I like platformers. You can get addicted to the rhythm of a level and simply follow its natural course of action. Crafting a great platformer is always one part controls and one part level design. Platformers are about composition and flow, and without them a platformer can never feel as tuned as it should. Pretty descriptions aside, platformers should be constructed in a way that’s as seamlessly enjoyable as possible.
Rush Bros is an indie platformer that relies on bright lights, loud music, the competition in racing another player through the stage and power-ups to show people a good time. Unfortunately the game seems to have failed in crafting smooth levels or eloquent control schemes.
Super Rush Bros has two selling points: Catchy electronic music that is perfect for blasting on your headphones, and that in reality, the game is a platform racing game. An obstacle course in which two players compete with each other to cross the finish line.
The good news is online is pretty solid, matching players with each other with ease and very little lag or dropped connections.
Similarly the music is pounding and though I’m not a knowledgeable man on techno, dance, or club music, my headphones get a workout with the constant stream of loud, electro-beats. I legitimately enjoyed the hell out of the music that pumped through my speakers. I’m not a music critic and so I can’t adequately describe any of it, but the music was a great deal of fun.
Which makes me wonder if the whole game wasn’t just a showcase for the music.
The controls are your standard stuff, running, jumping, wall hopping, and sliding. My problem with it is that it feels way lighter than it should have and jumping seems inconsistent but I can’t be too sure about that last one.
The reason why I can’t be sure whether or not there is a problem with the jumping is because there is definitely a problem with the level design. The levels and obstacles make it so that distances seem oddly timed or a little further than they should. That isn’t to mention the backtracking that breaks the flow of the game with its sudden turns and drops. The levels just aren’t any fun is what I want to say and I’m not sure if it’s because it tried hard to match tempo with the music that the game proudly shows off, or if it’s because I’ve become accustomed to so much better.
If anything the game works fine as a competitive platformer with power-ups and traps akin to Mario Kart‘s mystery boxes. These bonus powers either give you a boost in terms of speed and agility, or annoys your opponent with reversed controls, or low gravity. The only problem is I was too distracted with all the shortcomings of the level that I stopped caring about my opponent halfway through the stages. The level design removes tension from the race that the second player basically becomes superfluous.
Distracting level design seemed to have hindered a lot in Rush Bros, and it’s sad that a game which references the greatest platformer in games doesn’t do enough to emulate its heroes. One should aspire to Nintendo levels of greatness in level design if they draw attention to its namesake. Unfortunately this isn’t the case and I’m left saddened by this fact.
[+Great music][+Online functionality][-Poor level design][-Controls aren’t tight enough][-Racing mechanic isn’t compelling enough]