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    dkirschner's Thumper (PC)

    [January 14, 2019 12:07:16 AM]
    Thumper is intense, a "rhythm violence" game, according to its creators. It's deceptively simple, and becomes brutally difficult. You guide a beetle-thing along a track, pressing X in sync with the music track to create additional rhythms and melodies. First, you're just pressing X when passing little squares of blue light, then you're pressing and holding X to go through obstacles, then you're pressing X and left/right on the analog stick to take sharp curves, etc. Each level has added something new (I'm on level 6 of 9).

    Each addition allows for greater musical complexity, but also feels like a punishment. In level 5, the game adds rings that encircle the track and force you to perfect a sequence or else it kills you with a laser. I'm sure I've died hundreds times in Thumper so far. The first point is the most interesting. Since every correct button press you make and obstacle you clear generates a sound, the better you do, and the more you can hear sub-rhythms and melodies. Skill reinforces skill. The more you learn what the full music track CAN sound like, the better able you are to time inputs to create the track that you're learning. It's neat, and I really like it.

    Each level has a ton of sub-levels, usually around 30, plus a few boss battles. The boss battles are awesome, and I feel like a master every time I beat one. They are made up of four sections, and you have to complete all four sections without dying. Each section loops until you get it right and pass on to the next one. The boss battles require you to learn the music and be flawless in your timing, sort of like those rings in level 5. You time the X press on yellow-green lights, and as you get more correct, new lights appear, sometimes new obstacles appear, and at the end of the sequence, you press on a large yellow light that injures the boss and moves you to the next sequence.

    Thumper's sound and visual style are trippy. The score is industrial electronic music, very rhythmic and repetitive. The visuals are nightmarish. Google screenshots or watch a video to see. The bosses are undulating symmetrical shapes and otherworldly creatures like this firey skull guy who keeps reappearing. It feels like a horror game, and I guess this is something they mean when they say rhythm violence. There's no (stated) story to speak of, and the game is starting to feel a little repetitive as the difficulty ramps up. I may be approaching a skill wall where the time I'll have to put it isn't worth the reward, but we'll see. I'm sure I would feel like a god if I managed to beat it.
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    Status

    dkirschner's Thumper (PC)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 30 December, 2018

    Opinion
    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Brutally difficult (so far) and dread-inducing. Love it.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See dkirschner's page

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