Music is a melodic encryption of language and life. The melody of rhythm, within music, is a key ingredient in many different types of stimuli. The combination of music and rhythm is a great way of conveying different emotions. Some music may convey happy feelings. Others may convey sadness or even anxiety. Developer Drool has shown us that combining these key elements forms an entirely abstract and satisfying experience.
You are a metallic scarab gliding down a winding track in what seems to be like a desolate, almost hellish, world. Despite the world feeling as if it was an alternate reality based in the empty fathom of melancholy conditioning, the sounds of rhythm are there to guide you through your own sanctioned sanity. That sanctioned sanity bleeding through rhythm is the very soul that adopts your scarab’s need to survive its melodic reality. The game extends that feeling to the player as it immerses you into its hellish musical world. As you glide down the rail, you are met with different puzzle pieces to react to that will fill the beat. Whether it is a button to press or a wall to slide on, don’t complete the rhythm with Thumper‘s simple controls… survive it.
- Nine levels of Rhythm Hell
- Simple Controls: one stick and one button
- Heart pounding dynamic soundtrack
- Dynamic rhythmic music puzzles
- Score attacks
- Leaderboard for Competitive Scores
- Adrenalizing Boss Battles
- Original Soundtrack by Brian Gibson of
noise-rock band Lightning Bolt
- VR Support: Playstation VR available now. PC VR support TBD.
Overall Likes and Dislikes
The Good – Thumper hits home for me with its beautifully scary visuals, pounding intense soundtrack, speed, and simple controls. The most incredible factor is that the aforementioned key ingredients wrap together so well to create an experience music-rhythm fans have been craving since the golden days of REZ. Taking a look at the game’s ingredients individually, we can see many examples of mastery in the genre. The music continuous pumps energy into the player as it progressively gets more intense to the point where the controls become even better since you can easily fist pump during the more intense levels. The bass hits during the in-track puzzles bleed intensity and satisfaction on each hit. The visuals add a lot of personality to the game. You will see seemingly infinite track in front of you at all times hovering through a dark and deathly world. The enemy encounters, outside of the rhythm patterns, showcase a very hellish design. Then there is the speed. As the levels progress, Thumper starts to increase how fast you are thrown through each level. The sense of speed developed by this factor is well experienced by the player. Gliding down the track at high speeds conveys a great sense of concentration, accomplishment, and anxiety all whist involving the player in addicting gameplay. All of these key parts of Thumper are all wrapped around a control scheme consisting of just two buttons. Thumper will leave you craving more.
The Bad – It is hard to find bad qualities to Thumper. If I had to list two items it would be the difficulty curve and the lack of an explicit narrative. Thumper gets very hard very fast which can get overly frustrating. Personally for me, this did create the need to repeat levels many times just to nail down one 3 second puzzle session. For those who manage to beat Thumper in one sitting, it may feel a little short. There is no explicit narrative, although this is considered to be a positive for some that crave extra mystery. The lower price point, however, can justify the lack of story. The worst part about Thumper for me personally is that a sequel isn’t out yet. Great job to the team at Drool for this game.
Score – 9/10
As a life long fan of music rhythm games, Thumper is a gift from the heavens (or hell). It delivers a complete rhythm-based game package wrapped in an art style that will replay in your mind long after you completed its nine levels. I love that Thumper also consists of a soundtrack that feels like you are going into a huge battle. This genre of music backs up the entire feeling of the game. That feeling is the personal war… in your mind and in your soul. Every element of Thumper (the music, visuals, controls, and emotions) all wrap together in a game that will keep you coming back for ages to come. There is very little that Thumper does wrong given the genre that it is. Lots of kudos to the two developers behind Thumper. I am happy their 7 year journey developing Thumper was an incredible success in the end and I hope this is only the beginning of the future games they bless us with.