There are three game play modes: Single player, Split Screen, and Online matches. The single player mode is based on time trials, where the objective is to beat your previous time on each level. From the second time playing a ghost player is shown running the best time on each level. This gives the player something to race against, and it helps the player know how well they are doing. The Split Screen mode is a two player racing mode where each player races to the end of the level. It is similar to the 2 player Vs mode in Sonic 2 for the Sega Megadrive. The two players don’t race together, but rather they race on their own version of the level, so what they do on their own level doesn’t effect the other players progress. They can however hinder each other by collecting power ups that can effect the other players performance. An example of this is an upside down power up that flips the other players screen to make it appear upside down. Online mode is the same as the split screen, but players compete over the internet.
The levels play similar to the ones in Super Meat Boy, with player having to avoid obstacles like spikes and saw blades, which requires the player to perfectly time their jumps. This presents a problem in Rush Bros as the games controls aren’t very good. There is a noticeable lag between the time the player presses the jump button and the character jumping. It is the same laggy response for the movement controls. This is criminal for a platformer where the game play is based on how well you can control your character. Due to this lag you will find yourself dying a lot due to miss-timed jumps.
The levels themselves are nicely built. They start off simple, and get more complicated the further you progress. More gameplay elements and level obstacles are added over the course of the game, which keeps the experience fresh throughout the first half of the game at least. I’ve got no idea if this keeps up throughout the rest of the game as unlike similar games the levels in Rush Bros are locked until you have completed the previous levels. This would be fine, but there are huge spikes in difficulty where you’ll suddenly have a level that’s far harder than the ones before followed by much easier levels after. These difficult levels feel like they have been placed in the wrong order and added to the laggy controls will put people off playing any further.
One of the games main features is to allow the player to pick their own music for each level. The developers claim that playing the levels with different music makes every challenge different as obstacles and environments will react to the music being played, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I tried recording the same level twice using classical music the first time, and heavy metal the next and no noticeable changes were seen. The only real change was the games background reacting differently to the different tempos of the songs.
Graphically the game is a mixed bag. The backgrounds are some of the nicest that you will seen in a game. They are rich full of life, and the way they react to different music is a nice little touch. Rush Bros foreground graphics are the complete opposite. They are, for the most part, just plain black with the occasional neon lit arrow on them. It’s the same with the players characters, with obstacles just textured black with a touch of a neon colour. This makes the game look boring and sterile, making you wish you were playing a game somewhere in the background instead.
Overall Rush Bros is a disappointment. It is an average platformer that is let down by its poor controls. Sure, it has an ok split screen mode, but its not worth buying just for that at it’s current price. The developers are still developing this game so they might fix some of these issues in the future. My advice would be to wait till the game is cheaper, and if you are desperate for a split screen platformer buy Sonic 2 on Steam. Even after 20 years it’s still has the best split screen Vs mode in any platformer.
5 misbeats out of 10