Indie Review: Rush Bros
A trance mushroom infected version of Super Mario Bros with enough speed and challenging level design? The answer is Rush Bros!
- Worth The Time?No, there are far better and more satisfying indie platformers out there.
- Things LovedThe music and tight character controls were enjoyable.
- Things HatedThe level design, the samey visuals, the imbalance between challenge and fun gameplay.
- RecommendationIf you enjoy music-based indie platformers, this may be for you.
- Name: Rush Bros
- Genre: Platformer
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: Yes
- Platforms: PC, Mac
- Developer: XYLA Entertainment
- Publisher: Digital Tribe
- Price: R100 ($9.99)
- Reviewed On: PC
Imagine if both Mario and Luigi, from Super Mario Bros, became deeply addicted to LSD and consumed copious amounts of the drug. They would be hallucinating, seeing all sorts of weird things flying around them, like dragons, and obviously they would be tripping “balls”, metaphorically and perhaps literally in their heads. Now along with their new found drug addicted lifestyle, which would be screened as a television network special, Mario and Luigi decided to change careers from Goomba stomping Italian plumbers to speedy glow-in-the-dark trance DJs. In Rush Bros that has happened and never has a game been a LSD-infused trip like this. On top of which, it is an excessively fast-paced game with enough hallucinogenic properties to attract the most masochistic of gamers.
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When using the word “masochistic”, you’re probably asking what does that entail? Rush Bros is heavily challenging and doesn’t seem so at a first level playthrough. It’s quite the deception, as many indie platformers, like Super Meat Boy, take the challenge to a higher plan of existence where challenge and difficulty all end up in massive rage quits of gargantuan proportions. Rush Bros is no different and follows strongly in the familiar tradition of masochistic high level difficulty that is rewarding when you as the player conquer the challenge set before you.
In many instances, Rush Bros requires you to assess upcoming obstacles like buzz saws, protruding spikes and death rays in split second decisions. Although you may have infinite lives, as per the experience in the singleplayer mode, it still feels as if there is no happy medium between the enjoyableness and challenging difficulty of the level design. Despite this, both DJs in the game handle well with tight controls, jumping from wall to wall and sliding under obstacles.
The developers, XYLA Entertainment, of Rush Bros call the game a “Platform Racing Game” where music affects how a level operates, and there is definitely a sense of speed when playing the game. There are various speed power-ups, double jump power-ups and other bonuses to decrease the amount of time it takes you to complete a level. You can use your own MP3 or OGG library to change up the music, if you’re not a fan of electronic music, which can vary up the gameplay somewhat. But this feature still cannot conceal the problematic nature of the difficulty curve, as expressed above.
Even with over 40 levels, much of the level design is superior and more well executed in other indie platformers. When the experience of a platformer is dulled by the challenge not being varied, and you establish game design on the basis of time trials, things get boring pretty quickly. We’ve seen this before, and it’s tiring after awhile. Of course, Rush Bros offers other modes besides spilt-screen multiplayer and online racing. You can fast forward the speed at which a level is played and can play “Survival Mode” where one hit means instant death. However, these are short term solutions to the main problem of how the game isn’t particularly fun to play and doesn’t have enough staying power to match more proficient indie platformers, which maintain the balance between fun gameplay and challenge.
Visually, Rush Bros is pretty striking with absurdly colorful backgrounds, level design in muted black with hints of luminous colour in the obstacles scattered across levels. The character design of the two DJ characters is pretty simple following a colour scheme of red and blue, which is keeping with the style of the level design. Comparing Rush Bros with other Steam indie staples, visually the game pales in comparison and doesn’t truly differentiate itself from the plethora of indie platformers out there. The game’s soundtrack is marked with a good choice of electronic music and if you’re aficionado of this musical flavour, this should be suited to your musical tastes, especially if you like Infected Mushroom.