Thumper – The PlayStation VR2 Review

March 19, 2023 ·

Back in 2016, one of the launch titles for PlayStation VR was a game called Thumper that allowed rhythm and violence to combine and bring us a trip of speed, colors, and music. It tested our reflexes as we twisted and glided around every turn that was thrown our way and we loved every minute of it. Fast forward and the game is now a launch title for PlayStation VR2. But did developer Drool bring us the best version of the game? Let’s find out with Thumper for PlayStation VR2.

Thumper is rhythm violence: classic rhythm-action, blistering speed, and brutal physicality. You are a space beetle. Brave the hellish void and confront a maniacal giant head from the future. Scream down the endless track and crash through punishing obstacles with simple, airtight controls. Hurtle forward, master new moves, reach overwhelming velocities, and survive adrenalizing boss battles. Every crushing impact is interwoven with a pounding original soundtrack. To reach synesthetic bliss, you must go through rhythm hell.

So before you try to make those turns and not die, there are a few things that you need to be aware of. First, do whatever focus exercises you need to do. There shall be no distractions as you go through this rhythm hell. Second, make sure those Sense controllers are charged. Not only do you need to have some focus as you make these turns and jumps, but you don’t want to receive a failing rank all because you forgot to charge those controllers. Third, make sure you are as comfortable as can be. Fourth, if you have the Pulse 3D Audio headset, make sure those are charged as well. This soundtrack is going to add to your rhythm hell, so might as well enjoy the rush. Fifth, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone so I am only going to show gameplay from earlier in the game. This is a journey you need to take for yourself and who am I to ruin that for you? And finally, just have some fun. With all that said…let’s continue…

The first thing you will notice when starting the game is clarity. If you have not played the PlayStation VR version, then this shall be your standard of what you know. But if you have played the PlayStation VR version, then you will notice how clear things really are. You have some choices when you start. Play, Play + which you will need to beat level 3 to unlock, Leaderboards, and Options. Within the Options, you can select from Gameplay, Controls, Audio, Import Save Data, and Credits. By default, under Controls, the Vibration and Stick Sensitivity should be at max but adjust for your style of play. Within the Audio portion, if you want the rush, turn it all the way up. If you go into Leaderboards, you can see the Global Ranking. I did this just to see who was on the boards and what I needed to try and get my score to be. Then it was time to get into the game.

For those that may have never played Thumper or possibly may have forgotten what to do, the objective is to maneuver your space beetle through a track throughout different worlds. Along the way, you will come across notes that you will want to try and hit, clear any obstacles, and defeat any enemies that may come along your way. You earn points by receiving blue gems. If you slide through the red bars or jump into the blue rings, you will receive blue gems aka points. You can also earn points by multiplier streaks, hitting bosses with the green weapons, and collecting perfect sequences.

Each level has a sub-level where you will receive a ranking. The rankings are as follows: C, B, A, or S with C being the lowest and S being the highest. So this is where you start paying attention to the Leaderboards and everyone’s rank. So if you don’t get that S rank, try again and before you know it, you will get it. But this is where the focus comes in. You are going to have to pay attention to those turns, the blue gems, and your space beetle life. If your reflexes are not up to par and it will be game over before you know it.

Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Playing Thumper on PlayStation VR2, as I mentioned before, is sharp, the colors are colorful, and the space beetle never looked so good thanks to the 4K HDR. There is something about having the sense of speed that, if you are not careful, your eyes will start to look at the world around you. I know it will be hard, but just concentrate on what’s ahead. Even though when I died and my space beetle crashed, it did look pretty awesome. It’s one thing to see what’s going on in the game, but it’s another to hear what is going on in the game. On the PlayStation VR2 and using the Pulse 3D Audio headset, that 3D audio along with the haptics, just immerses you in the brutality that it presents.

There are a few things that I would love to see added. For one, multiplayer. It would be fun if you could battle another player’s space beetle into the walls of the track as they are trying to take those turns or even have multiple tracks so you can jump onto the other player’s track to cause them the destruction. And finally, just more Thumper to play.

Thumper brings brutality and insanity into 4K HDR with 3D audio. It takes what we know and what we may have forgotten, mushes them all together, and throws us into shark-infested waters at feeding time while we sit there and have it tell us we will like it. It doesn’t hold anything back and that’s a good thing. In life, we are sometimes faced with certain situations that we may not be used to. Sometimes we have to think and sometimes we just act upon the moment. But it’s those situations that test us to get us to that next phase in our lives to show us what we are really made of. And couldn’t we all use a little more testing of ourselves just so we can try to be a little more prepared for whatever may come our way?

Thumper is out now for Oculus Go, Ocouls Rift/S, and Quest/2/Pro on the Oculus Store, PlayStation VR, PlayStation VR2, and Steam VR. A review code was provided.

To learn more about Drool, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Also, check out the Thumper video review:

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to get back to the insanity.

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