Clumsy Rush has you and a friend racing hippopotamuses by controlling both their left and right legs independently, all with the intent of being the one wearing the crown at the finish line. For players of all ages, this game is one to be played with a friend, laughing at the game’s hilarity with every awkward step of the way. It’s also beautiful that much of the game’s budget and proceeds will be used to support African wildlife and adopt endangered hippopotamus – so much respect!
The gameplay controls are simultaneously simplistic and complicated – easy to learn, difficult to master. With the ultimate goal to get your hippo across the finish line with the crown on its head, you only really have to move in a straight line, which is easier said than done (especially when your friend is trying to dash into you). To move your hippo’s left leg, you press ZL and to move it’s right leg, ZR; the longer you press the trigger, the bigger movement that leg will do. With the A button, you can even throw the crown off of your hippo’s head and dash, really mixing up the gameplay in a pinch.
On that note, Clumsy Rush can either be played solo or with one friend. In single-player mode, it can be argued that the game takes a more strategic approach as due to the admittance of a timer and the pressure of a player to compete against, you’re free to plan out your next moves; whereas with a friend, strategy almost goes out the window as you both clamber and dive over each other to get the crown.
The two-player mode is so much fun as it left myself and the second player in stitches, smiling and laughing from ear-to-ear. However for the entire time we were playing, we also thought that the game would have shined so much brighter if a four-player arena mode was also an option.
Not once did we experience a technical hiccup whilst playing Clumsy Rush. No frame rate dip, no glitch, everything ran as smoothly as you’d imagine, which is very important for a physics-based game such as this.
Clumsy Rush’s biggest shortcoming is its lack of progression. The game contains 47 randomly generated levels that contain no set order, as well 25 random game modifications. There are no set levels with specific challenges to overcome, leaving the player ultimately feeling like their efforts have been for naught as they have nothing to show for their accomplishments.
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Clumsy Rush is completely void of any rumble, which seems like a glaring omission. For its price tag, it didn’t need to be anything extraordinary, however when playing against an opponent and they dash into you, forcing you to drop the crown, a bit of vibration to indicate this would have gone a long way to subconsciously convey to the character this collision and gameplay shift.
Each level is the same in terms of its exterior design however as previously mentioned, Clumsy Rush contains 47 randomly selected generated levels and 25 game modifications. Therefore, these levels can come in the form of oil being on the ground to make traversing slippery whilst having your hippo as ‘chubby’ and giving them a big head; or it could come in the form of only being able to walk backwards on a level riddled with quicksand. The level variety is great, however due to its random nature, it removes any sense of a ramping difficulty and with its lack of progression, the game quickly grows stale and repetitive.
The story? There is no story. Not unless you consider two hippo’s fighting it out to be the last one wearing the crown at the end of a laneway filled with oil spills and randomly placed obstacles as a story. Take of that what you will. The game’s personality however is something to admire as the over-the-top movements of the hippos and the comical announcer allows the game to accentuate its nonsensical wackiness.
Graphics / Art Direction
As you can see from the trailer and screenshots, Clumsy Rush has a very colourful aesthetic, so much to the point where I think I can almost taste the colours… It certainly gets repetitive as the variety lacks from level-to-level, but it’s easy on the eyes for players of all ages.
Music / Sound Design
As is the same with the Clumsy Rush’s art direction, the soundtrack is colourful and upbeat, allowing Clumsy Rush to be suitable for all ages. However, it also shares another trait with the artwork as it is very repetitive, to the point where the game seems to mesh together into one big colourful blur.
Final Score: 60%
Clumsy Rush has a very solid framework for a game that could have been so much more. With the randomised level generation, the game is void of any progression, the lack of a party arena mode leaves all but two party guests without a controller and the repetitive graphics and soundtrack hinders long play sessions. However with all that said, the game is a lot of fun at its core, especially with two players competing over the crown, it just needed more content to be worth more than its $4.99USD price tag.
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