THUMPER THUMPING THUMPTOBER THUMPTEENTH

You have to understand: I’m not supposed to be here. Something went wrong and I ended up in this dimension, one where we live on land not in water and our FPSs don’t roar like Devil Daggers and our rhythm games don’t rock faces like Thumper [official site]. This world is not right. But I am delighted that Devil Daggers slipped through a crack in reality, and now we have a date for when Thumper will follow – October 13th.

Thumper, to remind you, is a rhythm game from Drool, a two-person studio of folks who previously worked at Rock Band and Dance Central devs Harmonix. Your little beatbug doodad zips along surreal and colourful tracks, needing to make turns, switch lanes, leap, and so on in time to – and building – thumping tunes. And somehow you defeat giant bosses. I don’t even know. I try to look at it through my fingers so I don’t see too much. I recommend you do the same with this trailer from a couple of months back:

Thumper is coming October 13th to Windows via Steam. Who knows what will emerge next from the world I should’ve been in? If I ever vanish, you’ll know where I’ve gone.

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20 Comments

  1. RaoulDuke says:

    That trailer gave me goosebumps towards the end, my 100% reliable metric for knowing what a good game is [publishers could trick me by breaking my boiler around E3 time…].

    Very, super excited about this one, can’t wait. I hope it scales well and can be run in 1440p+ on a 970, looks “gorge” but I don’t know if it will tax a 970.

    John, are you still uncomfortable with this game? [https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/03/09/how-thumper-made-a-lot-of-people-very-uncomfortable/]

  2. turkeydrumstick says:

    This game must be an epileptics nightmare.

    Pretty, though.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I think they were aiming for “everybody’s nightmare” (mission accomplished).

      Regarding Alice’s twin universe theory, I suspect Drool are the mirror universe version of Jeff Minter. This, beyond all reasonable doubt, means we live in the “good” inverse. Sorry, Alice.

  3. Geebs says:

    Looks like Klax with an inferiority complex

    • Jalan says:

      Not in disagreement.

      The look of it still reminds me of the Pusher from Audiosurf. I’m sure the mechanics differ highly/etc. just as much as the overall aesthetic does but that’s what I keep going back to.

  4. Jac says:

    Not the cute bunny game I was expecting but looks enjoyably insane. I’m not sure any good can come from playing this in VR though.

  5. Dorga says:

    Is the comment above by a person or did a bot pass the Turing test?

  6. RobF says:

    THUMPER is *tremendous*.

    Genuinely the most terrifying videogame I’ve ever played. The ferocity of it, the noise, the visuals, everything just coalesces into this *thing* that’s both a rush and highly unsettling at the same time.

    Can’t wait to get to play it finished and proper.

  7. Dare_Wreck says:

    I don’t get how this is a game… After watching the trailer from the last article and again now, I don’t understand how this is fun. Are you just supposed to hit all the things along the track that make sounds, a la the Bit.Trip games? It seems that you only have to lean left or right and that’s about it. The visuals of Thumper seem to hide a really lackluster concept. To those of you that have played it, what am I missing?

    • RobF says:

      It’s a rhythm game so it’s more performing the right action at the right time. It’s fairly simple to get to grips with – tap A at the right time for some obstacles, hold A and move the stick to lean around corners, hold A for shields and so on. As you go on, it introduces more layers of complexity.

      So mechanically, it’s kinda like a load of other games but the speed and ferociousness of it all makes it quite an experience. It rarely gives you more than a few seconds inbetween sequences to breathe so I guess it’s a bit Super Hexagon in that regard.

      Anyway, it’s definitely a very very videogamey videogame. That’s why I love it so much. That and it moves bowels from 30 paces, obv.

      • Dare_Wreck says:

        Do you get points for hitting the interactive elements of the track? I still don’t get it – it seems like a slightly interactive music player visualization. I dig the music, I dig the visuals, I just don’t see where the fun in the gameplay is in this. The old E3 gameplay video (link to youtube.com) doesn’t help to elucidate it either.

        • Dare_Wreck says:

          I should point out that I’m one of the few people that never understood the obsession others had with Audiosurf, too. I get that people enjoy the interactivity that particular game gives them with their music collection, but I found the game part of Audiosurf dreadfully boring. And Thumper seems to have even less of a game than Audiosurf, which is why I’m stumped as to why people are excited by this.

          Now, Beat Hazard – there was a game I loved.

        • Dare_Wreck says:

          Sorry, one more thing, now that it just occurred to me why I’m taken aback by this game. What exactly is the goal of this game? Does this game have a win state? A lose state? Is it even possible to screw up in it? That’s what has me puzzled, now that I think about it some more. The trailer shows nothing more than someone hitting every single trigger point on the track – I have no idea what happens if you miss one of them, or what happens at the end of a track. Ultimately, What makes this fun?

          • ButteringSundays says:

            We’ve all watched the same trailer as you, so I’m not sure who these questions are directed at.

            Waxing lyrical about ‘what is game?’ and ‘how will I fun?’ won’t get us any closer to answers. If it doesn’t look like you’d enjoy it that’s fine, nobody was awaiting your approval.

          • Dare_Wreck says:

            Touché – I suppose my long-winded questioning simply boils down to that this is a terrible game trailer. It shows off the visuals and music great, but it tells us next to nothing about what the gameplay is.

          • RobF says:

            You can fail, yeah.

            It’s call and response mainly so you’ll hear or see an obstacle heading your way and you’ve got a few seconds to work through what you’re going to need to do. Often you’ll see a short sequence of obstacles, it’s preparing what to do about a few in quick succession. It might be hold shield for a few seconds, lean round corner, lean round another corner, shield again. If you muck it up, you lose a beetle.

            I’ve only played a (much) earlier build of the game so I couldn’t tell you how much it’s morphed along since then but that’s pretty much the size of it.

            As to whether you’ll find that fun? I couldn’t say. It left me grinning and unsettled like nothing I’ve played before and when I left the eldest on it with the headphones at EGX last year, he came away grinning too.

            It’s definitely an experience but beyond that, personal taste innit.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Go watch a game called One Finger Death Punch. Super simple at its core. You literally press your right or left mouse button, the entire game.

      But once you hit a rhythm state with it, where your flow is unconscious and unthinking, it becomes an incredible experience. The highest levels are so fast, you can’t think. It’s akin to an ongoing instinctual reaction, all wrapped up in Kung Fu trappings.

      I’m hoping for a similar experience with Thumper. Though obviously not Kung Fu violence, but more end-of-universe scifi violence.

  8. racccoon says:

    A game for a few minutes, tops..as after that, you’ll just go blinking insane. glwt1, lol

  9. Vacuity729 says:

    Oh, yes! I’ve been waiting for this game! This is the best news! And the worst news for my neighbours.

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    alison says:

    This looks fucking insane. I doubt i will ever play it because rhythm games basically take my least-liked mechanic of video games and then distill it down to be the whole game, but man oh man. Judging by the video this one has a wild aesthetic. Be neat to play a Proteus-style walking sim version of it.