Pix’n Love Rush Review—Closer to the Heart


At first glance from the screenshots, Pix’n Love Rush from Sanuk Games appears to be a retro styled platforming game. But, while it’s based around platforming elements, it’s not a platformer in the retro sense. Instead, it has short, quick levels, thus the “Rush” in the title. Unless there’s a cleverly hidden Geddy Lee in it someplace that I missed.

There are three different game modes: Classic Rush, Cursed Rush, and On-Off Rush. Though they all share some common elements, they all play quite differently. Each mode and variation has its own high score table, but this only keeps track of the highest score in that mode.

Classic Rush makes me think of the Moving Pictures album, but it’s really the game’s main mode. The goal is twofold: collect circles with a ‘+’ inside of them, and shoot bats (or maybe spiders). The catch is that you need to avoid collecting a circle with a ‘-’ inside it or hitting what looks to be a bee with a halo on it.

Default graphics and background

Default graphics and background

All the while navigating the level, which is scrolling. Each level scrolls a different way, up or down or left or right. If you don’t keep up with the scrolling, you will die. This is especially tricky on the levels where you are climbing upwards. Down is also a bit tricky, as your main character is somewhat chubby and won’t fall through a hole unless you place him just right.

Further complicating things are the graphics. They change as the combo score meter increases. This change is meant to echo the progression of old video game systems, starting very early and working its way up to the Game Boy and even Virtual Boy. It’s a very neat effect, if not always accurate (most early video games were quite blocky, not pixelated), but it makes an already fairly tricky game even harder.

There are two options here, 5-Minute and Infinite. As you may guess, 5-minute lasts for 5 minutes, though the game will end before that time if you run out of health. Infinite, on the other hand, is untimed; the game is over when your health runs out. You get enough to play for a few minutes at least, even if you are bad at it.

Vectrex, maybe?

Vectrex, maybe?

Cursed Rush is a survival mode, playing not unlike I Must Run! You have to navigate the course (it scrolls to the right) for as long as you can. There are five difficulty settings here, which basically seem to make the course smaller and smaller, allowing for less margin of error.

On-Off Rush is my favorite mode. You move horizontally, collecting either sun or moon symbols. The ones you want to get depend on whether it’s day or night. On the first pass through, you must collect symbols of one type. But, when you reach the end of the level (or an on-off switch), you bounce off and go back the other way with the time of day changed, and you now have to collect the other.

This has two different variations, Arcade and Puzzle. Both are timed, but in Puzzle, you play until you have grabbed all the symbols in the level, while in Arcade, you simply make one pass (both ways) through the level. In both cases, if you pick up several symbols in a row, you get a little bit of additional time.

Virtual Boy

Virtual Boy

While I don’t think it’s particularly accurate (as I said before, retro graphics tended to be blocky, at least on home consoles), the retro graphic style looks pretty neat and is both detailed and varied. “Charming” is perhaps the word that describes it best.

The music is quite retro as well. The theme used in the main menu is almost unbearable, being comprised of abrasive beeps and bloops. But, the music once you actually play is quite nice, apparently something composed on Game Boy hardware.

It seems this was originally an iPhone game (by Pastagames and BulkyPix), but you really wouldn’t know it from the excellent port by Sanuk Games. Indeed, I can’t imagine playing this without buttons and a D-pad (you can also use the analog nub to move, if you want).

Game Boy-style graphics

Game Boy-style graphics

I think Pix’n Love Rush is one of those titles that you either love or hate. If you liked Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess and I Must Run!, you’ll probably like this a lot. If you are looking for a real retro platformer, like Jumpman, Super Mario Bros., or Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle, you’ll be disappointed in this.

I fall more on the latter side, but even so, I can see the effort and sheer love of gaming that went into this title. Not only in the graphics and how they evolve but in the amount of modes and variations on those modes. In a way, it reminds me of a musical; much like Grease wasn’t an accurate portrayal of the 1950s, Pix’n Love Rush is a campy, more modern take simply using the trappings of the past.


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11 Responses to “Pix’n Love Rush Review—Closer to the Heart”
  1. Shazbots says:

    I was actually expecting something like Super Mario bros platforming with level progression and a small funny story. The still fun, but I bough it thinking that it was a platformer =(

  2. djax says:

    9.5 for me.

  3. BBoy says:

    I love Super Mario Bros. and I really like this game.
    It’s so addictive. :-)

  4. Freelance says:

    Definitely high up in the Top 10 Minis list for me!

  5. volcane says:

    This is an absolutely fantastic game – I’m loving it :-) I can’t get the in-game music out of my head! :-)

  6. ZOMBIE WINE GUM says:

    10/10 for me this game is just brilliant and very cheap. I love all of the different graphic styles.

  7. ZOMBIE WINE GUM says:

    Also i think that the second graphic style shown may be daarwania…… not too sure though.

  8. ZOMBIE WINE GUM says:

    darwania, spelling mistake, sorry.

  9. soulcoast says:

    Amazing!! Incredible how fun can give a 12 megabits game. It’ s one of my favorite minis with who’s that flying.

  10. AG Awesome says:

    Id love to see a sequel that leaves the Arcade behind and moves on to a Platforming adventure ala Super Mario Bros. Kinda like how Mario Bros moved on to Super Mario Bros!

  11. lovejv says:

    I’ve bought it ! Awesome :)

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