The Nintendo Switch has seen its fair share of “Mobile” games over the years, for the most part, these offerings always feel a bit lacklustre and generally slip into the category of lazy ports. To add insult to injury these ports usually come with a high price tag compared to their often free mobile counterparts with little to nothing to justify the price. So it is refreshing to see Rush Rally Origins come to Switch despite being crafted as a mobile rally experience, but does this racer hit all the right checkpoints or does it spin out at the gates? Let’s take a look.
From Start to Finish
Rush Rally Origins is the fourth in the series though not technically a sequel to Rush Rally 3. Instead, the game is intended to blend the top-down racing style of the original with the updated graphics and physics of RR3 to show where the series began and where it is now and to be honest, it’s in a very good place. Unlike RR3 which is more of a sim experience, RRO provides a healthy dose of single-player arcade-style action in the palm of your hand, and in this case, the palm of my hands were holding a firm, well balanced and pleasing Nintendo Switch… you thought I was going to say something dodgy then didn’t you!
RRO offers three core game modes, Time Trial, Championship and Race. They probably speak for themselves but let’s break it down a little bit. Time Trial is a traditional rally, race through tracks and hit the checkpoints in the best time possible. There are three target times to strive for that will award you with either a bronze, silver or gold medal. Championship set’s you in a series of events where you must compete to be top of the scoreboard and race is a good old fashioned multicar sprint featuring five AI opponents on the track. There are no multiplayer events which some may see as a bit of a letdown but personally, I prefer having a game that is catered towards the gamers with no friends.
Around the world in 36 stages
Within each game mode is a wide range of tracks set across several countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Kenya and beyond, each location is well designed and adds a welcomed dose of variation to terrain types from loose gravel to thick snow. A good selection of cars are on hand and the more you race with them the more upgrade points you’ll earn to adjust performance factors as well as the option for cosmetic changes. The scenery is superb and although the cars are not licensed, they look the part, anyone who has half a clue about cars will be able to gauge what models they are based on. RRO is a tidy little package that feels like it should be all hidden behind paywalls and timed cooldowns but blissfully it’s free of microtransactions allowing us to just get on with the action.
So, with all these great locations to race around and cars to try out, how does it actually feel when we get on the track? Pretty damn good, to be honest. I have always preferred the more arcade-style of racers, though I did play the original Colin McRae back on the PS1 and dabbled in the Dirt and WRC series over the years, my real love of racing games comes from things like SEGA Rally and Motorstorm so the pick-up and play feel of RRO was well received. There are a variety of control options to choose from such as the traditional shoulder and analogue inputs to tilt controls as well as touch screen input if you want to get that mobile feeling on the Switch.
The Price of Success
I opted for traditional controls, as I’m old and lack coordination, though I did appreciate having options to suit various preferences. The controls felt responsive, with accelerating and braking being set to the L2 and R2 and steering with the left analogue, there is no need for a handbrake option here making RRO highly accessible. The tracks are well detailed, and a good sense of speed can be felt especially once a few engine upgrades have been applied. I was particularly impressed by how the various terrain provided a good sense of feedback and affected steering and breaking, not enough to frustrate but enough to keep things interesting plus the inclusion of the co-driver calling out the route with the classic “easy left into long easy right, over crest” etc, it brought back memories.
If I didn’t know ahead of time that this was a mobile game I would never have thought it was, RRO feels so suited to the Switch in every way it could have been an exclusive, hats off to developer Brownmonster for creating an experience that has the look and feel of something that should be much more expensive, RRO has a generous price tag of £4.99/$6.99 and in another showing of good form from the developers, the price is the same on both Mobile and Switch, a bargain if ever there was one.
Rush Rally Origins is a perfect example of a fun racer that manages to provide accessibility without sacrificing quality. With plenty of locations and a tidy selection of event types this is a great choice for casual racing fans who want to play on the go, and to quote a classic eighties villain “do you know what I like most about it? the price!”
Review code provided
Platform: Nintendo, Mobile
Release Date: 19/08/2021
No. of Players: 1
Category: Racer, Arcade
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop