50 Best Games of 2016: #3 -Thumper


Our 50 best games of the year countdown isn’t in any order, we’re just going through fifty of the finest the year has given us. Find out more here.

The drums get faster and faster; they are unrelenting. Each turn on the track is felt with every inch of your body. The track is alive, you are alive, there are no breaks on this road. Your senses are tingling, every past moment has prepared you for this, the final boss. You hear a shriek, it’s close, the final boss. A brief silence, broken by an entirely new crescendo of distressing music. You see it coming up over the horizon, a demonic head screaming at you.

What game is this? Thumper.

Thumper’s developers, Drool, created their own genre, named ‘rhythm violence’. And what is rhythm violence, exactly? Well, Thumper’s visuals and sounds come together in a brutal clash that messes with your head. The edges of each track clank with you at every turn and the sounds are aggressive throughout. I had to take the odd break just to have some time to relax, away from it.

You play as a chrome beetle soaring through a seemingly infinite one way track, surviving just by turning, jumping and shielding to the tempo of a somewhat unnatural rhythm. It starts off slow, just like any rhythm game, but the pace quickly picks up and, before you know it, you’re barely scraping past each turn. Two unfortunate mistakes and your beetle explodes, shattering into pieces just like your hopes of completing the level.

The visuals look like something from a nightmare. The freakish atmosphere combined with the mildly unsettling sounds create a unique experience no current game is able to offer. Between each level there is a brief moment of silence, but quickly this is overtaken by a gradual instrumental escalation which is nothing short of ominous.

Thumper may well be one of the best games of 2016 and I recommend it to anyone keen to experience a new thrill.

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