After passing through Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, XYLA Entertainment’s Rush Bros. is finally here. Rush Bros. is being called a “Platform Racer” which I’ll admit isn’t a genre I was aware of and is exactly what it sounds like. You are on a platform-type level, but rushing to get the fastest possible time. Take that feeling you get after the warning timer goes off in Super Mario Bros., then add an awesome neon art style and make the levels all be affected by the pumping music and you end up with Rush Bros. Let’s get into it.
Great Level Design
These levels are fun, have a near-perfect learning curve and are all-around brilliant. XYLA Entertainment even made the tutorial level fun. There are a total of 41 unique levels and each one presents its own different challenge. Some are straightforward and you just have to sprint to the end, but others will do things like send you back to the very beginning with every death, forcing you to do the whole level in one go.
Some of my favorite levels are the ones that involve getting keys and running them back to doors you’ve previously passed. In most other games there is a very real chance that all of this back tracking would be annoying, but not in Rush Bros.. Most of the obstacles are placed in such a way that the ground you covered while running to the right feels much different when you pass it again running to the left. Also, the last level is worth mentioning. It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it killed me a lot. The level essentially just continuously shot spikes at you almost the whole time from all directions. I’ve never had so much fun dying repeatedly.
Very Real Emphasis On Racing
I’ll admit going in I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from a “Platform Racer.” I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The first time you play through the game isn’t that amazing, you just run through fun levels hoping to survive just like in any other platformer. The real fun begins when you go back to those levels, whether it be in single player or multiplayer because then you have something to race against.
Whether you are racing the ghost of your best attempt at a level or another player, this competition is where the game truly shines. It is kind of hard to describe. But the awesome level design, fast paced music and adrenaline of having something to actually race against all comes together to give me a feeling of excitement I haven’t had from a game in a while. This keeps me coming back for more.
Bright Colors And Fast Paced Music Tie It All Together
I just love how this game looks. You get to customize the color of your runner, but he always ends up kind of looking like a Tron-inspired stickman with hair. This style really grew on me the longer I played. The levels themselves all look great, too. All the stuff you can actually interact with looks fairly simplistic, but all the backgrounds have much more details and are beautiful. Most stuff you can walk on is a solid color or two, but all the stuff that can kill you is made to stand out in some way. Some things that can kill you will be contrasted to the rest of the level. So something like bright red spikes in an otherwise all black level or some obstacles literally being shiny and glowing.
The music is an important part of the game, which is doubly advantageous because the soundtrack is awesome. Almost everything in every level that moves will move with the music. If the music playing is fast-paced, obstacles will move faster and the same applies for slow music. So you could change the song mid-level if you wanted to change the pace of a particular obstacle to make it easier for you. Although the tremendous emphasis on racing makes it so that you don’t want to waste precious seconds changing the music unless that obstacle is a real pain. The music affecting the paces of the levels also makes it so that you can time your movements based on what you hear and not just what you see. I feel like this made my platforming better. There is also the option to use your own playlist, although with music as good as Rush Bros.’, I don’t know why you would.
Multiplayer Feels Almost Incomplete
There is a real emphasis on racing throughout this game, so naturally multiplayer should be an important part of that. The multiplayer is very fun, but that is just because this game is very fun and the multiplayer is essentially more of that. But the multiplayer could have really used a few more features.
Once you are paired with someone to race, you stay in competition with that person until one of you decides to quit. After each race you can either pick to just play the next level or opt to pick a different level. I don’t mind racing the same person over and over, especially if neither of us is much better than the other, but this could be vastly improved by something as simple as a win/loss count. Just keep track of who has won more races. Is that so hard in 2013? I swear I’ve seen it before. Maybe even work some currency system into your multiplayer wins so you can buy more colors for your character or something.
Without some system to keep track of wins, the multiplayer almost seems pointless. Also, it isn’t uncommon for there to be no games to join and for nobody to join a game that you decided to host. I spent more time racing my ghost than I would have liked.
Even though the multiplayer isn’t what I hoped for in Rush Bros., it is still a ridiculous amount of fun. If you like fast-paced platformers and good music, you are doing a disservice to yourself by passing up on this game. I know I’m going to be trying to beat my track times for a long time to come.
Rush Bros. Review platform: PC