Indiana Jones and Donkey Kong get to ride in mine carts, so why can’t you? That’s the question answered by Rail Rush, an endless carting game that has you barrel through caverns, hopping between tracks, collecting gold, and– if your reflexes are fast enough– avoiding sudden, high-impact death. It’s a fun game, but like many others these days it draws much of its inspiration from Temple Run. The question is this: does Rail Rush stand out from the endless stream of endless runners?
Let’s start with the controls, which are intuitive and tight. When the track you’re rolling down is blocked off, you swipe left or right to hop on a parallel track that will take you further into the cave. When a low obstacle nears, swipe up to jump. When a high blockade comes at you, swipe down to duck. An inconvenient wall in your way? Tilt to lean. It all feels natural, and you’ll pick it up in no time.
Please keep your hands in the cart.
Of course, as is the way with these games, the longer you stay alive, the faster you go. Pretty soon you’re doing a frantic ballet of swipes and tilts, and before long you’ll inevitably get mixed up and lead your character to a tragic, painful end. But hopefully by then you’ve probably collected some gold along the way, to spend on bonuses, power-ups, and new characters between levels.
Along with gold scattered throughout the mine, you’ll also find rock eggs that you cash in at the end of each run. We’re not sure what kind of cave-dwelling animal lays rock eggs, but these curious artifacts can contain bonuses for your next run, like double gold, or fewer obstacles, or they can contain nothing at all. It’s like Vegas, baby.
X marks the spot.
It will probably also come as no surprise that you have a list of three goals to achieve at any given time, and when you earn one, another goal replaces it. These are for things like ducking under 50 blockades or staying alive for a certain distance. Since there’s not much variety as far as the gameplay goes, the goals might keep you coming back.
But again, this is all stuff we’ve seen in high-score games before. It looks nice here, and it’s definitely enjoyable, but if you’ve played games like Tiny Wings, Jetpack Joyride, or Temple Run, don’t expect to find anything new in Rail Rush. It’s a well-made game, but we wish they’d mined a little deeper to find nuggets of inspiration.