At PAX Prime, I had the chance to check out Bust-N-Rush, a 3D endless runner, with Leif Dahl, the creative director, and Scott Miller, the CEO, of Techtonic Games.
The first thing I noticed was the old-school vibe the game gave me. The way they used music, the difficulty level, and the ability to challenge friends to beat your high score all worked together to give a very arcade-game vibe. On the other hand, the game is perfectly modern, supporting social media interaction and featuring 3D graphics.
Something that sets Bust-N-Rush apart from many other runners is the procedural level-generation system. The levels are being built as you play, almost at random, so the player can’t memorize the layout of the game. This increases the fun, challenge, and replayability of the game. I asked them if it was possible to get something impossibly hard, like three pits in a row, and they assured me that they have systems in place to prevent that from happening.
If the player continues to survive, the level gets more and more complicated. Interestingly, so does the music. As you begin, the music has one chord. As the level progresses, other notes and instruments enter, until eventually you have some complex yet oddly-exhilarating and exciting music. This was another little touch that gave me the old-school vibe.
There are three different levels with different difficulties as well: underground, in outer space, and indoors.
There is also a Transitional level (only available in the special edition) which combines pieces from all three levels.
Bust-N-Rush has three modes: Survival, Quest, and Bust a Friend. Survival is the standard mode, where users must avoid obstacles such as chasms and whatnot, and Quest mode adds the element of tasks to this standard mode. The player runs up to a quest icon and then attempts to complete a task while running the course.
I played Quest mode, and let me just say that, for someone who does not normally play runners, these quests are both simple yet challenging. I was unable to complete any of them on my first few tries.
The multiplayer “Bust a Friend” mode allows users to challenge friends from social networks and earn spots on leader boards. Basically, you get an awesome score, then you use the in-game system to challenge a friend to beat you. They can hop on right away or answer the challenge whenever they feel like it. The two of you can go back and forth like you’re each visiting the arcade to beat the other’s high score.
There is also something called Insane Mode, which, according to Dahl, was the original setting for the game, until they added a health system to make the game more accessible.
Overall, I enjoyed the challenging nature of this game, the creativity behind the musical theme, and the inclusion of a socially-interactive section. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I am a fan of bringing games back to the old school level of challenge, but as someone who rarely visits an arcade, I love the re-imagination of the friendly challenge of “bet ya can’t beat my score!”
The game goes on sale September 14th for $9.99. For $5 more, you can get the special edition, which includes an extra copy of the game (for your best friend or little sister), the Transitional world, the soundtrack, and game wallpaper.
Based on the preview alone, I would rate this game an A for fans of endless runners.