Thumper is one of the most intense games I've ever played, and it's a PlayStation VR launch title. One can play Thumper without VR, and it's still quite good, but in VR? Wow.
This isn't a horror game. Thumper isn't VR's best take on the first person horror survival genre.
Thumper is a rhythm game with a premise so strange that most will wonder why it's getting so much attention.
You control a metallic beetle that shoots down a track in some odd cyberspace. Beats are flung your way and you have to time and nail button combinations to clear segments.
Yet, I promise you, Thumper is supremely unique, especially in the virtual reality.
I'm not that guy with sweaty hands, yet here I am with Thumper.
As you fly down a rail in each level of Thumper, patterns will stand out in the dark soundscape. I wouldn't call it music. Instead, these "beats" sound off in the distance and you repeat them at top speed.
You'll press X at specific times, hold X, hold a direction and X, hold up, etc. That's the game, and its difficulty lies in the high pace it delivers these patterns. Mess up twice in short succession, and you'll restart at the most recent checkpoint.
The dark sounds and space come together and surround you in VR. Thumper is a rhythm game that somehow manages to develop a sense of dread for the player, and each level ends with a sort of boss battle that tosses out tough segments for you to conquer.
As I played in 30 or 45-minute bouts, I routinely set the controller down and flexed my fingers. Thumper had my heart pounding at me catching my breath at regular intervals.
Thumper is one of PlayStation VR's best games.
This sounds like hyperbole, I know that. It sounds like some cheesy back-of-the-box malarkey. It's not. Thumper made my heart race in a way no other rhythm game has before.
I really like it.
That intensity might be Thumper's downfall for some gamers. That's a total possibility. If you hate that dread sensation, or you find yourself sick when you try on VR, this one might not be for you. The game is still good without virtual reality, so you might just want to avoid the headset altogether.
Thumper wasn't made for VR. At least, I don't think it was. The medium, though, elevates it to another level. VR support will supposedly come to PC down the line. For now, if you own PlayStation VR, give Thumper a go.
Disclaimer: We received a code to review Thumper on then PlayStation 4 from Sony.