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Red Rusher

For: iPhone

Cutting it fine

Product: Red Rusher | Developer: Araso Pandan | Publisher: Araso Pandan | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Endless running, Fighting, Music/ Rhythm | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.2
Red Rusher iPhone, thumbnail 1
When you think about it, there's a surprising shortage of video games starring sharp-suited, cybernetically enhanced, modern-day mafioso samurai on a quest for vengeance.

Thankfully, Red Rusher fills that void, tossing in a reaction-based, rhythm-action-style central mechanic and looking bloody marvelous while it's at it.

Red Rusher is all black and white comic book lines and grainy filter overlays, combining strongly-defined 3D corridor environments with sparingly animated but visually arresting enemies.

And it's all topped off with a barnstorming action soundtrack, just in case you weren't already convinced that Red Rusher is a bit of an aesthetic marvel.

Even better, it's not just in presentation that the game excels. There's a damn fine, and elegantly implemented, reaction-based finger-swiper to enjoy too.

If you're at all familiar with iNiS's Elite Beat Agents and Ouendan games on Nintendo's 3DS, Red Rusher's furious bouts of touchscreen-focused Simon Says-style action should be instantly recognisable.

Deadly digits

Circular prompts appear on-screen as you stride purposefully down each on-rails, first-person corridor level, while enemies fly toward you with swords in hands. Follow the prompts correctly and your opponents fall - fail and you'll meet a sticky end yourself.

Things start off nice and easy. Arrow prompts require that you swipe your finger through them in the direction indicated, with 'Perfect' grades earned for timing your slashes to strike as the outer gauge fills. Perfect grades aren't essential for victory, but they matter a great deal if you're aiming to up your combo points and leaderboard scores.

As you progress through the game's 12 themed levels (that's three different locations, each culminating in a tricky boss fight), a handful of new mechanics are introduced.

Some prompts require that you simply tap their centres, while others ask that you hold your finger in place for a set length of time. Some even combine both holding and swiping, just to complicate matters further.

Nerves of steel

Red Rusher wastes no time in upping the challenge, filling the screen with an ever-escalating number of prompts - even slotting sneaky ones in while you're focusing your attention elsewhere.

There's minimal depth to the action, admittedly, but the game's sheer brute force assault on your senses - not to mention fingers - is utterly compelling. And there's a real compulsion to improve your skills as you begin to appreciate Red Rusher's time-based nuances.

If there's any real complaint, it's that the game's scant fistful of short stages positively fly by. Combine that with a limited set of core mechanics and, despite its many merits, the experience does ultimately feel a little slim.

There's still a surprising amount of moment-by-moment entertainment to be had as you hack and swipe your way to completion - and Red Rusher's rewarding skill-dependent combo system does provide a compelling reason to return, even if it's just for the occasional bout of score-attack finger flicking.

Throw in some wonderful presentation, beautifully implemented touch controls, and, oh, yes, a cyborg dude with a suit and sword, and Red Rusher ain't half bad at all.
Red Rusher
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 1 March 2013
A short, but furious, reaction-based finger swiper with enough solidly entertaining action to match its impressive style
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