Formats: PS4, XBoxOne, PC (VR optional across all formats)
Release: October 2016
Rhythm Action games come in all shapes and sizes but it’s not very often they come with such a visceral attack and grab like Thumper. Even the developer said this is an aggressive and violent game – yet not a single drop of blood is shed.
Thumper is an on-rails experience travelling down a long psychedelic tube. You’ll need quick reactions and reflexes to bend in time with the tube, avoid obstacles and press the right button to thump back attacks from the various boss attacks that litter the game like an alien-infested graveyard. Initially, the game has a certain hypnotic beauty like Wipeout and N20 – it’s so fast and abstract you’ll be coo’ing at the scenery.
Quickly the difficulty ramps up though. Thankfully Thumper breaks each mammoth level up into many chunks and each level only gets longer, more complex and faster. Having a good memory can help and sometimes the game doesn’t do a great job of telling you exactly what you should do the first time you encounter a new type of obstacle but its such a small quibble in what is otherwise a near-flawless experience, I’m happy to let it slide.
A visceral experience really is the best way to describe it. Everything from the colour palette, to the sound, to the graphics and in particular the movement of your character has been designed to feel aggressive but fluid. When you fly off in different directions, it’s not jerky – it’s like your being warped through space and time like a high-speed snake. I haven’t experienced anything else quite like it and whilst I haven’t personally played the VR mode, I have a friend whom has and he said it was easily one of the most immersive and impressive experiences he has ever had in VR.
As a single-player experience, your time will be spent unlocking new areas and trying to do perfect runs of levels. You can handily select the sections of the level you didn’t perfect so you can home in on what you want to perfect which is great too. You’ll have a difficult enough time just completing the game though as it is tough but never unfair.
Enjoy a live demo and quick look of Thumper below:
Easily one of my favourite games from 2016, Thumper is a sensory overload in the best way possible. Whenever I play it, I get transfixed and hypnotised by its elegance and challenge and suddenly think "where did the last hour go?!" If that's not a sign of a fantastic game that sucked me, I don't know what is.
A truly unique experience.
The sense of speed and aggression creates a rollercoaster effect to get your heart racing.
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