Thumper makes me want VR

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Virtual reality is all the rage now but nothing has made me want to try VR until now.

I’m kind of proud to say that I remember the first time virtual reality was the future. It was the early 1990s and movies like The Lawnmower Man promised a VR experience like none other. Full body suits, goggles, gloves…the whole bit. The movie made it look great, too bad it didn’t pan out that way.

Back then, VR could offer you great visuals and poor control, or great control with low-end graphics. You couldn’t have your cake and eat it too but now some 20 years later, we’re going to try it again. Everybody seems to have VR to sell…Sony, Google, Oculus…the list will grow and grow until we find out of VR is viable next-gen type thing or if it’s just a fun fad like it was two decades ago.

All in all, as I watch VR get toted here and there and everywhere, there hadn’t been any one game that really made me want to pony up to have my own in-home VR system…that is until I played Thumper.

Thumper

I had seen review for Thumper for a few weeks but never got around to loading it up on my PS4. Once I did, I couldn’t put the controller down. Thumper is the perfect combination of speed, memory and music. It’s also brutal and, well, I guess I dig getting abused.

At its core, I guess Thumper a rhythm game. Taking action on the beat is certainly a key part of the game that will help you survive but it’s also the best racing game I’ve played in a long time. You’ll be memorizing “tracks” and patterns just like you would any racing game, and then you have to be able to tell your thumbs to keep up. It’s a tough game but not frustrating, and that’s key.

But more than anything else, playing Thumper made me want to play it in VR. Not only does it look like the old 3D animation reels from back in the day, it reminds me of the racing game featured in The Lawnmower Man.

Okay, so the movie never had a flying beetle in it but the game in the movie was a racing game where the main character was riding a flying motocycle type thing and he had to weave his way around obstacles at outrageous speeds. I loved watching that scene but had to imagine how fun it would be in true VR. I’ve longed for that game in general, let alone in VR, and Thumper might be as close as I get so far.

But even without the movie comparison, you can tell Thumper was designed with VR in mind. It’s all very dreamscapey…actually, more nightmarescape, I guess, as your beetle tries to blast giant demon skulls out of the sky.

Alas, I don’t have the PS4 VR add-on and probably won’t get it anytime soon with a $400 price tag but like anything else, that price will come down. And in general, VR prices should continue to drop as it becomes cheaper to make and also fades out. I mean, I can see VR being great in real-world applications like medicine or military stuff, but as an entertainment platform, I don’t foresee it being that long lasting.

So while the VR experience might be a bit out of reach, thankfully Thumper is not. It’s only $20 on PSN and it’s well worth the price of admission. I probably would have paid more, to be honest.

If you’re looking for speed and a true test of your reflexes, then Thumper is the best you’ll find right now.

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Brian is a staff writer at TMA. He races Hot Wheels at RedlineDerby.com while watching cartoons with his kid. You can follow @morningtoast on Twitter.

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