I have a love/hate relationship with puzzle games. Most of them tend to be more hate than love because the puzzles are either too easy, or too easy to be exploited. A lot of recent puzzlers try to follow the Braid formula, where an all-encompassing narrative is used to justify any sort of puzzle mechanics in the game. That’s fine, when it works, but often times it doesn’t, and half the time you end up not caring about the story anyway.
Two Tribes’ RUSH is not one of those games. It’s a straight-up puzzle game that provides a clean, direct, simple way to get my noggin juice a-flowin, without any wacky story to get in the way, and it’s exactly what the doctor ordered to sate my love of puzzle games.
The objective of RUSH is simple: get the colored cubes to their corresponding goals. One look at a RUSH level and you might be confused, but it’s a lot more intuitive than one might think. You control when the cubes spawn with a “press play” button on the corner, at which point they begin to travel one direction, and one direction only. Before pressing play, you’ll have to figure out how to get the colored cubes to their homes. To do so, RUSH provides you with a limited selection of various tiles in each level to alter the movement of each cube. If you were to place a left turn tile in the route of one of the cubes, for example, all those cubes in that route would turn left. Using these tiles, you have to get all the cubes in their places safely.
It sounds pretty easy, and yeah, the first few levels are an absolute cakewalk, but the difficulty ramps up, and ramps up quick. The levels are separated by difficulty, and by the time I got to the Medium levels, I was sweating my way through some of the puzzles. The additions of more complex tiles, such as the Stop tile and the alternating directional tile, definitely do their part in making your puzzle life a whole lot harder.
Luckily, for those of you who are smart but aren’t puzzle-smart, RUSH provides an excellent hint system that provides you with all the tools to solve the puzzles, without outright giving you the solution. You get two hints: the first hint tells you which of the tiles you’ve placed on the level are placed correctly, and the second hint tells you where tiles should be, but don’t offer specifics of which type of tiles belong where. Even with the second hint in play, figuring out where specific tiles go is a feat in itself, so when you finally do solve the puzzle, it’s still satisfying.
And by satisfying, I mean satisfying. Perhaps the best part of an intricate, complicated puzzle (and the game) is clicking “play” once you finally find the solution; all the cubes flow and dance around in a visual orgasm that’s almost therapeutic in its beauty. The visuals of this game are clean and polished, what the world of TRON would look like inside a MacBook, and putting the cubes into play creates a sense of organized chaos that truly creates a cathartic experience.
With over 70 levels, you’ll probably be banging your head halfway in. Still, RUSH is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, or a slow day at work. I can’t say I found anything wrong with the game; perhaps its only flaw is that it’s too harmless, too sterile looking. Personally, I adore the aesthetic, but I realize it might not be for all. Still, this is a solid puzzle game that feels tailored to all ages; you really shouldn’t let its looks scare you away. Coming from Two Tribes, the same guys that made the insanely successful Toki Tori for iOS, WiiWare, and Steam, it’s no surprise that RUSH is such a fantastic entry in the puzzle genre, and a game that I’d wholeheartedly recommend not just to gamers, but to everyone.
- Title: RUSH
- Platform Reviewed: PC
- Developer: Two Tribes
- Publisher: Two Tribes
- Release Date: Available Now
- MSRP: $4.99
- Review Copy Info: A download copy of this title was provided to DualShockers, Inc. by the developer for the purpose of this review.