I think we’ve come to a point where we can admit that rhythm games have had their spotlight. The revival of Rock Band or Guitar Hero has come and gone and whimpered out. So when I heard that Thumper was going to be a rhythm based game, I had some reservations about it. Thumper is an on-rails adventure that requires the player to time their button presses to the beat of the music. It’s not that simple, though, either as each level gets a difficulty bump and creates new worlds as you work your way to the end.
Using the DualShock 4, you are in control of a chrome-plated beetle that must thump its way through an intense series of levels, this all culminates with a boss battle at the end, and well, those are some of the craziest encounters you’ll have.
The controls are simple with Thumper; you have only to worry about the X button. As you work your way through the game, which is being marketed as a “rhythm violence game,” you’ll soon find the groove needed to survive this hellish place. As you get further in, your skills are put to the test and soon you’ll have yourself crashing into barrier trying to get through the obstacles thrown at you.
What makes this game so exciting is the excellent soundtrack you have working its way through your body. Your survival depends on how well you can track the beat of the music, as the intensity ramps up, so does your task of being perfect along the course. You’ll have moments of brilliance as you complete a perfect run and other times where the course ahead is brutal and unrelenting. It is one of those rare games where repeating the same section isn’t frustrating but a learning lesson.
Boss battles in Thumper are probably what taught me the most about the gameplay. Each boss has you timing your rhythm to a series of chords, they get tougher every time. This sends a blast of energy at your enemy and damages them. If you miss your timing, the series of chords resets until you nail the sequencing of the chords. The bosses are massive and intimidating, by the way, it’s something I didn’t expect to see, each one becoming more outlandish.
Thumper is something special. It’s easy to pick up and hard to master type of game. It is also a dark and twisted fantasy that works. While the game is recommended to be played with the VR headset, it isn’t necessary and I do agree that the headset is much more enjoyable; this game shouldn’t be missed because of that. There’s something here no one should miss.