Indie Quickie: Rush Bros.

It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

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What is it? A 2D platformer based on competitive racing, and with elements of music interaction.

Who made it and where can you get it? This game rushes your way from XYLA Entertainment. Download it from Steam for the regular price of $9.99, or if you speed run over to Valve’s digital download platform during the ongoing summer sale you can get either a single copy or a 2-pack for under $4.

How much did we play? I cleared the first 20 solo tracks (of the available 46 that are listed in the level select), replayed a few to best my previous ghost completion times, and raced against other players online for around another 5-10 stages, all in an hour and a half of total play time.

Any technical concerns or hardware requirements you should know about? Not really a technical concern, but since the game released the online player community has been rather sparse, making it tough to find anyone hosting matches. An option to allow other players to issue challenges while playing in single player is a more successful matchmaking option (and there’s always local versus). I’ve had some issues with myself or challengers not being able to connect to a match properly as well, but in general online performance has been solid when I’ve actually found someone else to play against. You’ll also want to be sure to have a gamepad at the ready before jumping in. It’s not mandatory, but a controller is far superior to mouse and keyboard in a game like this.

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Why should you play it?

    • Run, Bro, Run: Influences from genre favorites past and present are easily identifiable from the moment you start in on Rush Bros, but what sets this game apart is its competitive speed run spirit. You run and jump your DJ bro as you do in any other game that involves leaping a polygonal or sprite-based character across platforms, only the levels here are set up like platforming race tracks and the lone goal is to avoid the hazards (spiked smashers, pits filled with toxic ooze, spinning saw blades, laser turrets, etc) as much as possible and reach the finish line faster than your opponent (or a previous ghost time if playing solo). Power-ups jazz things up with super-sprint and double-jump abilities, as well as some that will only be found in multiplayer like one that flips the other player’s world upside down or another that zooms the camera in real close so it’s much more difficult for the player to see what lies ahead. That last one can be especially tough to handle as pulling off a fast completion time is as much about memorizing level layouts and quickly adapting to the platforming obstacle course as it is achieving a precise mastery of the game’s twitchy controls.

    • Jump to the Beat of Your Own Drum: Music is the energy source that fuels this game’s upbeat heart and soul. While the default soundtrack matches the gameplay and visual style with a DJ’s club mix of electronic jams, one of the neatest aspects to this game is the option to import your personal music library. The music also has a greater purpose beyond providing pleasure to your ears. The rhythm and beat of the background music dictates the tempo of how hazards and other parts of the environment move, making every run slightly different based on the choice of tune. Now that’s a nice touch.

    • Totally Funkadelic: For a game about rival DJ brothers racing against each other while a vast array of musical themes course through your eardrums, it’s only appropriate that the visuals are equally eclectic, and equally funky. One level you’ll be sprinting through what looks like a rave set in a forest on an alien planet; the next you’ll be bounding across a futuristic cityscape with thumping speakers for buildings; and then after that you’ll be rushing across brightly-colored neon blocks set to a completely black background like something out of the Tron universe. The glowstick color palette is constant throughout, but the variety of environmental backdrops makes it so there’s always something new and visually stimulating to see in each passing level.

Parting Thoughts: With touchy skill-based platforming control like Super Meat Boy, a focus on speed like early Sonic the Hedgehog titles and a dash of friendly sibling rivalry like Nintendo’s team of Mushroom Kingdom plumbers, Rush Bros feels like a 2D platformer of old infused with hints of cutting edge modern technology. There doesn’t appear to be much depth or complexity (no collectibles, no story, no real structure of any kind, limited power-ups), and as such I imagine most players will find the game best enjoyed in 15 to 20 minute chunks rather than hours at a time. But the diversity of level design and the never-ending supply of music choices combined with the fast, polished gameplay and the opportunity to prove one’s speed run skills against other live players should be enough to win over anyone with a fondness for games of the run-and-jump family.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!