The Nintendo eStore is enjoying a current spate of puzzle games and here is one of the better ones. RUSH is a clever and tricky puzzle game played entirely on the GamePad where you’re presented with a rotatable platform in 3D space that can be rotated around, a little like the Captain Toad levels in the latest 3D Mario Game (and the upcoming spin-off). On this grid of boxes, with holes in the floor and taller block obstacles are one or more spaces that fire boxes off in a particular, displayed, direction. Your job is to use a tool box of items to place arrows or other items onto squares to direct these boxes from their creation point to their similarly coloured home square without letting them crash into each other or fall off the space. Sort of like Lemmings but with faceless boxes.
As your disposal you have a variety of tools. There are the direction arrows which send your boxes off in a different direction; a split square that will send boxes that touch it either left or right, alternating each time; stop signs that will pause a block that touches it momentarily to help avoid collisions; warp boxes that act like portals sending blocks from one part of the grid to another; and conveyors which move the box in a particular direction, but their direction of movement remains unchanged when they leave the conveyor belt.
You can also use the environment to your advantage, as blocks hitting a wall will spin 90 degrees to their right.
Levels can be rotated with the analogue sticks or your finger in a fully controllable 3D space to make sure you see everything clearly, definitely useful when you get into the harder, more visually themed, bonus stages. Just be cautious with finger control, though, as it’s often easy to place markers you don’t want to instead of spinning the action.
RUSH is a very colourful game and though it’s not going to challenge your WiiU graphically it’s much more than the beefed up smartphone games that are available on the system. The backgrounds are visual and well-designed whilst not being distracting, mixing bright vibrant colours with clean, modern whites and silvers, and the blocks are colourful, and like all good puzzle games it’s satisfying to watch all the blocks following the path you have set and exploding at the end as they reach their home, the mesmerising dance of a stage heading for a successful conclusion is a beauty to watch.
There are four sections to the game after the helpful tutorial stages which quickly and easily take you through the core concepts of the game, split into difficulty alongside bonus stages. Each level has a title that hints at its design, and as you progress through stages more get unlocked in your chosen difficulty, with some flexibility in the order you tackle them, until the next level of challenge is also revealed.
If you do get stuck levels have up to two hints which show you things like where squares should be placed (but not which ones) but aside from telling you you’ve used hints there doesn’t seem to be any major penalties in the game with no time limits or pains for failure, and you can restart at any point.
Outside of the simple, but enjoyable visuals, RUSH boasts some very listenable electronic music tracks that are both puzzle-game-friendly calming but with hints of tension, alongside the occasional synth-voice. It all combines to create a package that shows a little bit more TLC and time spent on it. Even the credits screen, available on a sparse menu of options with the usual tweakable elements, is playable.
RUSH doesn’t really utilise the television much other than mirroring what’s on the screen – this is a game you’ll play just on the GamePad – but unlike a game like ‘Color Zen’ the television relays the full experience music and all. It’s a shame they couldn’t have offered a more button-based control scheme so you could use the television more, but it’s only a minor fault.
I would definitely recommend picking up RUSH. Its overall concept is well thought out and designed and it has a steady, but challenging, difficulty level; don’t think that the easy stages will be all simple. Some, like the ‘Marching Band’ look trickier than they are from first view and some are more trial and error than logicially working them out, but there are some refreshingly tricky concepts even early on, making it all the more satisfying when you beat them.
There’s plenty to enjoy in this challenging, visually and musically stimulating, intuitive game that feels more than just a ported smartphone app, offering you some truly great gameplay that will suck you in for longer play times than others on the system. Plus, at only £1.79 for eighty puzzles you don’t even need to worry about the cost. Download it now!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii U code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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