Rescue Frenzy puts a contemporary spin on time management
As a sort-of sequel to the so-so resource management title Rescue Team, Rescue Frenzy takes a more urban approach to time management. Instead of saving an island after a natural disaster, the the new game introduces pump stations, nuclear power plants, large apartments and people as well as animals in danger. The game is very entertaining and unique, in spite of some nagging issues.
Rescue Frenzy features 45 levels in one mode. Those levels can be beaten in expert, master and normal time, so it’s not really possible to fail, and there are no advantages for beating any level quickly. Another mode, a couple of bonus levels or some achievements would have been a nice addition, but as it is the game still offers around five hours of frantic playing time which is decent if not spectacular.
What mostly distinguishes Rescue Frenzy from similar titles is its setting. Instead of fantastic, fairytale-like scenes, the game plays in our time, thus featuring rather realistic scenarios and modern buildings. Resources your team needs to get moving include fuel, food, money, materials, metal and medicine. Those are produced at restaurants, hospitals, gas stations, houses and material shops, but can also be recovered from resources and obstacles in the way, or repairing damages on the street.
At the beginning of each level, a TV report displays the current scenario and explains your objectives for that level. The goals in Rescue Frenzy are pretty varied and fit the theme – fire stations have to be rebuilt, pump stations should be repaired to fight floods, citizens and animals have to be saved by removing burning tree trunks and have to be taken to a hospital, and nuclear power plants have to be destroyed to avoid a horrible disaster.
The really interesting aspect of Rescue Frenzy is the strategic thinking it requires. It is very clear from the beginning that the developer put a lot of thought into level design, since most of them offer varying challenges. Sometimes you will have to produce metal by delivering money and materials to the foundry to rebuild the fire station, at other times you have to beat a level without a gas station under your control, or you are totally dependent on resources from international aid funds.
It makes a significant difference in which order you construct and upgrade each building, and which goals you fulfill at first. In contrast to other games it is obvious in which ways you could replay any level differently and that certainly increases the motivation to reach expert time in every level. Each building is tied to another building, for example money and materials are required to upgrade other buildings, and most obstacles require food or fuel to be removed or repaired but offer other resources as a reward.
The graphics and animations of Rescue Frenzy succeed in creating a convincing atmosphere and setting. The screen is always busy with running and driving workers, people and animals in dangerous situations, burning buildings and obstacles, and regularly appearing resources. This along with the timer and the comments from the tv station add realistic pressure to your tasks.
Apart from all those positive aspects there also some issues. Every feature is right there from the beginning; no buildings, bonuses or other surprises will be introduced later on, which simply decreases a possible feeling of reward when progressing in the game. Furthermore the game severly lacks help and explanations which is also tied to the first issue, since the abundance of buildings, resources and obstacles can really overwhelm even experienced players of similar titles.
In the end, fans of this genre will definitely be content with Rescue Frenzy. It is just a pity that the game could have been even better very easily, and as it is newcomers or players who prefer a slower pace will surely have their problems getting into it. However, investing some time to learn the ropes and develop strategies is highly rewarding, not to speak of the feeling of pride when saving whole cities, if only virtually.