A developer by the name of Team Sollmo is attempting to bring it’s version of the action-role-playing game genre to the social-mobile space in the form of Buddy Rush — it’s simplified, asynchronous and ultra-cute. Available cross-platform for both Facebook and iOS, we got to take an early look at the Facebook half, but watch for it in the app store very soon.
An action RPG, Buddy Rush pits players into a cartoonish world filled with goofy looking characters that apparently came straight from the bobble-head store. With its bizarre art style and simple point and click play, it’s a game that ought to be appealing to many social users. Along with the prospect of playing asynchronously with friends’ avatars, this simplistic app is actually a good deal of fun for the short amount of times players can play; which is especially useful with its iPhone and iPad counterparts.
Players start out by selecting one of seven different character classes, each of which set the stage for the game’s satirical nature (e.g. a “warrior” is now a “worrier). Depending on one’s play style, users can become everything from armor clad knights to some sort of skimpily dressed hula girl with each one boasting very different abilities, and they can create more than one.
Once created, users are then able to accept missions that send them out into a world of a highly geometric and color saturated nature, reminiscent of older games such as Animal Crossing.
Once in the mission space, players battle with random enemies in order to complete whatever goal it sets forth. Thus far, however, most of the missions have been of a “fetch” variety, meaning that they consist of collecting X item or killing Y monsters. Nevertheless, the game has very literally just released, thus new iterations will be coming, and this may change at higher levels. In fact, when players wander about town, they will come across a pair of non-player characters that offer special challenges and dungeons for users that are level 40+.
The combat itself is a bit basic, so it may not appeal to social game players that lean more towards the core gaming demographic. Essentially, players point and click to automatically attack enemies, and eventually begin unlocking upgradable special abilities that can be cast periodically (for example, the ranger-type character class will unlock an ability that shoots multiple arrows at once). Thus far, however, only three skill slots appear to be available in battle, so players will have to pick and choose what is best for the mission at hand.
It’s also worth noting that many enemies require a bit more attention to contend with. It’s not always point and click. As an example, there is an early enemy called an “oblin” (a goblin), that will target a player and toss a large bolder. Should the user not move once it is thrown, they will suffer significant damage. Granted, this isn’t that extravagant, but it does suggest that more interesting enemies may appear at higher levels. Additionally, with each successive mission, larger swarms of creatures also becomes a standard.
This is where the primary social play comes in. Players are actually able to form a party with any two friends who are also playing, and are roughly the same level as them (NPC characters are also available). The system works very similarly to the iOS game, Gun Bros, but the key difference is that if enough friends play, users can pick and choose classes that best complement the class choice they are playing (e.g. if the player is a ranged class, using friend avatars that are melee is a prudent choice). Furthermore, friend avatars will make use of all of the skills they have learned, come with all the equipment said friend is wearing, and will even earn bonus experience for being used.
Truthfully, the biggest downside is that there is no synchronous option for this. That isn’t to say the asynchronous element is bad. It’s not. In fact, it’s better than most social gamers. But the option for synchronous play would still be great. Other than that, the game is a bit simple and repetitive, but game sessions are gated by slowly recharging stamina (which is consumed with each mission), so play doesn’t really last long enough, at any given time, to cause boredom all that quickly.
It’s also worth noting that with the ability to quickly do all the missions one’s stamina can handle in a short burst of time, it is an ideal, on-the-go game for a mobile device. All that said, players can always recharge their stamina by purchasing potions from an in-game vendor with in-game currency. Still, it’s worth noting that currency is slow to earn; at least early on (but it can be bought with Facebook Credits).
Overall, Buddy Rush is a pretty fun game with a cute visual style. Of course, if you are looking for something terribly deep, it’s not going to be found here. All the same, this new title does make for a guilty pleasure in its simplicity, and is especially addictive with more friends. It could be a little more interesting with its mission system though, and its hard to say how interesting monsters will become at later levels due to the stamina gating. Nonetheless, early impressions of the game are positive, so here’s hoping it does well.