Indie Highlight: Thumper

Indie Highlight: Thumper

Rhythm games have a niche space in the gaming. They were overwhelmingly popular during the multi-game runs of Guitar Hero, and then its obvious evolution into Rock Band.

Then they disappeared around the time Guitar Hero started releasing games cataloguing a single band’s music (Aerosmith, Van Halen). Most likely it was the glut of games that caused this musical break. However, there are still some games doing interesting things with rhythm. This week’s Indie Highlight is Thumper.

Thumper is a strange beast, and I’m not referring to the player’s avatar in-game which is a beetle-like…cart? Ship? Animal? Who knows. You won’t care once the music starts and objects/turns come towards you at increasing speeds.

Each stage requires excellent timing and forethought, as before long you’ll be stringing multiple moves to further your progress along the track that stretches into the lack of horizon.

Players will slide-turn, jump, and brace their beetle-thing to break through objects to a rhythm set by the stage’s soundtrack. The player must tap a button with each “note” as its met on the track.

The combinations of such are fun and challenging, especially in the later levels when the speed increases further. Then, when the player has that figured out (they usually only add about one new “move” per level), you must beat (pun slightly intended) a boss.

The bosses change things up a little. You now have one chance to make it through each round, and you start back at the beginning of that round if you are hit (two hits if you have a “shield” picked up).

Personally, I played the game on the PlayStation VR, which I recommend to anyone who can play it there. Watching a giant, evil looking face appear in front of me while heavy techno-style music played and I attempted to keep up with the rhythm is some of the most fun I’ve had with VR yet. Unfortunately, the game isn’t as long as I would like, but it also doesn’t overstay its welcome.

This week’s Indie Highlight, Thumper, is out now on Mobile, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 with VR support, Google Stadia and Xbox One. It was developed by Drool, a two-man team.

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