On Rusty Trails PC Review
Hard to see where you are
Puzzle platformers have been redone numerous time, many with different styles and approaches, and On Rusty Trails is a creative concoction of all of them. Set in a seemingly dystopian alien world, you play a small triangle shaped man trying to find a home after his is destroyed. With a seemingly simple premise, this deceptively deep tale follows the journey of our protagonist Elvis as he fights against the clock and a tyrannical race of oppressors.
The major thing that would draw anyone to this game is its very interesting art style. It’s somehow alien and dystopian, while having some future feel to it as well. A mostly industrial background tells an entire backstory of red triangle people being harassed and oppressed by larger blue creatures in its subtle advertising and posters. Because there’s no voices or cut scenes to really speak of, it’s a cool way to add a lot of enjoyment and depth to what could be just another platformer. The red and blue dynamic isn’t just an artistic choice, as it leads to the main power of “shifting” between red and blue blocks that disappear from your path based on your opposite color. Problems do arise however since Elvis himself is so small and hard to see that he can be lost in the background, which for a platformer is a major problem. While the graphics are certainly good, I do wish that an update would address the hero’s size or visibility.
Hard to see hero aside, the gameplay is excellent and the shifting mechanic is a definite stroke of genius, as it adds so much to the problem of what would normally be a simple task. Much like what Portal did to make us think differently, the shifting forces you to use your brain, instead of just speed running it and hoping for the best. Not just the color shifting, but the fact that Elvis sticks to each block, allowing him to walk around the whole platform is a rare treat from this type of game, and challenges you even further. Here you are also rewarded for your ingenuity, as you collect items that can either be used to make a checkpoint, or you can hold on to them to get a much better score. This is a neat idea I haven’t seen before that makes it easy to begin, but hard to master, making it better for everyone. More experienced players have a lot to look for in On Rusty Trails, as there are so many levels that it will be a challenge to finish, yet each level is different enough to not seem repetitive. With right controls, a backstory, and plenty of secrets or extra challenges, there’s a lot of content for not so much prince.
There’s a lot to like from this game when its genre is so over saturated that it would be easy to lump it together with other less distinguished titles. Breaking the mold is no easy task, but incorporating elements from so many games, yet making it your own has made it memorable.