Relic Rush is as basic as games come. You play as an auto-running, auto-jumping 8-bit character who’s doomed to travel through stage after stage full of dangerous traps and enemies. Most auto-runners make you tap to jump, but Relic Rush has you tap to stop. Such a limited gameplay mechanic could easily become boring without interesting level design. But don’t worry, you’re in good hands with Relic Rush.
Each level takes up a single screen, and your character automatically climbs ladders and turns around when applicable. Make it to the exit unscathed, and you move on to the next level. Take damage, and you’re killed instantly, landing you back at the entrance. The levels come in groups of eight, and how quickly you reach the relic at the end of the eighth level determines whether you get a bronze, silver, or gold rank on that set.
Most levels can be completed in a matter of seconds, so it’s a good thing they’ve packed 160 of them into the game. The levels are spread across five generic game worlds, like Jungle, Arctic, and Volcano. Each world has its own enemies that move according to their own unique patterns. Some jump, some roll, and some stick out long tongues at you. Take a moment to figure out when and where to stop the hero, and time your taps right, and you’ll do fine.
Which brings us to our main (albeit minor) issue with the game: it’s pretty easy, almost to a fault. Lots of similarly retro-style games kick up the challenge to insane levels, games like Super Meat Boy and 774 Deaths. We’re not asking for Relic Rush to go that far, but if it pushed players harder in the later stages, it would probably be a better game for it.
Even still, Relic Rush is a great little game. It may be something of a one-trick pony, but the trick it pulls off is a fine one, and there’s enough variety in the levels and enemies here to keep you playing through to the end. We’ll keep hoping for more challenging level packs in future updates, but in the meantime, Relic Rush is easy to recommend.