It has been a while since a BMX game, or any other game for that matter, has given me enough headaches to make me want to smash my controller into the nearest wall. Pumped BMX+ however has this ability in spades.
The main objective on Pumped BMX+ is to complete a total of 50 levels, including some of the most painful tracks I’ve ever encountered. To successfully complete a level you have to be able to conserve enough momentum and overcome the gaps between half-pipes, ramps and rails until you cross the finish line without crashing or getting stuck. This momentum is “earned” by performing perfect landings and spot-on take offs from the various ramps and half-pipes.
Of course the game is not just about jumping around from ramp-to-ramp and half-pipe-to-half-pipe. Sliding through rails to get to the finish line is most definitely in play but if you really want to master Pumped BMX+ you will have to be able to finish the game whilst pulling off numerous tricks, always keeping your momentum high in order to fulfill the 500 challenges spread across it’s 50 levels. Trust me when I say that in some levels even the most simplest of things can be as hard as hell.
The 500 challenges are divided into three categories; perform a certain trick, or set of tricks, achieve a certain trick score and achieve the track score. All of the challenges are easy enough on their own but the hard part is to fulfill them while trying to reach the end of the track without making a mistake. In the cases where you can’t reach the finish line you will have to restart the track and try again.
It’s not required that you fulfill all the challenges to pass to the next level or track. The only one that is required is for you to reach the end of the level “safely”, with or without doing any tricks. The challenges are also divided, in each level, by three difficulty levels – Easy, Medium and of course, the Hard ones. Although they are divided up, there are always the same challenges in place, which whilst easy enough on the lower levels, try and hit them up on the Medium and Hard levels and you’ll need to start combining tricks as well. Completing challenges also unlocks new, and harder, tracks to race on with a pop up notification ensuring that you always know when you have succeeded.
There are a total of 16 tricks in all, divided into two modes with eight tricks each: the simple ones and the more advanced ones. These are activated by using the directions on the right analog stick, whilst accessing the advanced tricks will see you need to keep the bumpers (right or left) pressed combined with the analog stick. But you can also spin with the triggers sending you on your merry way, whilst just one more button, the A button, creates acceleration.
Graphically, we’re not looking at an utter master piece, with Pumped coming in with a very simple 2.5D graphic system, although it does give the game a certain unique aspect. Comparing it in the visual stakes to Trials Fusion is something that shouldn’t be done, but you can at least personalise your BMX bike by choosing one of the ten available designs, decide on any of the six outfits available for your BMXer, and whether or not you want to wear one of 12 helmet designs.
In the sound department the game features a couple of electronic/funky/disco/groovy tunes continually playing in a loop. Although the musical variety isn’t a huge one, they are quite pleasing to the ear although amid the frustration of level repetition, they are quickly pushed into the background as you attempt to master each and every course.
For those whom describe themselves as achievement hunters and are looking for a game that can easily boost their gamerscore, I’ve to say that this is not one of those Indie games that gives out silly and easy achievements. If you like to be challenged as you go about picking up that gamerscore, then this is the game for you. There are a total of 22 cheevos, awarding you with the full 1000 gamerscore, but the majority of them (15) are unlocked by performing specific trick combos which are harder than you think. The others are related to completing a certain number of runs, challenges, slams, tricks and degrees spins, all of which are cumulative so eventually you will unlock them just by playing the game over time.
Pumped BMX+ features a few glitches and bugs, especially when you crash your BMXer. I don’t know if they are there on purpose like in Goat Simulator, if not then the fact they’ve got missed is a bit of a bonus because they are amusing to watch. I never tired of seeing my biker miss a spin, ending up with his head stuck on the planks.
Originally created for Android and iOS platforms by YEAHUS, a small one-man-studio, you should be checking out Pumped BMX+ as it releases on Xbox One thanks to the [email protected] program and Curve Digital.
Just prepare yourself to fall into a endless restart of tracks as you attempt to successfully master them all.