Here’s a remarkable indie game gem – Thumper. We’d heard good things abut it and, 10 minutes after heading on in with our Nintendo Switch with earphones plugged in, were left devastated, terrified, and exhilarated by the sensory onslaught. It is, simply put, quite an overwhelming experience due to its application of simplicity, timing, atmospherics, and speed.
It’s an incredibly simple premise devoid of any plot. It’s a very real video game – you’re hurled straight in. Developed by the fabulously named Drool, it launched in 2016 on Steam, PS4, and Xbox One (in development) and is classed as a rhythm and horror game. It is bloody scary, too, and unquestionably one of the very best rhythm games ever made, with the addictive appeal of Runner2 mixed with unadulterated bloody horror. Hell yeah!
Cripes, this is quite the intense experience. We can highly recommend plugging your earphones into your device to enjoy it to the max – it’s classed as a “rhythm violence game” and we can agree there. It’s brooding, psychotic, and inexplicable, even classed as existential by one reviewer.
As the player, you take control of a, sort of, metallic space beetle whom you guide along a solitary racetrack type thing. Obstacles rush towards you as you pick up speed (it does get blindingly fast) and you have to rely on your instincts to guide your beetle dude around sharp bends, objects, and other stuff. You use the music as a guide, too, in order to hit speed boosts or send projectiles hurtling towards enigmatic enemies.
Each level develops in intensity and, by the time of the final few stages, there’s a cacophony of noise on the go which is at once bloody scary, intense, and magnificent. You’re really drawn in despite, strangely enough, there really not being much to do for the player. You’re simply alone, hurtling through space, and you’re left to time everything right or face obliteration. Oh man, that poor space beetle… but what a game!
Bit.Trip Runner: Getting Cheerful!
If existential horror isn’t your thing, there are other types of rhythm games available. You’ve got tawdry nonsense for working class scumbags (Dance Dance Revolution etc.), but then there’s joyous romp alongs such as the brilliant Runner2. This is available on pretty much everything and features one of the best modern video game soundtracks – it’s a wonderful, charming title as well that’ll put a spring in your step.
Runner 3, as seen above, is also on the way in 2017 and is, apparently, a Nintendo Switch exclusive. The Switch has been a massive hit so we’re hoping plenty of people will give this a go, as it appears to play around with the formula of the second game but should still deliver an addictive rhythm experience with no terrifying space beetles. Watch this space.