Developer: Brownmonster Limited Available on: Nintendo, PC (Steam), Mobile
Price: $4.99 (mobile) ($14.99) Switch & Steam
Driving games are simple games. You push a button to go and another to brake. All driving games focus on these basic mechanics, and some players can rightfully be put off by them. There is another rule in video games: it isn't what you have but what you do with it. Rush Rally Origins isn't an ordinary racing game.
It's you, the dirt, and the journey to becoming the best racing champion around. Players partake in a large variety of courses and races to be the very best rally racer around. There is no single-player career to speak of. Just the events and the choice to partake in them. Rush Rally Origins has 36 courses. These include tournaments, time trials, and A-B Race Modes. The trick is Rush Rally Origins is based on real-world rally racing data.
Thunder in the Woods
Developer Brownmonster Limited incorporated his enthusiasm for rally racing into the game to create an accessible but realistically portrayed rally racing experience. Rush Rally Origins isn't on the scale of the WRC games, but it has its own genuine feel, from vehicular handling to encountering the various elements of the track.
Nothing stops a rally race. Every new element is just another challenge to overcome. Mud, gravel, and thunderstorms are just some of the elements plays encounter during the course of the game. How a car handles each element is entirely dependent on speed, the car's setup, and the element. Rush Rally Origins does a fantastic job of having every element driven on feel very different and distinct from the others.
Risk and Reward
The challenge of beating a time becomes all the more intense as risk versus reward takes over. Going full throttle into a bump or turn could lead to shaving a second off of time or a crash into a tree. Learning to turn and drift becomes not an obstacle to learn but a skill to achieve as each surface responds differently to turning and handling. Cars are upgradeable for those looking to tinker with their vehicles. Earning a medal earns one upgrade point to use to adjust their cars.
There's a remarkably old-fashioned style to the racing that is both nostalgic and fresh. As racing games today feature modern exotic cars screaming through an urban jungle, Rush Rally Origins is pure and peaceful yet incredibly enjoyable. The nostalgia comes from other isometric racers of the past, such as Power Drive in 1994 and Over Top on the Neo Geo CD. Such racers dominated the scene back in the day.
The Need for Speed
Rush Rally Origins brings back the sensation of an arcade classic to the modern audience. Racing and running through the trees of the Canadian Wilderness and conquering turns is sensational. Driving across the various terrains of the world has a greater impact than most racers. Each part of the world feels different, from Greece to the United States. The game runs at a silky smoother 60fps to give a fresh feeling of speed and acceleration.
Some may compare this to Art of Rally, which I reviewed here last year and thought of it one of the best racing games of 2022. While the two games are similar, they are significantly different. Art of Rally uses a minimalistic approach to racing with a dreamy synthwave environment. Rush Rally Origins puts players into the nitty gritty realism of a rugged car on untamed terrain. Both are equally satisfying games, but Rush Rally Origins has the more authentic tone.
Rough It Up
Rush Rally Origins is simply a good, enjoyable game. The only big complaint can be a lack of licensed or original music. That's a small scratch on the paint compared to the overall game. It's a nice throwback to earlier times with plenty to do and experience. Every victory feels satisfying, and every track feels new. Racing through the element and conquering them has never felt so good.
It's clear that the developer loves the sport immensely and wants to make something that shares that excitement with others. With plenty of cars and tracks to choose from, various challenges, and an incredible arcade presentation, Rush Rally Origins is a roaring good time.
Rush Rally Origins was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch OLED.