E3 2016: ‘Thumper’ Demo Impressions

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E3 is an enormous event. With hundreds of developers and publishers about trying their best to show you their games, it’s easy to miss some of the more subtle titles the annual convention shows each year.

Thumper, an indie game on the PlayStation 4, is one such game I played that made a stealthy appearance into Sony’s booth at E3.

“A rhythm violence game,” as it’s described on PlayStation’s website, Thumper has you assuming control of a space beetle traversing through a trippy, but vividly bleak and absolutely stunning world described as a “hellish void” on the game’s website.

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The only buttons I needed to concern myself with during the 16-stage demo were X and left and right on the joystick. Primarily following the beat of a timpani — also known as those big drums with a powerful sound you see/hear in orchestras — I simply had to follow the rhythm of the music to slide my way from stage to stage using precise timing.

Its controls and the end goal are simple on paper, but making it through corners and barriers is a greater challenge. I admittedly died a fair number of times — probably to the point to where the patient gentlemen behind me in line hated my guts — but with each death came a better understanding on how to overcome each obstacle with satisfaction.

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Thumper also has boss battles in the form of a “maniacal giant head” named Crakhed, whom I had to fight in the demo. It wasn’t any different from getting through the stages the normal way. You merely had to survive more difficult obstacles to dole damage.

There isn’t much else to talk about with Thumper. It has an overt concept that anyone can crash on the couch and learn, but making it from point A to point B is a different story that people looking for a challenge should be excited for, and the eye-candy visuals during the entire ride are a treat.

Thumper is expected to hit the beat on Oct. 13 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR and Steam.

Robbie Key is the Nintendo editor for Analog Addiction, assistant news editor at The Daily Sentinel and former editor-in-chief of The Pine Log at Stephen F. Austin State University, where he is now an alumnus. Follow his “completely relevant” Twitter updates and view his LinkedIn profile.


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