Since its announcement, Thumper has always been presented as a rhythm game. Being developed by former Harmonix employees, Rock Band blood flows into his veins, and looking at some of the images is more like a resemblance to other famous music games.
The player's avatar, a kind of chromed beetle, goes deep into a long track on which, consistent with the beat of music, are scattered about the elements with which to interact. In Guitar Hero are the notes of fake chords, here of deadly traps. And this is because, dissonant and overwhelming, Thumper is the nightmare of rhythm players who have played too many games. The game of Brian Gibson and Marc Flury is a nasty trip born from the mind of those who want to subvert the idea, so dear to games like Rock Band, that the user should feel a rock star creating fake melodies. In Thumper, the roles are reversed, and it is the player who bends to music, answering unpredictable beat and bending to a sensory experience ready to punish every single mistake. When it first hit the music lovers last autumn, the music lovers surged, but now that it came to Switch, Thumper found its ideal groove.
Thumper is always and only one action at a time. By jumping a trap to face a curve, to dodge metal snakes in the most advanced levels. All in response to the unpredictable rhythm imposed by the percussion of aggressive music that hammers the player and every new segment seems to challenge him to keep up. The reaction window is microscopic, and at the beginning it is easy to get late and slam against a trap. Then it sparks the spark: something clicks, and the player comes in perfect synchrony with the game. Each bend and each ring is a small win that produces an acoustic effect and goes to enrich the soundtrack.
It starts to take time by striking the foot, but in Thumper sinesthesia is never a relaxed or lively experience, but always dead and scary. In the recent episodes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, music has paradoxically lost its centrality by putting the player's experience in the center of the game to make him feel like a star on stage. Thumper, on the other hand, is pure music: those who play do not ever feel a pimp with the crest and the guitar, but a slave, a tool, a punching bag that is constantly beaten. Even on the small Switch screen, a game at Thumper is overwhelming, it leaves sweaty sweats, but at the same time are invigorated and extremely accomplished. To never get under 60 frames per second with this porting, the development team has put aside some effect. Little stuff, even because at those speeds, even those who have already devoured the original game find it hard to notice the absence of motion blur and other ghosts of the PlayStation 4 and PC version. For the occasion, the camera has been slightly closer to the metal calabrone, so even on the "small" Switch screen the action is easy to decipher and the objects coming in immediately visible. With 720p in portable mode and 1080p when playing on TV, Thumper for Switches have the same fast and overwhelming experience seen last year.
Of course, it will not reach the level of detail given by the 4K native on PlayStation 4 Pro, and probably the most addictive way to try it is to wear an Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR. Yet, it is in the ability to play Thumper anywhere and anytime that its "rhythmic violence" - as developers call it - finds its perfect size. The fact that the nine levels of play in turn are broken into so many small segments, each with its checkpoint, allows you to interrupt and resume Thumper in a flash, making the Drool rhythm game ideal for a portable console. Play in public and risk letting you cuddle as you skimp, tilt your body or sway your head as you are hypnotized by the beat. Try it at night, with headphones, in the darkness of your room, and in the intimacy of your bed, and that beat will end up tormenting your sleep. Support for HD Rumble technology is discreet and vibration is never invasive (or "violent" as the authors like to define it), giving the impression that shots, waves and explosions spread across the surface of the two Joy- With. The most beautiful part comes when, after assimilating much of the mechanics and gaining confidence in the more advanced levels, one decides to rethink the first paths in an attempt to improve their outcome, perhaps hoping to sum up all "S" or to get between The top 10 in the world rankings. It splits along the course of Thumper without ever hesitating, tackling every single obstacle and forcing every little trap. You feel in control, and this time for real.
Games like Thumper are exactly what Switch needs between a blockbuster and another. Original experiments, tablets, and perfectly matched with the hybrid nature of the console, being ideal on home TV and in full mobility. Incidentally, Drool's brutal rhythm game is also one of the most subversive and rebellious musical experiences seen for some time in this part, a pounding game and slamming your head up to losing your senses.
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