Take the rough concept of Audiosurf, add some Doritos Crash Course-style obstacles and a funky animation style and what do you get? A game that should probably come free with a pair of Dr. Dre Beats – Rush Bros!
Rush Bros is a game that flourished through the Steam Greenlight setup – an online community that votes for (and gives feedback on) a number of independently developed titles. It’s a great platform for developers to refine and publicise their work and that’s where I respect the guys at XYLA Entertainment for their gumption in getting this game off the ground.
That’s sadly where the praise has to end because it’s frankly too hard to review and dissect a game like Rush Bros. I didn’t find it addictive and it’s undoubtedly not the most fulfilling videogame experience you’ll encounter in your lifetime. That said, it’s pretty apparent from the get-go that Rush Bros isn’t a game that’s striving to be anymore than the sum of its parts. It’s a game with a neat gimmick that’s available to satisfy those gamers who enjoy a bit of indie platforming action, or those who really enjoyed Audiosurf’s musically-malleable levels.
The object of Rush Bros is quite simple, make it from point A to point B while avoiding crazy obstacles (neon spikes being a favourite) that seem to change in their positioning and execution based on whatever song is playing in the background. For those who lack a sufficiently exhilarating iTunes library, custom soundtracks are provided although they don’t seem to vary the gameplay to a noticeable degree. That’s one of my first bug bears of the game – I don’t need things spelled out for me as a gamer but the change in levels depending on the music are so sparse and subtle I couldn’t identify exactly how my song selection was impacting the game in any way. There’s a variety of stages and an option for online/split-screen local races (which is the only way the game should be played as solo missions feel more like time-trials) however these modes honestly do very little in increasing the longevity of the title.
Aesthetically the levels do look fantastic and I have a lot of respect for the cel-shaded, colourful and varied approach XYLA took with the design. It reminded me somewhat of the Viewtiful Joe series and that PSP game ‘Exit’ – although Rush Bros is honed down to a significantly simpler set-up similar to that of Kongregate’s ‘Platform Racer’ series.
And that’s what Rush Bros essentially is at the end of the day. A ‘Platform Racer’ – an extremely basic, nice-looking, repetitive musical platforming race game that does very little in the way of pushing the boundaries of gaming but has a fair crack at cementing something in our game libraries that flourishes with originality. It lacks diversity but you can’t knock it too hard for that, it’s not a game I feel is seeking that much from its gamers – it just wants you to have fun in a simple, charming arcade-style manor and that’s something I can appreciate (if only for a limited time).