The term dungeon crawler usually calls to mind games about exploring a dark place crawling with dangerous beings. Skeletons wielding swords, or an angry minotaur with a huge axe. Typically you play as a brave knight or wizard intent on exploring the dungeon’s furthest depths. Remedy Rush — which is available today on iOS — is sort of like that. The difference is that you’re venturing into the dark depths of a sick human body while controlling a chocolate chip cookie.
Remedy Rush is the latest game from Whitaker Trebella, the indie developer behind mobile gems like Pivvot and Piloteer. And like those games, Remedy Rush feels ideally suited for your phone. You play the game in portrait mode, and move up through an ever-changing landscape by swiping around. The game takes place inside of a sick human body, so instead of fantasy monsters, you’ll come up against germs that will chase you, and dangerous toxins that will explode when you touch them. All the while there are coins to collect, maze-like barriers to navigate, and things get progressively more difficult the further you venture. If you go too slow, a rising tide of bile will wipe you out.
The game is slick and intuitive, with charming cartoon-y visuals and an upbeat, jazzy soundtrack. But what really makes Remedy Rush so good is that it’s constantly changing. Just like in a lot of dungeon crawlers, the layout of the world is different each time you play. But Remedy Rush also gives you a huge range of options for what you play as. You start out as a cute little cookie, but you’ll also be able to unlock new remedies, as the game calls them. These range from a TV remote or a tennis ball to an apple or avocado.
Each one of these remedies has its own unique characteristics. The remote will make the game play out in slow motion, for instance, while tennis balls will create much bigger explosions. Some of the effects are purely aesthetic: playing as a TV set will render the game in black and white. What’s great is that you don’t know what a remedy does until you unlock it, and you have the option to have the game assign you an unlocked remedy at random. Along with the constantly changing level design, this inherent uncertainty makes the game feel both familiar and fresh each time you play.
Dungeon crawling role-playing games are often brutally difficult, which makes every tiny bit of progress feel especially satisfying. Remedy Rush maintains this — there are still times when I only last a minute or two before getting caught up in an exploding toxin. But it also streamlines the genre for your phone, with a setup that’s simple enough to quickly pick up, but deep enough that I’m finding new wrinkles and techniques almost every time I play. If nothing else, Remedy Rush has shown me the power of using sushi to ward off a cold.
You can check out the game on iOS right now.