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Bug Rush

Score: 70%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Four Pixels Games
Developer: Four Pixels Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

Bug Rush is bright and happy, with lots of various colorful bugs and plants. You use plants to defend your garden against incoming bugs, and itís an attractive little garden that anyone would want to defend. There are some shortcuts, unfortunately. Upgrading your plants doesnít really give you a new look for your plants. Youíll see a tiny flower next to the plant if itís been upgraded. Another flower shows that youíve upgraded twice. The shooter plants are the only ones that have a prominent change in appearance when you upgrade them, and then this only happens for the first upgrade (the petals turn blue). For subsequent upgrades, nothing happens. That usually results in frantic tapping around the map to see what plants needed to be upgraded, which is not the best experience for this kind of game.

The sounds of little yelling bugs are rather cute. Every bug defeated gives out a little "Ugh" yell (along with a satisfying "splat" sound), and at the end of a wave, thereís another cute extended yell. If the bugs beat you, they join together in a little taunting song just to rub it in. Thereís no music, but that might be forgivable on a mobile game, since you often have to keep the sound down anyway. There are, however, plenty of explosions, squishing, and popping sounds from the various plants to keep the background noise going.


Gameplay:

Using plants to fight intruders on your lawn sounds a lot like Plants vs. Zombies, but this game does differ in a few ways. Your enemy bugs crawl around in different directions, not just in single file, for example. And of course, youíre dealing with plants vs. bugs, which is a little less amusing, perhaps, but a more plausible concept. Still, to not mention the resemblance would be remiss. Actually even with those differences, the game doesnít stand out much from other tower defense games, and there are several already that use the overhead view and style such as Field Runners. In Bug Rushís defense, it is a less violent alternative, and much easier for less powerful Android devices to run.

Unfortunately, another ding against Bug Rush is that itís one of those microtransaction-based games. You can play through the game without spending real dollars on anything, donít get me wrong. Itís just that the game is not set up to reward strategy and doing extremely well on a level. Rather, the game rewards playing the same level over and over again to build up coins. You can then use these coins to purchase upgrades and better plants, or more in-game gold to start your level with (before you start earning it by killing bugs). The thing is, you really canít progress through the game without purchasing some of these upgrades and new plants. Hence, you have to be really patient, or you get tired of the repetition and try to earn more coins through some of the social media bonus tie-ins. I donít see any place to use real dollars yet, but it does look like itís coming.


Difficulty:

Bug Rush is pretty easy to pick up and play. A nice tutorial mode guides you through the first level, then itís up to you to figure out how to stay alive in the later levels of the game.

Bug Rush is one of those games that you canít beat on your first try, no matter how skilled you are. Youíll probably have to spend quite a bit of time replaying levels to gain more starting gold and upgrades to the base strength of your plants. Itís a little frustrating to know that your efforts on a level are essentially futile, and that you simply need to keep replaying a level to progress.


Game Mechanics:

Bug Rush is your basic tower defense game. You plop down plants that fire seeds and other projectiles. Youíre trying to stop the bugs from crossing the screen and getting over to your side. Your plants serve as both barriers and defense, so you can strategically place a line of plants to attempt to make the bugs stay in the line of fire for as long as possible. You can also take a look at other playerís mazes to get an idea of how other people beat the level.

The mobile game essentials are there. A pause button stops the game anytime. A fast forward button moves the bugs through faster when you donít need to wait to see what happens and youíre confident in your defenses against the current wave of bugs. Tapping on bugs gives you more info on what they do and how you might defend against them. Trying to exit out of the game will prompt a save menu, which is just what you need when youíre trying to quickly end the game.

Bug Rush is not innovative or particularly original, but it is a solid, addictive tower defense game. Itís easy to pick up and go, and easy to put down. As many problems as I had with it, I did find myself going back to the game frequently to try something a little different or to basically grind and build up coins for upgrades. It is fun, and it is definitely worth a try, itís just not a full-fledged strategy game you might expect if youíre coming from other popular tower defense games.


-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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