Title: Pumped BMX +
Platform: PS3, PS4, PSVita, Wii U and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Curve Digital and Yeah Us
Publisher: Curve Digital
Release date: September 18th 2015 (Xbox One) / September 22nd 2015 (PS3/PS4)
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Way back in the early 2000s, during the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube era, I was a huge fan of Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2. Aside from certain RPGs, I put in so many hours into DMFB2, it’s just crazy. When I think back about it, it’s another reason I’m kind of bummed that Acclaim went under and that seemingly no one purchased the license. I’ve been craving a new BMX game for the last 14 years; hoping that a company somewhere would have the testicular fortitude to try and develop a new BMX game. With the recent revival of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise, maybe we aren’t too far off. In the meantime, we get a game like Pumped BMX +. Will this game fill the BMX void? Well…
The goal of the game in Pumped BMX + is to simply score as much points as possible and clear all 100+ challenges. Unlike the traditional BMX games, this one doesn’t let you pedal. In order to get some (limited) speed, hold down the A button (on Xbox One) and just as you’re about to reach the end of the ramp, you release the button to jump off and get some air to pull off some cool extreme moves. Pretty basic and simple. Successfully pulling off tricks is all about timing: releasing the “Speed” at the right time will give you more air and nailing the timing to hit the “Speed” button when landing will give you a small boost. In order to pull off moves, players need to use either joysticks or triggers or a combination of all three allowing you to do more complicated moves.
Each level is broken down into 3 difficulty setting. You have a short distance to ride and get some air in order to pull off moves and score big. The way that the game adjust difficulty is pretty interesting though. Each level have objectives you need to clear. In order to help you get through levels, hitting the pause button will allow you to checkout the conditions that need to be met in order to move to the next level. Luckily, there are a few levels unlocked from the get-go, so no need to finished all the challenges before moving on to the next stage. So in the short length of the level, you need to pull enough moves which matches set objectives in each difficulty in order to get the top score for the current level. It’s an interesting take for level progression, but it does mean that you’ll need to replay the same levels over and over in order to master it and conquer every objective.
Unfortunately, if you do not get enough air, you’ll crash and burn and have to restart the level. If you lack height and speed, even if you land on your wheels, you’re screwed when you’ll land in the middle of an upward slope seeing as you can’t pedal. It’s kind of ironic when the dev states “as close as you’ll get to real BMX without picking up a bike“; as far as I know (and watched on TV), you’re supposedly able to pedal on a BMX. For those fancy players, there’s also a limited customization option where you can change the appearance of your no-name character and his trusty BMX.
Visually, the game looks good. Pretty much like its iOS/Android version counterpart. It features a cutesy cartoon like style; background designs are bright and full of colors. Even a “bland” desert environment stands out with contrasting sand yellow and green colors. Audio wise, the soundtrack, a poppy rock score, is ok but it tends to get annoying after longer play sessions.
Unfortunately, Pumped BMX + isn’t what will replace games like Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX franchise. Unlike the aforementioned series, Pumped BMX + isn’t relying on skills but pure timing. Although the game is packed with challenges; keeping willing gamers busy for some time, controls do not adapt well to consoles and having the game rely more on luck due to how you jump and land is a huge annoyance. It does take some practice to nail down the timing, but once you do, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. However Pumped BMX + is the perfect example of games are sometimes best played on the system it was originally designed for.
- 100+ challenges
- Addictive once you get a hold of the controls
- Fun in short bursts
- Short levels mean perfect for quick play
- Lack of pedaling
- Annoying soundtrack
Pumped BMX + is rated E for Everyone.
Code provided courtesy of Xbox UK