Speed runners, you have found your game. Hybrid music game fans, you have found your game. Everyone else, you have found a quirky, fun, addictive, and surprisingly difficult music/platformer to eat away the hours with.
At its core, Rush Bros. is not a particularly complex game. The concept is simple; get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible, and don’t die, all while traversing levels with obstacles that activate to the beat of the background music. You’ll read that description to yourself on Steam or something, and think to yourself “Hm….ok then. Doesn’t sound all that great.” But you would be doing yourself a great disservice by thinking of Rush Bros. too simplistically.
Have you ever experienced something where based off of individual components, the product isn’t that great, but combined with various other components, you suddenly have a good product? For instance, that’s the way I feel about the movie Titanic. Any of the individual components of that movie (story, music, acting, etc.) would have been much more “Meh” on their own, but combined into one cohesive whole, it became the highest grossing movie for a decade and an Academy Award darling.
While I am in no way comparing Rush Bros. to Titanic, my point is that a combination of various things makes Rush Bros. a much more exciting title that the description might indicate. This music deserves a special mention, since it does so much more than just provide some background music to bop your head to.
The obstacles in the game world are tied to the rhythm of the music, which features select tracks by international electronic music sensation Infected Mushroom. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of techno/electronica. There are only a handful of groups that I like, and those are typically ones that go beyond the mindless repetition of “rave” music. Infected Mushroom is one of those groups that I like. I haven’t heard of them prior to the game, but consider me a fan now!
The cool thing about having the timing of the obstacles tied into the rhythm of the music is that is forces you to become a rhythm musician, in a way. I’ve been a musician for most of my life, and when I listen to music, I tend to break it down and listen to individual performances before listening to the song as a whole. While playing Rush Bros. it almost felt like the character you’re controlling, a small DJ of any color of your choosing, is another musician, another layer and component to the overall music.
You time your character’s movements to the music. When you jump across chasms, dodge spikes, traverse moving platforms, whatever the case may be, you’re always doing so to the beat of the music. You inadvertently become a member of the group; a dancer, if you will. You “perform” to the rhythm of the music.
While that’s all fine and good, the game certainly does not make it easy. Through 41 levels of head bopping, platforming goodness you will, probably on more than one occasion, rage quit. At least I did…multiple times. There just comes a point where you’re retrying the same obstacle over and over with the music blaring in the background and the brightly colored art of the game flashing in your eyes, when it just becomes too much. The game just needs to go away for a few minutes while I recuperate. Maybe I’m just getting old.
Rush Bros. also plays like a racing game in the form of racing against your own ghosts, or accepting challenges from other players. The concept isn’t anything groundbreaking, but if you happen to be a racing fan like me where always trying to beat your own time is an obsession, then you’ll find a lot to like about this feature. I probably spent more time trying to beat my own ghosts than actually progressing through the game, and just when I thought I had beaten my best time, I get a challenge. I cannot refuse a challenge.
Also spicing things up are a few different games modes. Under Remix, you can add a number of modifiers to the game, such as Fast Forward (speed things up) or Survival Mode (no checkpoints). For a game that largely consists of the same thing, having Remix handy is a great way to add some variety.
It’s always cool to see a little indie title with a nice idea. Rush Bros. is a fun game with a fantastic soundtrack, and while the overall presentation might end up being a bit of sensory overload, don’t let that stop you from trying this addictive little music platformer out. The price is right ($9.99) on Steam, so go check it out!