Could the paranoia be real and all those surveillance cameras observing my day-to-day habits have collected enough data to make a title based on my life: Clumsy Rush? Quite possibly as I seem to be cack-handed with most things, but what’s the game like?
I usually start most of my reviews with “I wasn’t aware of this game” or similar, but with Clumsy Rush, I did actually know about it. I have a habit of sniffing all the dirty cracks on the Nintendo eShop, looking for a decent title, and a lot of the time, I find a good ‘un. In this case, Clumsy Rush came to me just at the right time; it’s still holiday-ish time, and that means lots of opportunities for a multiplayer.
In fear of that being a misleading end sentence, Clumsy Rush is a multiplayer game, and it doesn’t really justify the time as a single-player game as it’s so darn silly (and frustrating), that you need a pal to see you through it and see the funny side of things.
The objective is simple: take your hippo and collect a crown then race to the finish line. That’s all there is to it. The maps and obstacles are both short and limited, but you really wouldn’t want big levels in Clumsy Rush as the controls are crazy. Movements are restrictive to ZL and ZR; you click one button for your left side to step forward and the other to move right. There’s no forward motion or alternative playing style as you need to master this, and boy is it hard.
In the tutorial, it made sense as it felt like all you needed to do was juggle the buttons successively to go in a straight line, but this was deceiving as when you are playing the game, you lose all control. If like me, you alternate each button in time to go forward, think again as the buttons seem to have a mind of their own, and the hippo you control ends up going around in circles. There is the odd occasion where you look like you’re in complete control and sprint a few yards, but without out warning, change direction once again. Bear in mind that your objective is to pick up the crown and reach the finish line. It’s so much easier to write this as playing it tests every level of patience you may have the fortune of possessing.
The multiplayer mode appealed to me more, seeing as this predominantly a party game, and when sharing the frustration with a fellow player, it made the game more bearable and somewhat fun. I want to say that over time you get more used to the controls, but they’re just so unpredictable that you have no idea what will happen. In the rare cases that someone gets better at the game, there are mechanics to stop that progress. The immediate one would be the hippo belly slap. That’s what I’m calling it.
Should your opponent get the crown before you, slap the A button and your hippo will dash forward, belly first and knock the crown out of your opponent’s mitts, allowing for you to pick it back up and head for the finish line. If you can run in a straight line, that is. The second mechanic is the environmental hazards such as oil spillages or objects knicking you out of the way. It’s really not needed as it’s such a challenge to manoeuvre the hippo in the first place, you’re unlikely to see most of the playing areas. Don’t forget that these are small levels. The majority of the time you will run in circles and into the sides – seldom ‘straight down the middle’.
As a party game though, it’s quite limited as you can only have two players. Considering the simplicity of the game, it would arguably have benefitted of four-player local play as the single-player just doesn’t hold it together. In some ways, it’s much like Gang Beasts as it’s a better game with friends, but the controls are better than they are in Clumsy Rush.
Visually it pops, and the colours are bright. If you think there are not enough colours in the rainbow, then Clumsy Rush will challenge that and fit enough variations that it will make a packet of Skittles blush. Other colourful sweets are available. The character models themselves are ok, but everything’s pretty small, so you can’t see the details of the very many different hippos that appear at will. It won’t make an impact on the controls, but it’s a welcome addition to have a variety of hippos in various garments. Not much can be said for the sound effects and music as they blend into the presentation as they should do. I was expecting some annoying sound effects, but glad to be wrong on this occasion as they’re fine. The music does get repetitive, though.
To put this into perspective, Clumsy Rush is a straight-up budget indie title and doesn’t attempt to be anything other than that. I have to say that if it weren’t for the two-player mode, I wouldn’t have played it as much – and even then, it was usually in short bursts which was always measured by my patience levels and whether I could control my hippo or not. In short, I can only recommend this as a two-player game as the one-player mode, while having approximately 50 levels or so of increasing difficulty, did not hold my attention as much as it should.
The sheer delight of watching the other person fumble about and shouting at the controls was pretty satisfying as I had already experienced (and continue to) the frustration in not being able to control your character. Think jumping on a bouncy castle following a few pints over your limit while looking at a reflection of the TV through a wall of fog. That should give you an idea of how this handles. Or maybe it doesn’t. Put simply; the controls are infuriating to the point I would bail on it if it weren’t for someone to play alongside you. Oh, and forget about your fake friends on the internet: this is local play only.
Clumsy Rush Nintendo Switch Review
Forget the elephant in the room; your focus should be on that hippo in a jumpsuit walking in circles on its back legs trying to get to the other side of the garden. You could tackle it yourself, but I’d recommend a friend to help control it.
- Quick, pick up and play party game for two
- Plenty of hippo variety
- Bright and colourful presentation
- Infuriating control and unpredictable
- Two-players max and local play only
- Not enough variety, i.e. game modes
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using Nintendo Switch.