It’s a bit like Trials. This is probably something you’ll think a lot playing this game, it certainly was my first impression – however it quickly dawns on you that whilst it may be a bit like Trials in the premise, it’s nowhere near as good. In fact, it’s borderline bad.
Pumped BMX on consoles is a console version of the mobile game of the same name, and it shows big time. However rather than adapting a mobile concept they’ve really just upscaled it and added some complex controls.
Billed as an exciting BMX thrill ride, it’s little of any of those things. Literally – it’s barely BMX. The concept is simple; you’re on a 2D plain and must get to the end of the course without falling off. On the way you can do tricks for points, and that’s where the complexity goes up.
You see, like Trials balance is key here. Moving left and right to be aligned with the ground, and making jumps is critical – but there’s no accelerate. Instead you hold X to go faster which just gets initial momentum up – once in the air, you hold to come down fast and help the momentum going. Be faced with an incline and you’re back to the start (no checkpoints here). BMXs have pedals right? Who knows, not in this game.
You can do a manual for points, and do this across grinds as well – however the grind is the same as riding normally just on what looks like a pole, and the lack of any physics model at all (presumably adapted for iOS gameplay) means the manual balancing on just one wheel has no feedback to it at all. In the air, you can spin left or right, flip forward or back, do a level one set of tricks or a more advanced level two. If you don’t complete perfectly you’re off the bike and back to the start. If it looks like you might be able to make it… computer says no, the animation may look like it’s finished but often not.
Frustration is the name of the game here. With each level are a number of challenges – achieve a certain number of points, etc. You need to complete a number to unlock the next set of levels, of which there are a fair few to be fair – but honestly you’re unlikely to get that far. The fact it’s an iOS game isn’t really an excuse as Trials has a free version that is excellent (and has physics!) albeit no tricks.
What else do you get in the console release? These are the boasts:
- Beautifully rendered 3D high definition graphics and animation – this very much depends on your definition of beautiful. If you were to say “early iPad style graphics” then yes, it’s beautiful.
- A new enhanced and intelligent control system – this also depends on your definition of intelligent. Is a Rubik’s cube intelligent?
- Loads of authentic BMX tricks which can be combined for almost unlimited creativity – the tricks can be combined, this is true. There are a fair few too but you’ll find yourself doing those with the shortest animation possible
- A brand new fully licensed soundtrack – this deserves special mention. Playing uninterrupted over everything, it’s probably the worst in game soundtrack I’ve ever heard. You can hear it here: https://lacedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pumped-bmx-original-soundtrack and even buy it if you hate yourself. I would recommend turning this off very quickly.
In fact, I’d recommend not bothering with this at all. It’s just about playable really but why would you? There’s better out there (Trials Fusion is pretty much the best there is of this type of game) and there’s even free to play versions which do a better job of entertaining.
Reviewed on PS4