Title: On Rusty Trails
Developer: Black Pants Studio
Publisher: Black Pants Studio
Released For: PC ( Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
Reviewing: PC (Windows)
DRM Versions Available
Released On: June 13th, 2016
MSRP: $12.99 Steam Link
Copy Received By Developer / Publisher
On Rusty Trails is a modern platformer in a gorgeous, well designed industrial world. You play as Elvis and after a mysterious weather sets in that erodes your metal home to rust, Elvis must find The Manager and get a new home! But all is not well in this mysteriously rusty world. Along the way, you’ll discover dangerous traps, challenging platforming puzzles and a looming war on the not-so-far horizon between the two races in the game all while listening to a dark and rhythmic style of music.
The game will have you traversing a selection of chapters divided into levels, totaling 100 levels. Each level is short and should be able to be completed in less than a minute each, but that doesn’t make them easy. The main gimmicks are that Elvis is magnetized to the surface he stands on and that he can wear a costume called the Shifty Suit in order to switch to dress up as the different race. By switching into the other race, you can avoid hazards and dangers that would kill the other instantly. The magnetized feature makes the player have to think involving certain situations in terms of platforming regarding where the ground really is. It’s a nice feature that makes solving certain challenges or puzzles more rewarding when you discover a more unconventional solution to a certain hazard. This comes into play especially when it comes to switching your race of the two argumentative factions quickly in order to puzzle through certain segments of the game on the fly. It makes the puzzling more rewarding and while the puzzles to some degree are physics based, they never feel like they’re too hard or unsolvable. Every chapter or so a new type of hazard is introduced and every few levels a new type of puzzle or new formation of a puzzle is introduced, constantly keeping the game fresh. It’s the same type of gimmick usage you’d see in Spyro the Dragon or Crash Bandicoot where it constantly throws variations of the same puzzle or gimmick in different or more challenging variations to increase the difficulty so the player feels accomplished and it works well in On Rusty Trails.
The game is short and while not a deal-breaker, it may leave some waiting for a sale to pick the game up. It feels more than worth its asking price, but we wish the gameplay had more replayable factors to it. Besides beating someone’s highscore, there’s not much to really replay the game for. It has a few secrets (like finding the flats) but there’s nothing really there to go back for. On Rusty Trails is great in a bite sized format and while short, it feels as long as it needs to be. However with that out of the way, more collectable type things (Music tracks, concept art, points, etc) would make the replay factor go up for us. Some bonus modes like a timed mode would also be nice.
Visually, the game is both appealing and illustrative in the way it’s designed. Character design and all around cohesion is excellent, leaving few things amiss. We enjoyed the fact that the characters talk more in a comic-panel style, and it’s enjoyable to see the main protagonist Elvis make gestures and the like to illustrate his points. The levels and lighting are also well detailed, showing off the dark, industrial world of the game.
The audio and music are also well done, presenting the industrial world of On Rusty Trails with a well detailed eclectic selection of dark and moody themes with bizarre mechanical (and somewhat alien-like) sounds that play off well with each other to help build the game’s atmosphere.
As for the controls, it’s a controller or gamepad game. Yes, you can use a keyboard and mouse and it wasn’t horrible to use, but it just feels better to play with a gamepad. That being said, we did have to re-configure a few buttons to register, but everything else was fine after that. The settings are overly complex, but they get the job done. Something more than a slider for graphical settings however would be appreciated, but we liked having fully remapable buttons at least. The game also ran butter smooth even without Vsync, never dipping below 100fps on our setup.
Overall, On Rusty Trails is a short, but fun and highly enjoyable 2D puzzle platformer with some gorgeous visuals and songs, adding to the world building that On Rusty Trails excels at. It doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table, rather it brings previous techniques other successful 2D puzzle platformers had and built a dark yet charming world out of them with interesting twists. It’s a game well worth its asking price for the first play experience, but some reason to replay the game certainly wouldn’t go amiss by anyone at Yourwolfsdengaming.
- Enjoyable platforming
- Nice ramp up of puzzle and level difficulty through progression
- Controls were well done
- Visually beautiful and lovely to look at
- Elvis is both well designed and charming in the way he speaks without dialogue
- Excellent music
- More incentives for replay
- A variety of difficulty options would be good for experienced puzzle-platform players
- More visual settings to tweak would be helpful