Most easily described as a Mario Party mini-game presented as a full experience, Clumsy Rush is a multiplayer party title with limited appeal. You and a few friends take control of hippos that walk up right like humans. The gimmick, however, is controlling how these hippos move. Instead of just tilting the analog stick, each leg of the hippo is mapped to a shoulder button and the player must “clumsily” move around each randomly generated map from an overhead perspective. Unfortunately, this fundamental movement, in which the entire game is based around, is the most frustrating.
The point of this low-cost digital download is not being able to walk in a straight line or with any type of response. This causes players to not only bounce off each other but also pinball through each environment, creating hectic and humorous moments. The goal is to first snag the gold crown then reach the finish line. Along the way, opponents can dash into each other which causes the crown, which essentially acts as the stage ending key, to go flying so another hippo can wear it. Each stage is also randomly created with no input from the player whatsoever; you simply hit start and go. There is no stage select or ability to pick the ice level, for example. If the chaos of the terrible control scheme and player bumping wasn’t bad enough, each stage features numerous hazards such as icy spots, sticky areas, and even bumpers. Even though all stages are short in distance, it could take a long time to reach the finish line depending on the quality of local opponents.
From a presentation stand point, Clumsy Rush is a cheerfully designed game that looks way better than it should for a budget title made by a small team. There are also numerous hippos to unlock although they only sport cosmetic differences. Even the opening title screen is over designed as the player needs to clumsily control a hippo to access the options screen and actually start the game; you don’t just select an option from a menu.
With limited replay value, the need for multiplayer, and super awkward control scheme, Clumsy Rush can easily make players give up in frustration. This is a perfect example how an idea sounds great on paper but the end product is nowhere near as good as the concept. When it takes a high amount of focus and dedication to do the simplest thing, which is just walking around in this case, Clumsy Rush is an accurate portrayal of its namesake.