Despite the fact that it’s obviously inspired by Temple Run, Miniclip’s Rail Rush is not to be written off as a mediocre copy. It’s an equally engaging game on its own, whether or not you’ve played other running games before.
A perilous cart ride
The goal is to go the farthest distance without falling, while you collect as many nuggets as you tunnel down a cart along a mining railway. These rails end abruptly, so you’d have to hop on to other rails (either to your left or right) or you’ll fall into imminent death. If this wasn’t enough of a challenge, there are also obstacles on the path and are classified as side, upper and lower. The tutorial gives a brief explanation of each and tells you how to avoid them, but as all tutorials go, it’s easier read than done.
As I mentioned in my Happy Jump review, I don’t usually gravitate towards games that require tilting controls. It’s just a personal preference, and I’m convinced that I don’t have as fast of a reflex when it comes to moving a device side to side.
So I had my doubts when I started playing Rail Rush. Halfway into the game, I was proud not to have fallen yet (I usually don’t last for the first 20 seconds). The good news is, when you first fall to your death, you’re given two more rounds to pick up where you left off, and therefore are given the chance to redeem yourself.
Going the distance
As all other games in its genre, the object is always to go the farthest and beat your (or another player’s) record. Even though collecting nuggets is equally important, the ultimate reward comes when you go the longest distance.
If you want to retain a certain distance but have died, there is a complimentary Save Me button that you can use for three rounds before it brings you to the Play Store to purchase it. You’ll notice this button every time your hero dies. This basically brings you back from the dead and allows you to carry on like nothing happened.
More nuggets, less problems
The game’s main currency are nuggets — these little chunks of gold that hang along the rails, begging to be grabbed. Grab these chunks by tilting your device towards its direction and your hero should extend his arms and collect them accordingly.
Nuggets are not the game’s end-goal, as mentioned above, but it can help you achieve your goal. When you visit the shop, you can use nuggets to purchase items to reinforce your cart, a magnet to collect nuggets and gems, or special powers like a 500-meter head start. Some of these items are only available for purchase with real money, while most can be bought with nuggets. Note that most items bought with nuggets are only good for one game, so be sure to read the description before tapping on the Buy button.
Gems and other treasures
In addition to nuggets, there are gems and rock eggs that ocassionally line the rails. If you happen to grab one or two of these, then it’s a welcome bonus. Rock eggs can contain bonus nuggets ranging from 50 to 500, but it may also contain — nothing, as what’s usually the case. Gems are kept in a box where you can view them, and you’re given a handsome reward once you’ve collected them all. I’m yet to find out what that is, as I’m missing a few more gems in my collection.
If you don’t identify with the young lad that’s riding the cart for you, you can head on over to the shop to buy other characters that suit your preference. A word of warning — they don’t come cheap, and some even require real money to get. There’s nothing that indicates these characters have extra human powers and immunity to nasty falls, so I’m assuming these are for aesthetic purposes only and the satisfaction of replacing that poor, shabby fellow.
A swiping, jumping challenge
Rail Rush is a fast-paced running game, and builds up speed further into the game. It’s unlikely to get boring since you’ll immediately notice an upped level of difficulty in just a matter of seconds. The game controls may lag a bit, as I feel like it takes a nano second for the cart to lift up and transfer to another rail. When you swipe, you can actually see that the cart may be heavy in the way it resists your swipe and bounces as it lands on the other track. As a workaround, just be sure to transfer tracks way before it nears any obstacle.
One pitfall is focusing too much on collecting nuggets that you fail to avoid obstacles until it’s too late. Just as it applies in real life, your life always comes first before money and no amount of nugget or gem is worth the fall, especially when you’ve already passed your best distance.
A gem in the rough
Rail Rush may not be too original, but it does hold its own when pitted against other games in its genre. With a few rounds, it’s hard not to get addicted to the rush. There’s still some work to do to polish up this gem, such as game controls, and I personally would like to see more variety in the shop to increase my chances of beating my score.
Unlike Temple Run, there’s no gang of monkeys chasing you down, and your only enemy is the abyss below. This makes for a less complicated but exhilirating round of cart rides. If you don’t mind a speedy challenge that’s just as good and addictive, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t jump on a cart and try this game.