finding keys of different colors that will open doors to either the goal gate or a new path/area of the level. During a level, you can also pick up power-ups to aid you in completing the level. In single player the only power-ups are double jump and speed up. I felt that adding a couple more power-ups could have really helped the game, maybe adding a long jump, or even a slow down to help with some precise jumps. The gameplay felt very fluid and smooth and precise. Sadly, when using a Joypad (In my case, my PlayStation 3 controller) I felt a slight delay from my button presses to the character performing the action, leading to some rather annoying deaths.

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Sound and music is the other area where the game shines. The soundtrack is composed by Infected Mushroom consisting of mostly trance, but this fits fantastically with the art style; however,  the music can be changed. Using the custom playlist feature, you can import any folder that contains MP3 or OGG files and use them as the background music for the game. This is not the only thing the change does, however; changing the music also changes how the level works. The obstacles will move at different paces depending on the type of music that is playing. I found this very fascinating, and found myself trying out different songs to see if I could make a easy level tougher. This also made me change the way I would play a level if it lasted longer, as there was the chance (and it did happen) that the music would change into a much quicker track, and thus the level became much tougher as objects were moving much quicker, and the pattern in which they moved changed.

The art style and graphics look fantastic and work well with with one of the game’s core features, the ability to change music. The level design and look was good; the first 25 levels each had their own unique feel. Later levels get rather repetitive, with you doing the same sort of thing, either getting to the end and backtracking for keys to unlock doors or running away from something.

The game’s main mode is Arcade Mode, which allows you to go through any of the 41 levels the game has to offer and try to get the best time; weirdly, all the levels were unlocked from the beginning. However, there’s little reward value for entering this mode, there are no leaderboards either, which takes some competition away from it. I felt that this was one of the game’s major problems. The game also has two multiplayer modes, a split-screen multiplayer and an online mode. Split screen was the most enjoyable mode for me. I spent over three hours on this mode playing with different family members, due to the fact that the game is very easy to pick up. I found that within 10 minutes of people playing, we were having fun, and having very close races. It a shame that the split-screen mode only has support for two players, as a 4 player mode would have been really fun.

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The other mode sees you racing against an online opponent. I played this with a friend, and while it was still fun, I didn’t find it quite as fun as playing the split-screen mode. There’s no option in the game to chat, so this could have been one of the reasons, but I just personally found that online was nowhere near as fun as playing it with friends on the same screen.

Overall I had a great time with Rush Bros even if  the game had it problems; backtracking can be a real pain, and I got some delay issues using a controller. I adored the multiplayer mode with friends and family, and the single player was nice too. The art style as well as the music changing feature allows the game to stand out from the rest of the crowd. The game has some great ideas, and for the most part they are executed very well. This is a title any platformer fan should pick up.

Rush Bros
Platform: PC (reviewed), MAC
Genre: Puzzle, Platformer
Release Date: May 24, 2013
Developer: XYLA Entertainment
Publisher: Digital Tribe
MSRP: $9.99


7.5
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About Steven O'Shea

A 20 year old Games Design student who loves drawing, writing and anything Japanese. I have been a Final Fantasy, Persona and Tales Of nuts for years. Catch me on Twitter @stevenoshea10 for my random tweets about life and games. Also find me on PSN or Steam stevenoshea. I normally play Persona 4 Arena or Left 4 Dead. I am currently replaying Persona 3 Portable while looking after the new family kitten.