Rush Bros

Rush Bros is a 2D side-scrolling platform racing game developed by XYLA Entertainment, and released on the 24th May for PC and Mac.

Rush Bros

The game can be played with a game controller (recommended) or with mouse and keyboard.  Despite the controller being recommended, you have to go in and tell the game you are going to use the controller and restart the game before you can use it.  The controls are simple and quite responsive, and easy to pick up: running and jumping, sliding, and wall sliding, with a double jump available via a temporary power-up.

Rush Bros is set to allow online challengers by default, and it’s been set up so that challengers simply drop in to the game while you’re playing, without having to set up a match first.  I can see this being a benefit to the multiplayer community, but I’m not completely sold on it.  I think it would be more helpful for new players to be allowed to try the game alone before confronting them with other, possibly quite experienced players who may complete the level while they’re still finding their feet.

Fortunately you can choose to play alone: you need to untick the Challenges box on the menu, but note that you need to untick the box every time you go back to the menu if you want to remain alone.

Arcade Mode allows players to check out the levels and learn how to play, and here, the aim is to race against your ghost to get the best time possible.  If you get caught out by a trap, the respawn point is usually close by, so you don’t have to work your way through the whole of the level again.. there’s no period of invulnerability though, so you still need skill to pass the obstacles!  For players who would rather have more of a challenge, there’s a Survival Mode that does send you all the way back to the beginning for each death.

Levels are a colourful mixture of neons on black platforms, with bright neon traps and obstacles, and some rather interesting backgrounds.  All 41 of the levels are accessible from the start of the game, without requiring players to complete each level in turn.  This allows players to select the levels and tracks they like best to play in multiplayer.  It was a very good thing for me too, as I just could not get through one particular obstacle and had to give up on the level.

Rush Bros - You Shall Not Pass

Some of the sections featured bouncers that neatly flung me up to the next platform or bouncer, and I got a sense of real speed from running, jumping and sliding through those levels.  I was less keen on the levels that lacked visual clues as to where to go.. with repetition the levels can be memorised but on the first few runs it doesn’t flow nicely.

One of the main draws is that the music influences the level design, affecting the movement of traps and obstacles in accordance with the BPM.. the faster the BPM the faster the traps move!  I was keen to check this out when I first heard of the game, and found that it works fairly well as you can time your jumps to the beat of the music to help you get through the level.. though I would have liked to see more of a change due to the tracks played.

Rush Bros comes with a selection of tracks by Infected Mushroom, which fit the game brilliantly, but you can also use your own music, in MP3 or OGG format.  Unfortunately, I experienced a crash when I tried to find some MP3s on my hard drive. After crashing, the game now won’t even launch, and I’m currently waiting for a solution, having sent my details to the support team.

As well as Arcade Mode, the game supports both local and online competitive play between two players.  It is definitely best played in multiplayer, though perhaps more fun if players are of a similar skill level.. I’m not good at this type of game, and I found my opponents clearing the levels before I got very far through them.. frustrating for me, and probably frustrating for those who want a challenge!  The winning player has the option of stomping on a button and killing the other player, which is a nice touch when you want to rub your win into your opponent’s face!

Rush Bros - Win and Kill Your Opponent

There are temporary power-ups scattered through the levels, including the useful double-jump and double-speed power-ups available in Arcade Mode, as well as the rather frustrating inverted controls or zoomed-in-camera power-ups, applied to your opponent.  When players are fairly matched, it’s quite fun to chase those power-ups.. but when one player is significantly better at the game than the other, the power-ups only enhance this difference.

As Rush Bros crashed when I tried to import my own music, I asked a friend for his thoughts on this part of the game.  He was able to upload his own music, but didn’t notice a great deal of difference in the behaviour of the game’s hazards between one track and the next, even while looking for those changes.  He would have liked to see the music change the look of the game a lot more than it did too, including trap positions and numbers, and colour changes for the markings on the platforms themselves.

Overall, our consensus was that Rush Bros is fun for a while, but a little repetitive, and the music-reactive element of the game isn’t quite dynamic enough to keep players’ interest.  Multiplayer is certainly more fun than singleplayer, but only if players are reasonably matched in skill.

3/5

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