Buddy Rush is an interesting entry to the App Store that’s done very well on the Top Paid charts with its microtransaction-based business model. Basically, it’s a Diablo-style dungeon crawler, though it’s much cuter and more kid-friendly than most hack-and-slash games. It’s also a full action RPG, with loot, experience, classes and everything else. The twist here is that it’s social. You log in to Facebook when you start off, and you “play” with your friends. They’re represented in game by NPCs, but they get rewards when you play with their characters and vice versa.
It’s a very interesting concept, and considering that even the text in the game is super kid-friendly, it’s a weird genre mix that really appeals to an audience that’s hooked right into online social networks. As I said, you must log in to Facebook to play the game, which may be a problem if you’re careful about your online identity — the app requires permission to access your friends and wall online. But for players who are already connected and aren’t worried about a few extra wall posts promoting a game they like, it won’t be an issue.
The model’s also out of the ordinary. You can buy in-game currency with in-app purchases to open up things, like extra character slots and extra items. None of it’s really required, which is the right way to do it for a game like this, but since Buddy Rush is sitting on the Top Paid list on the App Store, somebody’s definitely putting some money into this one.
In short, Buddy Rush is an interesting experiment that appears to be working. The game is free on the App Store, and it was recently updated for the iPad as well. This is far from the last we’ll see of this game and its kind — my feeling is that social, connected, casual games like this across many genres are only going to get more popular.