I had the knives sharpened, ready to chop Ryan’s Rescue Squad into tiny little pieces. It was going to be my revenge for subjecting me to years of Youtube hell. Of all the ‘internet personalities’ that my two daughters end up watching, Ryan is undoubtedly the worst. It’s advert-filled garbage and – somehow – the parents in the videos are infinitely more irritating than Ryan himself. I’m shuddering just thinking about them.
But I can’t turn the knife. I can’t rip into Ryan’s Rescue Squad, because it’s one of the best platformers on Xbox for younger players, and I have to actually recommend it. Outright Games, you’re killing me here.
Following the tiresome Race With Ryan, Outright Games have chosen to keep it simple with Ryan’s Rescue Squad. This is a reasonably straight 2D platformer, where the only quirk is that it can be played cooperatively. It’s got the simplicity of a Mario game, with the marshmallow-like consistency of a Kirby game, and – while it obviously doesn’t reach the heights of those two masters of the genre – it seems to have been taking the right notes from them.
Your young ones will be pleased to know that controls are simple. It’s a simple case of a jump and double-jump, with a kind of rush-attack that knocks away enemies and breaks blocks. As the levels progress, Ryan gains a few other abilities, but they’re unlocked at a leisurely pace so that they never quite overwhelm. My seven-year old had no problem with mastering them all, and I suspect she would have been fine when she was six years old. Younger than that is a reach, which does raise a couple of questions, as I would suspect that Ryan’s audience is around the four or five-year old demographic.
The controls aren’t completely foolproof, but most kids won’t notice. The rush-attack, for reasons we can’t surmise, seems to have a cooldown after you first use it, leaving you open to attack. And a Puzzle-Bobble-style attack that you unlock later on is slippery and confusing for younger players. When you have to fire off the side of a ledge, it can often have you tumbling down immediately afterwards.
You can pick from Ryan, Combo Panda, Alpha Lexa, or Gus the Gummy Gator as you aim to defeat the evil Dark Titan, Robo Combo, and Packrat. Hopefully that sentence will mean more to you than it did me. We squinted and imagined that Dark Titan was Dr. Robotnik, as he acts pretty much identically, stealing creatures and stuffing them in metallic eggs, before zooming off in spaceships to become the end-of-world bosses.
There are four worlds here – grassy, ocean, prehistoric and space – and they are much more than simple reskins. Commendably, Ryan’s Rescue Squad opts for overhauls of the game with every world, with the ability to ride on Shelldon the T-Rex in the prehistoric world, and to zip around on a flying saucer with Moe in the space levels. Enemies, obstacles and abilities are introduced with each, making them feel distinct and keep you on your toes.
The levels aren’t going to win any awards for invention, but they do a job. For the parents, there are a huge number of collectibles, including eggs, coins and sun stars, so co-op becomes more interesting as you hunt for hidden objects while your kids fumble through. Blue sun-stars, much like the red coins in Mario games, can be triggered to create a sequence of sun-stars to collect within a time limit. And occasionally, some platform cliches are called upon, with rising lava, rolling boulder and travelling boat levels all present and correct. But it’s nice to have them, as they ensure that no level feels the same as another.
Complete the levels and you are confronted by Dark Titan, Robo Combo, or Packrat. While these are simple, they are repeated: you will have to get used to spaceships flying left-to-right, dropping bombs below. They’re also pilfered directly from Sonic. At least they only take three hits before they’re out of there. More interesting are minigame levels, which task you with collecting coins against a time limit, all while platforms fall away. There’s no real failure here, so it’s less panicked than you would think.
There are five levels, a minigame and a boss per world, which is on the low-ish side for the £34.99 price. We rattled through Ryan’s Rescue Squad in around three hours, but there is the impetus to return for collectibles and achievements. Your children’s desire to replay levels will be a factor here: if they are the kind to dump a game after it’s finished, we would say that leaves a hefty question mark on Ryan’s Rescue Squad.
Otherwise, today’s word is ‘Solid’. Ryan’s Rescue Squad is a remarkably solid, well-made and confident little platformer, and you can feel reassurance that there are no bugs, no infuriations, that will upend the experience for a younger player. It’s tight as a drum, and much less irritating. And irritation-free is something we never thought we would say about flipping Ryan.
You can buy Ryan’s Rescue Squad from the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S
- An attractive, solid little 2D platformer
- Infuriation and bug free
- Levels mix things up nicely
- Price is on the steep side for what you get
- Doesn’t do anything particularly new
- It puts money in Ryan’s trust fund
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to – Purchased by TXH
- Formats – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
- Version reviewed – Xbox Series X
- Release date – 4 Mar 2022
- Launch price from – £34.99
Source link : thexboxhub