Rush Bros… Oh my, where to begin.
It’s incredibly rare that I come across a game so absolutely, irredeemably awful I’m forced to leave it after a mere twenty minutes. That’s a shockingly short amount of time to spend on a video game, free or not. And yet, Rush Bros manages to be that rare kind of awful. I honestly think that the developer was actively trying to scare people away from their game. The menu alone is enough indication of that.
Let me break down the basics of just what exactly Rush Bros is for you. You are one of two “Rush Bros”, your goal being to get from one end of a 2D level to the other. So, yes, it’s a platformer. But wait, there’s more! The game’s claim to fame (can we even call it that?) is that your music library (or, if you’re too lazy to actually point the game at your music files like me, the set of techno that comes packaged in) determines the way the levels play out and react. Cool, right? Yeah, that sounds great! I get to listen to my music, and it changes how the game works! Wow!
Well, unfortunately, very wrong. This feature is barely used for anything but a spike or two popping up and out of the floor every few beats, or a lever that needs to be pulled on the beat (a mechanic which, by the way, is very poorly explained). It’s incredibly lame, and it means that Rush Bros is nothing more than a ♥♥♥♥ty platformer with some funky tunes.
Now that we’ve established Rush Bros is completely devoid of originality, let’s talk about the graphics. They’re bad. And I mean really ♥♥♥♥ing bad. Once again, it manages to be that one breed of terrible that not only assaults your eyes with character animations which look to have been haphazardly assembled in flash by a sixth-grader who just figured out how key-framing and looping works, but it also has the audacity to apply filters to the entire image which, after only five minutes, will leave you with a piercing headache. Think Max Payne 3’s most egregious examples of cutscene visual tomfoolery, except constant, always there to taunt your eyes with what could have been clarity instead of a bloom-addled, disco-infused fever dream.
Oh, and of course, the controls. Or rather, what controls? This game has controls? Could’ve fooled me, because the first 10 minutes of my time with it was spent trying to figure out why the hell I couldn’t move my character around the screen, at all. Well, as it turns out, unlike most other (well put-together) games, Rush Bros completely ignores the fact that you’ve plugged in a controller when you actually begin playing it (despite the fact it works 100% properly in the menus you use to actually take you to the “play” portion of the game). Yes, you have to manually bind the controller to the actions you want your character to complete despite the fact it tells you right from the get-go “Hey, we made this game for controllers! You should use one!” Well, are you sure you made this game for controllers, XYLA Entertainment? Because from where I stand, that really doesn’t seem to be the case.
Once you actually get running, it quickly dawns on you that everything about the running, jumping, positioning, and wall-grabbing in this game is completely off. Jumps seem to inconsistently propel you varying distances, movement is so floaty it’s impossibly difficult to land on a jump pad that takes up nearly 20% of the screen real-estate, and the speed at which your character slides down walls when he grabs them will have you wondering if he’s composed of primarily molasses. I cannot tell you how many times in the mere 20 minutes I spent with this steaming turd I died due to the horrific controls.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on how hard it is to actually start playing the game in the first place. I still haven’t been able to figure out how any of it works, since when trying to select the singleplayer stages, I kept getting requests to join the games of others. And you know what, I don’t blame those who spammed me with the intrusive offers, either. Hell, I’m sure I did the same, because despite the fact that I’m very obviously trying to play singleplayer through the singleplayer-labelled Arcade menu option, the game seemed to love pairing me up with total randies from the boundless realm of “The Internet”. I’m still not sure if I managed to get into the singleplayer at all, actually, seeing as how every time I finished a stage the game showed me the statistics of an unnamed, invisible second “player” who never seemed able to finish the level before me. Or maybe the game was just unable to identify that I was playing alone, which seems far more plausible.
Credit where credit’s due, the in-game soundtrack (read: not the one you import) is actually pretty good. I enjoyed the techno tunes included, and must admit it’s mostly because of them I even stuck around long enough to get past the first few levels (which are only about 30 seconds each, by the way). However, whatever algorithm the developer is using to apply the “beat” to the in-game geometry is flaky at best, since it always seems to speed-up or slow-down completely at random. Hey guys: if the feature you’ve touted as revolutionary and unbelievably innovative for the platforming scene doesn’t even work with the music you tested and included it with, I think there may be an issue somewhere. But hey, I’m no programmer, so what do I know… right?
To sum things up, this game is awful. Why I even dedicated a whole 1010 words to it is actually beyond even myself. Stay away from it (not that you honestly ever intended to buy it) and spend that cash elsewhere. I’m just glad I got this smear for free.