Review: RUSH (PC)

Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Two Tribes B.V.
Publisher: Two Tribes B.V.
Release Date: 12/4/2010

When I first volunteered to review RUSH I thought it would be some sort of racing game, so imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a puzzle game where you organize rolling cubes. Initially, that didn’t sound like an appealing game to me but it turns out that RUSH is developed by the same people who made Toki Tori, a game which received positive reviews from fellow DHGF writers Chris Bowen (iPhone version) and Nathan Birch (Wii version).

So does Two Tribes cement its reputation as a solid puzzle game developer?

1. Story/Modes

There really isn’t a story in RUSH, but that’s okay because I didn’t expect a story in Tetris either so why should I start now?

As far as modes go, you really have just one: Finish all the levels. You get 70 levels divided into various difficulty levels that get harder as you go on, pretty simple and effective.

In addition, there are “Bonus” levels that are regularly updated provided you join the RUSH steam group. (How this will work if they release it outside steam, I don’t know.)

The only glaring thing missing from this game is a level editor. RUSH, being a game completely composed out of cubes, should be an incredibly easy game to incorporate a level editor into, even easier than Toki Tori!

Story/Modes rating: Above Average

2. Graphics

As far as graphics go, I think RUSH is one of the best looking puzzle games I’ve seen.

Yeah I know, that’s not saying much but for a game that completely revolves around cubes, Two Tribes has done a good job. Even on a modest PC, the cubes look nice with rounded edges and bloom lighting everywhere makes things look like some futuristic cubist convention. It’s a perfect example of how art style can overcame technical limitations in graphics.

There’s nothing here that will absolutely blow your mind, but just like I don’t expect a story in a puzzle game, I don’t expect good graphics either and it’s nice that Two Tribes at least put some effort in to create a unified art style.

Graphics rating: Good

3. Sound

Complementing the futuristic “spacey” graphics is a techno-pop soundtrack that perfectly matches the art style. The tunes aren’t the best I’ve heard but they’re catchy enough that I was humming them a few hours after I finished playing a session so they must have done something right! It kind of reminded me of some of the techno-pop music in Super Monkey Ball 2 on Gamecube.

As far as voice acting goes, there is a robotic computer voice which acts as an announcer. A nice touch and another point for Two Tribes on making a unified art style for the game.

Sound rating: Enjoyable


The gameplay in RUSH is, like most good puzzle games, deceptively simple. It is full of incredible complexity that is hidden by a simple premise and cute, simple graphics.

Essentially, cubes come out of little portals and you have to move them to another portal of the same color, if they hit a wall they will turn to their right and if they fall of the stage or crash into each other you fail.

You can influence the movement of the squares with tiles you can place in their path, the most common being arrow tiles, followed by splitter tiles (which send one cube in one direction and the next cube in an opposite direction), followed by conveyor belt tiles (which shift a cube in a direction but do not influence it’s movement) and finally stop tiles (which causes cubes to hesitate for a moment).

It may seem that such a simple game doesn’t allow for much variety but Two Tribes stuffed the game full with over seventy levels of intricately designed stages. The latter and bonus stages in particular caused my brain to shut down. So in essence Two Tribes really outdid themselves with the level design in RUSH.Some levels can even be solved in different ways which is always a hallmark of a well-designed puzzle game.

If you’re having trouble, there’s always a hint system in place and unlike many games, RUSH doesn’t punish you for using it or even for failing stages. You can try as many times as you like and you’re never rushed through by a time limit or anything, thus allowing you to work at the puzzles at your own pace (which is ironic considering the game is called RUSH).

This makes the game a perfect time waster and with its modest system requirements, you can waste time wherever you take your laptop!

Control/Gameplay rating: Great

5. Replayability

Since there is no level editor, it’s not possible to download extra fan-made levels which is a shame considering the utter wealth of creativity shown in many user created modifications and levels these days. Considering there really isn’t ANYTHING to do after you beat all the included levels, that’s kind of depressing.

You get around 70 levels for your purchase of the game which should keep you busy for quite a while but Two Tribes graciously keep adding new free stages in the “bonus” section of the game so there are always puzzles to look forward to.

But still, if only they allowed users to create stages as well, we wouldn’t have to wait until Two Tribes finishes their updates.

Replayability rating: Decent

6. Balance

The game is split into several difficulty levels, starting obviously with the tutorials, moving onto easy, normal and finally hard. The levels do a good job of steadily increasing in difficulty as you unlock them though sometimes you are hit with a particularly fiendish puzzle. Thankfully with a little ingenuity and use of the hint system you can get past them.

Except some of the levels in hard, some of those levels were designed by Satan himself and I don’t think I’ll ever solve them without a complete video walkthrough.

Oh, and the bonus levels might as well be placed in the “hard” section (though a couple would go into medium).

Balance: Above Average

7. Originality

As I was playing RUSH, I felt that I had played this game before but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Was it Lemmings? No, it’s not that. But I then recalled where I had seen this before! It was Star Wars: Pit Droids on the PC over a decade ago! Sure, that game had a little more resemblance to Lemmings and took place on an isometric hex grid rather a 3D cube world but the similarities are there: You use Arrows to guide objects (Pit Droids or Cubes) to a destination around various hazards.

This isn’t new actually. Toki Tori is based on an old game called Egbert but since no one has played Pit Droids, I’ll forgive Two Tribes for taking the idea and running with it.

Originality rating: Enjoyable

8. Addictiveness

One thing I hate more than anything else in games is time limits. I really don’t like being rushed or pressured to do something within a certain time frame (I have enough of that in real life thank you very much) so this manifests itself into an intense hate for seemingly excellent titles like Pikmin. (Also it might explain why I am such an enthusiast for turn based games.)

Thankfully, RUSH has no time limits or pressure of any kind. Make as much mistakes as you wish, use the hint system as much as you wish and go to the bathroom and think about the puzzle if you want. It’s totally your call. This makes the game quite addictive as you can get your fix whenever you want like a drug dealer who gives you drugs for free and according to your schedule.

And since this game runs easily on laptops you can take it virtually everywhere you go!

Now if those late levels didn’t induce a blind rage in me….

Addictiveness rating: Great

9. Appeal Factor

With the success of titles like Puzzle Quest, Bejeweled, and Toki Tori, puzzle games are an increasingly profitable genre in gaming as many of them feature low difficulty curves very suited to casual gamers and intense logical challenges for more experienced puzzle fiends.

However, Bejeweled 3 is right around the corner and there is no bigger release on the puzzling calendar bigger than that. Even the goodwill of Toki Tori might not overcome that release despite being only a five dollar title.

Appeal Factor rating: Decent

10. Miscellaneous

While it kind of sucks for there to be no level editor mode, you have to give props to Two Tribes for giving free regular updates and levels to everyone who bought the game. This is especially awesome considering that the game retails for five bucks and not twenty dollars or more that other games charge.

Miscellaneous rating: Very Good

The Scores

Story/modes: Above Average
Graphics: Good
Sound: Enjoyable
Control and Gameplay: Great
Replayability: Decent
Balance: Above Average
Originality: Enjoyable
Addictiveness: Great
Appeal Factor: Decent
Miscellaneous: Very Good

FINAL SCORE: Enjoyable Game!

Short Attention Span Summary

With RUSH, Two Tribes pretty much secured their reputation as a company that does pretty good puzzle games. If you liked Lemmings or Toki Tori, then more likely than not you’ll like the cuboid puzzling action that RUSH provides despite it being a slow, patient game that has a title that sounds like the next contender in the arcade racing genre.



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