In a sea of indie platformers that are the product of days spent basking in the glow of CRT televisions and arcade cabinets, one emerges, dropping the beat on you with more force than Skrillex could ever wish to conjure. Rush Bros uses it’s rather Dubstep heavy soundtrack, or your music, to bring life to its obstacles. Fans of games such as Amplitude or Frequency may dig the notion, though I’m not sure this iteration has sold me on these concepts by way of platformer
Masochistic joystick junkies may come to rejoice at the feet of Rush Bros, though I felt the game struggles with its identity
Rush Bros controls well, allowing players to wall jump, and slide, with collectible power-ups for speed and double jumping. At its core I think Rush Bros could be a good platforming experience, with ideas pulling from recent indies such as Dustforce and Super Meat Boy, with a musical twist and an identity crisis. The art style makes use of dark blacks and neon lights that can be seen in a number of rhythm games. Although fans watching videos of preview builds will be glad to know that the art has been much improved since.
The level design, on the other hand is wherein my issues lie. While touting the moniker “Racing Platformer” amongst a myriad of marketing materials, levels can be very tedious. Platformers can really thrive when you find a levels’ pulse and the inherent rhythm of good design. Tapping into your music to alter the pulse is a great idea, though every time I entered that sweet spot, I would crash and burn into a wall of over complication.
It seems like many of the levels require you to back track, to progress further, this in itself is pretty disrupting when you are racing. While subtle changes do occur, they don’t seem to follow any consistent beat; it was hard to tell if each pattern was solely based on the song’s BPM, (beats per minute) or on the music. This can lead to some unpredictable obstacles that can contradict the music they are getting direction from. It’s not rare for the harder levels to take up to thirty minutes on your first run, though I suppose this may count as an endurance race.
Rush Bros does offer a nice simultaneous multiplayer experience, as well as drop-in multiplayer, adding a bit more depth than a leaderboard. Fortunately the drop-in feature can be disabled – it’s nice to have, though it can be frustrating racing someone before you have memorized the complexities of each level. I applaud adding a bit more competition than a high score or target time to chase.