Rush Bros. A Bit Rushed
I’m four levels in, and I’ve stopped to ask Google a question. “Google, tell me about Rush Bros.”
Because in my mind, there must be more to the game than what I’m seeing.
Rush Bros is the flash game that you played during Keyboarding class all through 7th grade. It’s the diversion that you stumbled on at 2am on a weeknight that gave you one more excuse to not go to sleep. What it’s not, however, is that great.
The game is a platform-racer about a couple of neon DJs who like to participate in speed-walking races with each other while blasting out their favorite techno music. And if the premise alone already has you giddy with anticipation, keep reading.
The whole thing plays a lot like the competitive racing side game in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Genesis, except slower. Both players (either local or online) start at the left side of the level and leisurely stroll to the right side of the level. As they make a mad saunter to the end of the level, they pick up kooky power-ups, solve crafty puzzles and avoid the general mayhem of the wild maps; all the while the music you picked dictates the pulse of the whole level. In theory.
In practice, power-ups feel like abilities you should have started with, the puzzles are really more of occasional doors that you’ll have to open, the map mayhem is mild at most, and you’ll find that the only difference the music you’re playing makes is that you hear different music. On top of that, the races are really more of time-trials, even in multiplayer, since there’s no real interactivity between players.
The speed of the game may be the biggest contributing factor to the lack of fun I had playing it. As a game that is literally all about racing (there is no story progression, unlocking of levels, or other progress besides beating other players’ or your own time), there is no good excuse for why the characters are merely power-walking. Picking up the speed boost power-ups help a little, but it really only gets you to the speed that you would think a racing neon DJ would begin to run at and lasts just a short while. Consequently, you’ll find yourself constantly tapping the slide button. Because neon DJs travel faster while reclining on the ground than while actually moving their feet. (Is it too much to ask for a sprint button?)
A couple of optional “remix” options allow you to customize the gaming experience a bit more. Survivor mode abolishes respawn locations and takes you to the start of the level at any death, and Fast Forward speeds everything up. Unfortunately, the fast-forward option doesn’t really help fix the pace of the game, and really just serves as a frustration rather than a fix.
The real disappointment of Rush Bros. though, is the apparent abandonment of the only unique, original part of the game: the music. Rush Bros. comes with a big assortment of techno music you can choose from and even offers the option to play any mp3s that you have saved on your computer. And the best part is: that music is supposed to impact how the levels play out. But, it really doesn’t.
You’ll run into an occasional set of spikes or platforms that spring up in line with the beat of your selected song, but that’s really the full extent of it for almost all of the levels. A handful of levels put the gimmick to use (“Noisy Ascent” with Cher’s “Believe” was actually kind of fun), but in large part, they don’t.
The game comes with over 40 maps, hardly any of which really utilize your audio files in any significant way. Which is too bad, because none of them are really memorable enough to stand alone without that gimmick. None of those 40+ levels are especially challenging, and if you happen to die, you’ll come right back just a short distance from your mishap, ready to get back at it. And if you do keep at it, you may earn yourself a coveted spot on the leaderboard, currently filled by the same handful of players on nearly every level.
Rush Bros. feels rushed. It feels like the techno art style was an easy way out of making actual good-looking levels, the game pace was an easy way out of crafting solid, flowing levels, and the levels themselves were just tossed together to fill a quantity quota rather than a quality goal. All of which is too bad, because there really is fun to be had in Rush Bros. As stated above, it’s an okay (though not exceptional) game. The kind of game you could get a kick out of playing through your web browser for a bit. With it’s untapped potential, unfortunately, It’s just not really the game I was hoping to play.