Rush Bros is a promising, but ultimately vapid platformer that’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend.
Audiosurf and Symphony are two games that allow you to scan your music library and use your favorite songs as part of the core gameplay. Platformer Rush Bros includes a similar mechanic, but while the aforementioned games apply that feature in a novel and creative way, Rush Bros uses it as a mere gimmick. On top of that, controls don’t respond precisely to your input, making Rush Bros an arduous endeavor that fails in its execution.
Rush Bros has all the elements of a traditional platformer: you jump over platforms, you use colored keys to open doors, you use trampolines to propel into the air, you avoid spikes and so on and so forth. Soon after playing the tutorial, you need to make use of all your platforming skills to make it to the end of the neon-colored levels in as little time as possible. To help you on your journey, you can collect different power-ups that allow you to run faster, double jump and so on. Luckily, most of the times your character meets his ultimate demise, he’s sent to the last checkpoint. Still, it’s worth pointing out that some specific levels force you to restart from the beginning when you fail. While this makes each time you perish a learning experience, soon enough, this process becomes way too tedious for its own good.
But without a doubt, the most appealing feature in Rush Bros is the possibility of using your music to alter certain aspects of the levels. The game comes with its own soundtrack and different parts of the environments are affected by the songs that play in the background. So if the song that’s playing is slow, this will be reflected in the gameplay. Platforms will move gently, speakers will emit shorter expansive waves, falling spikes will move slower and so on. But if the song that’s playing is fast paced, that same level will be completely different. Everything will move faster and you’ll need to rely on your reflects to proceed. Unfortunately, the game does a poor job of explaining which elements react to the soundtrack, which leads to some unfair deaths.
While using songs from your library to alter the levels sounds quite appealing, this feature is used as a gimmick. Cruising through levels as you listen to your favorite album is quite entertaining, but this feature won’t hold your attention for long, mainly because it doesn’t feel like adding your favorite music affects levels that deeply. Ultimately, using your favorite songs feels like an aesthetic change, instead of a game-altering factor.
Sadly, this isn’t the only problem with the game. Controls aren’t as responsive as they should be and when you die, it feels like the game is at fault. There’s a slight delay between your button presses and the action taking place and this is particularly noticeable when you jump. Since jumping is a clumsy mess, this totally disrupts the ebb and flow of the game. This is completely detrimental to the experience, especially if we take into account that Rush Bros is a fast-paced platformer in which making quick decisions is necessary.
It’s worth mentioning that all levels can be played both online or locally with another player. Multiplayer games are slightly more frantic than playing by yourself, since you need to get to the goal before your opponent does. In a way, playing with others transforms Rush Bros into a racing game of sorts, but unfortunately, all the issues present in the single-player portion of the game are still a problem in the multiplayer section.
In the end, Rush Bros has a compelling premise, but never quite capitalizes on it. It’s a shame that other fundamental mechanics such as jumping or death are poorly handled. So once the novelty of being able to import your favorite songs wears off, problems start appearing. All these issues make Rush Bros a promising, but ultimately vapid platformer that’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend.