Rating: ESRB – Not Rated
Just last week saw the release of the second iteration from the Rescue Team franchise, a casual time management game with a pinch of strategy thrown in. It’s practically hot on the heels of the release of the original game that was released earlier in April this year. Seems like the developers at Rionix and publisher Alawar Entertainment are like busy little elves… churning out game after game, with the latest even on time for Thanksgiving!
The basic premise of either game has you taking charge of a search and rescue team to conduct rescue operations after a nasty tornado practically wipes out three islands from the Greenfield archipelago. Upon arrival by ship, your Rescue Team will start tackling each of the challenging levels with gusto.
Here is why Rescue Team is fun to play – you must decide the optimal path to complete rescue operations within the shortest possible time. If you do well, you will win for yourself a trophy commensurate with your ability. Hopefully, by the end of the game you would have received a gold trophy for every single level in the game – the ultimate prize for truly completing this fun time management game!
|We’re off to a good start in Rescue Team||A much improved look with
new gameplay features in Rescue Team 2
What You Get
In both games, you will find only one option – to dive straight into the game; there are no additional game modes or difficulty levels. Before you begin, you will be treated to a short animation of the background for the game. A newsreader relates to us the story in Rescue Team (RT), but he is absent from Rescue Team 2 (RT2). The story goes like this – a tornado has swept the Greenfield islands and left widespread devastation.
The scene then shifts to show a rescue ship arriving to provide relief efforts. Cue the Rescue Team, it’s time for some serious action next!
You are taken to a map of the Greenfield islands to start playing your game. The levels are played in a linear fashion, so don’t bother trying to find a skip feature. Luckily, you will not reach a point where you get stuck, all levels can be completed – even if you take all the time in the world; at the very most, you won’t win for yourself the much coveted trophy for that particular city.
|RT: Breaking news indeed||RT2: Nicer artwork but fewer animations;
just some fancy camera panning is all
There are 60 levels in RT while you only get 50 levels in RT2. In both cases, you will breeze through a small handful of tutorial instructions while playing your first level. Although RT2 appears to have lesser content, it makes up for this by introducing new concepts that I shall explain later.
The first thing you must do is pay attention to the objectives for the level. General objectives include rescuing citizens, rebuilding cafés and houses, putting out fires, rescuing workers, and finding gems. RT2 throws in some additional choices – rebuilding fuel stations to fuel your helicopter and rescue boats, and getting a doctor to treat citizens at a hospital, an entirely new and welcome addition.
Once in a blue moon, RT entrusts you with rebuilding something special, like a museum, hotels, and a restaurant. RT2 does likewise by allowing you build a TV station. These special buildings require a hefty sum of resources to repair, and you can also have more than one worker assigned to them. More on this next.
|RT: Two of the islands look to have the same clime||RT2: At least the latest 3 islands
look different in the second game
How do you even go about completing the objectives? Well, you have to understand that the Rescue Team franchise is a time management game that relies on you managing and collecting resources.
- Managing resources: In both RT and RT2, you will be managing workers, helicopters, and rescue boats. RT2 additionally introduces doctors.
- Collecting resources: RT and RT2 share 3 common resources – food, logs, and gold. The newer game introduces a new resource type – fuel.
So what’s the deal here? Well, allow me to illustrate. Let’s say you start off a level with a fixed amount of resources and 2 workers. Both workers will be at the base camp awaiting your orders. You begin by clicking on a nearby accessible building, say a café, to rebuild it. Unfortunately, rebuilding the café is going to cost you resources – 40 logs and 10 food to be more precise.
|RT: Level 1 – Food! Glorious food!||RT2: Level 1 – Removing fallen trees gives you logs|
If you don’t have the required resources, you will have to collect resources that may be lying about the level. Assuming you have enough resources to rebuild the café, one (and only one) of your workers will start the job. You can also multi-task by getting the second worker to perform some other job.
Completing the café will reward you with a stable automatic income of 10 food every clock cycle. This clock can be seen ticking away at the upper left corner of the screen shots above. Additionally, the café will also reward you with twice the amount of food by leaving it just outside the building. You need to assign a free worker to pick up this bonus food.
Most of the time, obstacles will bar your way in the game. For example, there may be fallen trees, a huge pile of stones, destroyed bridges, demolished highways, or even a huge pile of debris requiring dynamite to remove. They are going to cost you resources to clear, so make sure you get resource generators like the café (gives you food), sawmill (gives you logs), houses (gives you gold), and appearing only in RT2 – fuel stations (gives you fuel).
|RT: Help the citizens of this city build a museum||RT2: Fuel – the fourth resource|
As you continue playing, you will eventually chance upon power-ups. These are little icons enclosed by a blue circle. There are six types that give you different abilities for short periods of time. They are:
- Let’s Run! – Allows your workers and doctors to move faster.
- You’ve got a tailwind!, and Fly faster! – These allow your rescue boats and helicopters to travel at a much greater speed.
- Fast Food!, It’s raining gold!, and Energy drink for woodcutters! – Cafés, Houses, and Sawmills (respectively) will start producing their resources at a much faster rate.
|RT: There are three power-ups at the bottom of
this screenshot that makes my rescue boat go faster
|RT2: Here, I am using the “Let’s Run!” power-up|
Finally, at the end of every level, you would have acquired some cash to repair the lovely homes you saw at the title screen. You are also awarded bonus cash along the way for reaching key milestones, like “Repaired 250 buildings”. To commence your repairs, all you need to do is to pick the damaged area from the screen, assuming you have enough money for the job. Repairs are immediate.
|RT: Sixty thousand smackaroos for that hunk of junk?
You gotta be kidding me!
|RT2: At least it’s cheaper than repairing the car|
The graphics in the Rescue Team franchise features lovely 2D artwork and sprites. The level backdrops use nice colours although I thought that there were a couple of cities in RT that used a palette too dark for my tastes. The weather effects have been improved in RT2; you now get to see snow as well as rain in the game. The sprites are animated very smoothly and look like the rescue team are really enthusiastic in getting a good job done. In addition, the building and water animations are also pleasant to look at.
The music is suited for the game – not too slow going, nor is it too loud and garish. One of the music pieces is reused again in RT2. That may have been forgiveable, but I must add that the sound effects are exactly the same as in RT. You can look forward to hearing some new sounds in RT2 (new earthquake / meteor alerts, and sounds attached to the doctor workforce), which is not much and in my opinion – a wasted potential; the developers could have given the second version more character. Finally, there are no voice overs in both games.
|RT2: This meteor shower really gives new meaning to
that phrase “raining on my parade”
The Rescue Team franchise does a good job in delivering a good and easy going play experience.
- The core game play mechanics is both fun and simple.
- The 50+ levels are going to keep you occupied for quite a while.
- Each level has many solutions. It’s up to you to find the optimal solution to win the gold trophy. If you can’t beat the gold time limit, you could aim for the silver trophy instead. However, if you finish the game without anything left in the time bar, you’ll net only a bronze trophy.
- There’s a logic puzzle element to the game in your quest to get gold trophies for every level.
- In this time and age of the global warming crisis and the continual onslaught of natural disasters, you can’t help but feel some form of attachment to the theme of the game.
- Rescue Team 2 is the better game of the two in terms of game play and graphics.Game Play – there is a new work force (of doctors) to manage, as well as new features to explore. Graphics – there’s a third island theme – the snowy cold wilderness and other minor features that make this game look better than Rescue Team.
|RT2: Take a look at the new fuel station
found at the center of the map
- The game kind of bogs down somewhere in the middle island. If you can get past the feeling that the game is too arduous or repetitious, then this game should go very well for you.
- Finding the optimum solution to win the gold trophy in some of the harder levels can be really challenging.
- Rescue Team and Rescue Team 2 are quite similar games, even to the extent that they are using some of the same sound effects and music.
- You may also feel short changed by the fact that there are only 50 levels in Rescue Team 2.
- Rescue Team may be too simple and not have enough strategy for a certain group of casual players. On the other hand, multitasking may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
- Here’s a small issue – there are no help screens nor credits of the developers in the game.
|RT: Game play bogs down after you’ve seen
everything there is to see
Both Rescue Team and Rescue Team 2 have their individual strengths and weaknesses, but it’s obvious that Rescue Team 2 is the better of the two, although winning it by not a wide enough margin.
There’s no denying the Rescue Team franchise makes for a good gift during the holiday season. It’s definitely going to go down well with the casual crowd. It’s also one of the easier time management games to get into. So, what are you waiting for? Download a copy of Rescue Team and Rescue Team 2 today!
Daily PC Game Review Score:
- Rescue Team: 7 out of 10
- Rescue Team 2: 7 out of 10
Review Date: 22 Nov 2011