If you have ever wanted to play the music game equivalent to joining a Fight Club, possibly sans brainwashing and Brad Pitt, Thumper is pretty much exactly what you’re looking for. Most rhythm games invite the player to sync up with a pounding beat, but Thumper is more about the pounding part. It’s still music, of a sort, but of a percussive, primal variety, something meant to rattle your teeth and override your senses.
I have been enamored with Thumper since I first read about it last year, and I generally try not to get hype for games on a personal level, just, you know, as a rule. ‘No cheering in the press box’ and all that. But Thumper, man. I can barely contain myself when it comes to talking about Thumper.
Just this morning, Drool’s Marc Flury announced that Sony would be bringing this ‘rhythm hell’ to Playstation VR, which is doubly exciting because it means there is finally something that might actually work well with one of the small handful of close-to-market VR headsets we’ve seen.
Now, I admit, I’m a bit of a Debbie Downer when it comes to a largely speculative technology like virtual reality. You can go to one of any other countless publications if you want to hear the breathless imaginings projected onto these things which few consumers have even yet gotten their hands on. Living near a major game design school and being involved with IndieCade as I’ve been for the past few years, I’ve played around with the Oculus Rift enough to get a good feel for its limits, but only one project I’ve tried felt like it truly suited VR — and that one involved 360 degree cameras in a cordoned-off, motion-tracking play space. In other words, not the sort of thing the average player will have in their living room. Even efforts at VR treadmills like the Omni are unfortunately limited in scope (and will be prohibitively expensive, atop the already pricy headsets), so for the most part, you’re going to spend your virtual reality time sitting down with a controller in hand, looking like this:
…Which is where we get back to Thumper, because while Thumper conveys a sense of movement, it feels more like stuff is coming at you, rather than you moving toward it. Paired with the relentless booming audio and intense pulsating lights (in fact, I’d recommend photosensitive folks not even watch the trailers), Thumper seems like the ideal game to slam right into your helpless retinas at point-blank range. Sign me the hell up.
Thumper does not as yet have a specific release date, but is expected to whumph onto Playstation 4 and Playstation VR later this year. If you need something to tide you over, check out this extended demo Drool’s Marc Flury delivered at last year’s Game Developers Conference.
Kris Ligman is the News Editor of ZAM. Aah that skull AAAH THAT SKULL IS COMING RIGHT AT ME!!! Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisLigman.