Rush Bros. is a game with an excellent premise and really cool concept, it is a platformer where players race against the clock through environments that are influenced by the music playing in the background, making feel like a cross between Super Meat Boy and Dance Dance Revolution. While everything about the concept intrigued me, and should have been something amazing, shoddy controls, terrible matchmaking, and lack of real satisfaction holds Rush Bros from being a truly amazing title.
In Rush Bros. you take the role of a DJ racing against the clock, or a rival DJ, to finish the track in time. Very common premise, but in Rush Bros. the music is key. When I say key, I mean that the song that’s playing can make or break your time. This is where the game absolutely thrives, each level can be different, with the timing of obstacles changing, based on which song you pick. Now the game has an amazing soundtrack, I’ve actually left the game running in the background just to hear the music, but it is also very easy to import your own playlists, allowing you to play to whatever music you want. You can get some fun combinations here that make for some interesting game play, I played a lot of it with the Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, as well as John William’s Jurassic Park, and some Big Gigantic for added measure. Each of these songs, their rhythms and bass, affect the levels NOTICEABLY. One of the most fun things about this game is going through the same level with different songs to try and find the perfect combination for getting a high score. Unfortunately, this is where the fun of the game kind of tapers off.
First off, while it has over 40 stages, every stage is unlocked right off the bat. Now I understand that the point of this game is to be open and try everything with different music, but having all the levels unlocked kinda takes a lit bit away from the single player experience, which leads me to my next gripe about Rush Bros. NOBODY IS ONLINE, like ever, I’ve tried to play multiplayer matches quite a few times over steam and the few times people are online, they just stand at the start point and quit after like 30 seconds. For there to seemingly be no support/servers/interest really limits the game, especially with it being such an apparently multiplayer driven game. I did happen to play a few matches with a friend and those were a lot of fun, but lacked anything really exciting. There’s no teamwork aspect and it was basically, lets race to the finish and whoever gets there first is great and on to the next map. We played for maybe thirty minutes before getting bored and moving on.
Now, on to the controls. On a keyboard, this game is extremely stiff, its hard to time jumps and even harder to bounce off of walls and avoid traps. The game does say that it plays best on a controller, but that still doesn’t excuse such crappy controls. Super Meat Boy was great on a keyboard, so I don’t know why this can’t be too (in case you can’t tell by now, I love Super Meat Boy). The controls are basic enough, directions, use button, jump. That’s about it, but I often found myself running off of ledges, jumping into spikes, or just not able to get through some levels. My friend played against me on the controller and reported similar, but not as abundant, problems. It was a little smoother and responsive, but he still found himself falling off of ledges and running into stuff unintentionally. Now the first response to this could be “ermahgerd you guyz are such newbz” but we both beat Meat Boy and have fairly good times, so I’d like to think the problem wasn’t us.
Most of the levels take anywhere between one and four minutes to complete, which is somewhat baffling to me, just because most songs are more like 3-5 minutes, and it would have been a lot more satisfying if the games were more song length. On the level design though, this game is great. Really cool levels, like I mentioned earlier they adapt to your music, but the visuals are just great, neon lights, cell shading, cool backdrops, and engaging obstacles. It’s all very modern with a hint of retro, a really great style, that, unfortunately, doesn’t have the gameplay to back it up.
At the end of the day, that is what really matters in a game, doesn’t matter how it looks, what matters is how it plays, and unfortunately Rush Bros doesn’t live up to expectations and with so many great and similar games out there, the music gimmick isn’t enough to make this game a hit.