When offered the chance to review Rush Bros, my first question was “What is it?” As it turned out it was a 2D platformer with elements of a rhythm game, all played in two player competitive races. Intrigued, I enthusiastically jumped at the chance to review what I was sure to be an indie gem. And while the multiplayer was satisfyingly engaging, the single player left a lot to be desired.
So what do you do?
Rush Bros is rather interesting as it includes the elements of a lot of different games to create a unique experience. The platforming in the game is reminiscent of Super Meat Boy with an infinite number of ways to die on every stage, but immediately bringing you back to life so you can try overcoming the obstacles again and again.
As for the obstacles themselves the timing and rhythm of some of the death traps are affected by what music plays throughout the level, which is either randomly selected or chosen by the player. All this takes place in neon coloured, fluorescently lit levels with a simplistic geometric style. The levels are also littered with various power ups in single player and power downs in two player (think Mario Kart). The ultimate goal of every stage is to reach the end as quickly as possible to either beat your own record or out race opponents playing through the same stage.
A fun time with friends
Rush Bros controls are superbly responsive much like Super Meat Boy. Your character moves exactly as you want him to on the ground and in the air, so even the hardest of jumps and manoeuvres are possible to achieve. This makes the multiplayer fun since you don’t have to worry about terrible controls when trying to out race your opponent.
The two player competitive racing is easily the best part of the entire experience. Not only do you contend with a multitude of obstacles trying to kill you to the beat of kick ass music, but now you have an opponent who can pick up game hindering power downs which will: reverse your controls; flip the game upside down; zoom in till you can only see your own face; or reduce gravity close to zero. It adds a lot of variety to the overall experience.
As for the music you race to, Rush Bros uses an excellent range of hard and soft electronic music to get your adrenaline pumping. Since you’ll be trying to clear each level as quickly as possible, this music perfectly suits the atmosphere of intense fast paced competitive platforming.
The visual aesthetics match the music well, reminiscent of the darkened dance floor of a club with fluorescent primary colours that contrasts strongly against the black to create a striking scene. That is if the dance floors were littered with buzz saws, vats of acid and death spikes made of light.
This consistency between the design of the levels and the music used in the game helps make it feel more unified. There are also a number of interesting backgrounds which help make the levels more distinguishable, ranging from a harmonious forest background to sprawling blue cities made of light.
But then there’s the single player…
While Rush Bros has many positive things it falls short in a number of ways which while easily ignored in multiplayer, become painfully obvious in the single player experience.
Firstly there is no tutorial of any kind present. While the game is relatively simple, it can make your first attempt at exploring the levels frustrating. For example, I noticed there was a slide button but no running button so I assumed there was no way to do a long jump. But after experimenting I found that sliding was the equivalent of running and to perform a long jump, you had to leap from a slide which is counter intuitive. Similar situations will occur early on in the game and will certainly turn some players off, especially if you jump into multiplayer and get stuck because you didn’t know how to flick a switch.
But my biggest problem with Rush Bros is that it does not take enough advantage of rhythm/platforming cross over concept. Because the music on every level can be changed, it means all the obstacles that move based on the rhythm of songs are generic and used sparingly. The game suffers as a whole due to most of the stages lacking personality.
If every stage had a set song with particular rhythms you had to master in order to progress though the stage quickly, Rush Bros would have been amazing. Unfortunately when you play alone you feel as though you’re doing the same stage again and again after thirty minutes of play, not to mention that there is nothing to unlock giving you no further incentive to play alone.
It’s important to mention the tiresome single player mode because people like me will try the game alone and potentially get the wrong impression. Rush Bros was clearly designed to be a two player game and should be played as such to get the best possible experience.
Rush Bros Review – Final Verdict 7.5/10
Rush Bros offers an interesting and unique multiplayer experience with a variety of power downs to keep the game engaging while you race through brightly coloured levels with a thumping sound track to boot. However the game is clearly not designed to be played alone and will feel like a tiresome slog in single player.
People who wished they could have played Super Meat Boy with friends will want to check this game out, and it may interest fans of Rayman Origins, Mario Bros multiplayer or even Mario Kart. But those looking for a fulfilling single player experience are best off with the titles I just mentioned.