After an earlier release on Steam, Rush is making its way to Playstation VR. Developer The Binary Mill made sure it was ready just in time for the holidays, giving us a few high octane thrills just before the season of relaxing with family and friends starts. Here are our thoughts.
Pretty quickly after booting up Rush, my thoughts went back to a somewhat little known PS3 title called Skydive: Proximity Flight. It took the extreme sport of flying with a wingsuit and brought it to the PS3 with impressive graphics and support for motion controls – I believe it used the gyroscope inside the Dualshock gamepad as well as give you the option to try it with Move controllers. It was neat to try out, but the novelty quickly wore off and the game didn’t quite present the thrills you’d associate with the real life counterpart.
Enter Rush, a VR approach to the sport by The Binary Mill that takes the same concept but places it inside a first person perspective with the ability to use Move controllers to help give you the sensation you’re really steering yourself with your arms while soaring through the air. And sure enough, whisking past cliffs and trees when you feel it’s “you” is definitely more thrilling than controlling a character from a third person perspective.
As with Proximity Flight, Rush doesn’t just offer a single control method – it actually offers a bunch as well as the option to mix and match elements like head control, gamepads and Move controllers. I went with what I felt was the most accurate match for the real thing (arms outstretched with Move controllers in my hands), but it’s nice to know that the game caters for those who are less comfortable with VR headsets and/or motion controllers as well.
Rush features three main gameplay modes, though all three are somewhat similar. There’s your basic race mode, where you zoom down a course and try to beat AI (or human) opponents to the finish line. You can’t freestyle your way down though, as you need to fly through rings to get there or risk getting a time penalty that might cost you dearly at the end. Flying close to obstacles and edges earns you boost, which comes in handy during the other modes as well.
Exploring those modes, it’s easy to see how they differ from race mode – time attack emphasizes speed while score attack challenges you to fly somewhat dangerously in order to gain the biggest score multipliers. Regardless of the mode you pick, your way down doesn’t differ that much between them – but it’s good to know that Rush features no less than 80 paths to choose from, even though they’re divided among only four different game areas.
What will no doubt help with the game’s lasting appeal is the fact that Rush can be played online with almost a dozen players joining you at once. Besides jumping down and getting to the finish line first, there’s also a lobby that allows you to have a bit of casual fun – especially if you’re playing with motion controllers and start interacting with objects and/or other players.
Audiovisually, Rush is an impressive VR title from a small team, though it shows VR’s limitations at the same time. Proximity Flight is over five years old and looks richer in detail than Rush does, but much of that is due to the power-hungry experience that is Playstation VR. It’s easy to forget the detail that was sacrificed though, as Rush features expansive landscapes that are never boring to look at. It’s also aided by excellent sound design, which excels mostly in the little touches. It won’t blow bystanders away, but the “whoosh” effect when soaring past obstacles definitely adds to the immersion of the player.
Rush is certainly a fun experience that you can jump right into, even though it does get repetitive after a while when playing in solo mode. Proximity Flight was the same, but Rush has the appeal of the multiplayer mode to make up for it. As long as the community gets and stays on board, I look forward to flying my way down a few mountains over the holidays.