There was once a prosperous kingdom that lived in harmony until the land’s ruler decided he needed far more money than he already had, and thus he ordered the creation of a special oil to make his machines run more efficiently. To this end all the scientists and magicians of the land banded together to see what they could accomplish, and unfortunately – after much research – succeeded in freeing a oil like demon from his prison. With people everywhere now suffering under the tyranny of this oily menace, a brave hero is selected – entrusted with a magical scarf – and then sent forth to rescue everyone as quickly as possible.

screen480x480The word bravura has been defined in the dictionary as meaning “a display of daring”, which is certainly something that is true of the forever pushing forward hero in Bravura: Quest Rush (out now, $1.99). Playground Publishing’s recent title mixes elements of both an endless runner’s automatic scrolling, except utilizing non randomized stages, and a classical RPG party setup to create a unique gameplay experience. The end result is a surprisingly engaging game where players are challenged to multitask between keeping their heroes alive all while quickly completing the various tasks laid out before them.

One problem many side scrolling games have on the iOS platform is finding a workable control scheme, but Bravura: Quest Rush has managed to avoid all of this with a constant heroic charge forward. By slashing in the four cardinal directions the hero can either perform a standard attack, perform a more time consuming special attack, hop backwards to avoid damage, or leap over obstacles. Tapping on the screen in various places will allow the player to interact with parts of the scenery – such as NPCs or bushes – or activate their currently equipped special ability, at least so long as the skill isn’t in cool down.

screen480x480Other than staying alive and killing every enemy they find along the way, thus ridding the world of the oily menace beleaguering it, the main focus of Bravura Quest: Rush are the quests that the heroes can pick up from NPCs. They might be asked to smash all the oil valves in an area (done by tapping them) – to kill all of a certain enemy type – or some other action, and to furthermore do it within a specific time limit. Not only will completing a mission under the limit cause the player to receive a ‘Quest Rush’, earning them extra gold in the process, but all three of a stage’s missions must be Quest Rushed in order to receive a full three-star recognition.

Obviously many players are going to want to challenge themselves to see if they can get a full three-star ranking on each and every last stage to be found in Bravura: Quest Rush. The key to achieving this lies on an axis between the player’s personal skill, the level of their heroes (which is raised via the aforementioned gold), and the specific characters in their party at the time. Other than the scarf wearing main hero – whom is always there – players will be able to equip various support, damage, and defense characters to their party as they acquire them during the course of the story. These party members – each with their own name and background story (of sorts) – cover a wide spectrum including: bards, mages, barbarians, healers, rangers, thieves, paladins, etc.

screen480x480As the various situations in Bravura: Quest Rush will have differing requirements for finishing them within the time limit, such as needing damage of a specific type, players are encouraged to switch up their party often. Of course, they’re also encouraged to mix up their party frequently as the Hero’s alternate super abilities – unless otherwise purchased – are each unlocked by completing a number of stages with a specific character in the party. Having access to the full gamut of special abilities will often prove invaluable in the pursuit of acquiring a perfect Quest Rush status on all of the game’s many mission based stages.

While Bravura: Quest Rush – as just mentioned – does contain IAPs, I am overjoyed to report that they are far less aggressively pushed here than in many other games on the iOS market. While you can use IAP currency to more quickly obtain magical artifacts and special powers, all of these are completely unlockable simply by playing through the game itself. The only thing you have to buy are the monster eggs that summon mythical creatures to nuke everything on screen for you, but using these are essentially tantamount to throwing in the towel (and the game isn’t that hard). About the only thing one might have actually wanted to use IAP money for – and Bravura: Quest Rush won’t actually let you do – is acquire the level-ups for the various heroes, all of which have to be done separately.

screen480x480Anyways – with Bravura: Quest Rush’s gameplay now explained – I would like to take a moment to discuss the game’s visual setup, in particular the way the world scrolls forward. Where as most titles like this would simply have straight scrolling from left to right, in Bravura: Quest Rush the game is displayed as if taking place on a Fruit Roll-Up being endlessly unrolled (think Animal Crossing: New Leaf, except in 2D). While certainly visually interesting to watch, especially with the multiple layers of parallax scrolling that the game features, the arc-like motion can sometimes prove tricky when tasked with tapping various objects. The animations of the various characters/enemies themselves – on the other hand – aren’t terribly inspiring, but that won’t detract much when generally you’ll be far more focused on the task at hand than anything else.

Ultimately, Bravura: Quest Rush is quite a fun addition to the genre of automated scrolling games on the iOS market – especially for those who enjoy working towards nothing but three star rankings – even if the level up grinding can sometimes be a pain.

iFanzine Verdict: Bravura: Quest Rush takes elements of endless runner gameplay – minus the randomized stages – and mixes them with RPG style party and leveling mechanics, in the process creating something unique and engaging. In it players are tasked with keeping their party of four heroes alive while they complete three different quests assigned to them by NPCs, preferably as fast as possible. While the title does feature the ability to IAP purchase things early, everything in the game – other than the smart bombs, which aren’t truly needed – can be earned simply by playing through the story. The only major complaint I have is that it takes a while to raise enough gold to buy even a single level-up for any of the various heroes, all of whom must be upgraded separately, making Bravura: Quest Rush somewhat grindy (especially since this is the only thing IAPs can’t buy).