So when PSVR was a few week away from release, I came upon a weird little game that I had absolutely no interest in called Thumper.
I saw a few vids, and quite frankly had zero interest in it, as it really looked rather boring. Nothing more than a simple rhythm game with no real skill involved and not really imaginative.
Well I could not have been any more wrong.
After seeing a few decent reviews from other gaming sites, and high praise on Reddit, I decided to give it a shot despite my early assessment and I am very glad I did.
Now many have claimed that Thumper really didn’t need the VR component tacked on, as the game does function as a stand alone title without VR at all. But VR makes it infinitely more enjoyable.
And true, while not necessary, it adds a speed and polish to what could have been just a mediocre indie game in a sea of AAA fall titles.
The core of Thumper is indeed a rhythm game, but it is so much more. The mechanics are simple, your space beetle for lack of a better term is rocketing down a narrow channel, and as you pass over blue or green lit squares, you press the X button, when you come to turns, you push X and pull the stick in the opposite direction, on rare occasion, you press up and the X button to fly over an obstacle.
That pretty much sums up the entirety of the games controls, told ya, very simple.
Somehow though the guys at Drool manage to turn this into a nightmare that is easy to pop into, but incredibly hard to master.
The game spans a total of 9 levels, and if you use the trophy system to judge, very few folks have hit level 9 and finished the game, with a whopping 1.4% finishing level 9 right now.
After level 6 the game switches into what I affectionately call bastard mode. Where they take the simple mechanics you have learned and throw every trick in the game at you, getting faster and faster as each level passes.
You are going to need nerves of steel and lightening fast reaction time to see this one through to the end, drop your focus for a second and you are done.
The most impressive aspect here though in the VR iteration is the sense of speed you get. If you took F-Zero and amped it up a few hundred KMs an hour, you would have Thumper.
With that said, I found it to be incredible easy on the old brain to pop in and out of Thumper, it is definitely low on the vomit scale, which is rather surprising considering just how fast you feel like you are going.
Maybe it is the 3rd person perspective that eases things a bit, or maybe that your eyes and focus are never really off of the dead center of the screen, there simply is no time for sight seeing here as you get no more than a 10 second reprieve from the action between the sub levels that make up the 9 chapters.
Each of the 9 chapters has anywhere from 14 – 30 sub level. Each ranging from 30 seconds long to 3-4 minutes.
Over all the game clocked in around the 4 – 5 hour mark and will vary by your skill and adaptability to the later harder levels. Some folks may not even see the end as the last 4 sub level in chapter 9 are controller throwing frustrating.
Once you complete each sub level and chapter you are ranked by score, all accumulated from hitting your blue spots without missing, and taking no damage per level. Anywhere from F to S ranks are your grade depending on how well you did.
Replay here is for score only, whereby there are 9 additional trophies and a coveted platinum trophy for those who S rank every level, by no means an easy feat, and in my eyes, worthy of high praise if you have this Plat in your pocket.
All in all Thumper has been my most entertaining VR title yet, and I found myself continually drawn back to it each day since the PSVR launched.
I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a challenge, or to those of you that love the sense of speed.
A solid 10/10