In Clumsy Rush, which was developed by NerfGame and published by RedDeerGames, you play as a feckless hippo whose goal is to reach the end of an obstacle course whilst wearing a crown over a series of 47 levels. Clumsy Rush released on Nintendo Switch at £4.99 on December 23rd 2019.
As the title suggests, controlling your hippo is intentionally challenging.
You control your movement by using the L2 and R2 buttons to pivot upon your left and right legs respectively. There is a button that will cause you to rush forward, but if you are wearing the crown it will fall off immediately, rendering this move useless in single-player mode. Each level has a series of hazards that are designed to impede your progress.
Unfortunately, games that revolve around clunky control schemes can sometimes fall on the wrong side of irritating, and this is the case with Clumsy Rush. The single-player mode is quite simply a bust. In spite of the frustrating controls, you cannot fail a level. Even hazards only serve to reverse any progress you have already made. Traversing the levels is incredibly slow and there is no visible timer while you play and therefore no incentive to try and get better completion times. At the end of each level you “win” automatically due to the lack of an opponent. The only other element to the gameplay is cards that apply modifiers at the start of each level. These can vary from slowing you down or speeding you up or changing the time of day.
Clumsy Rush declares itself as a party game but only allows two players to compete simultaneously. The screen splits once players become separated. When playing in two-player rushing at the hippo wearing the crown will cause it to fall. You might have a laugh with a friend as you try to get to grips with the awkward controls, but ultimately there is not enough depth to hold players’ interest for more than a few levels.
Clumsy Rush is visually basic, although there is plenty of colour. The levels are made up of cloud-like blobs and geometric shapes. The playable characters come in a wide variety of wacky costumes and while they fail to make playing as a hippo any more attractive some of them are quite amusing. The game features very little in terms of verbal direction, which can make understanding even the basic mechanics confusing. Emoticons appear on the screen as you play but don’t seem to relate to what is going on.
Music and sound effects in Clumsy Rush are repetitive and irritating, although thankfully both can be switched off if you so desire.
Clumsy Rush is unlikely to hold the attention of anyone other than very young children, and levels quickly become repetitive, especially given the low stakes involved. However, the £4.99 price-point is pretty reasonable and you might have a laugh if you incorporate a couple of drinks into the proceedings.
Don’t expect Clumsy Rush to liven up a party, given its the limited number of maximum players and extremely basic gameplay. The controls are more likely to frustrate than delight.
I give Clumsy Rush the Thumb Culture Bronze Award.
Disclaimer: I received a code in order to write this review.
This article was written by Philip Brook