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Thumper (VR) Review: Horrifying and hypnotic

There aren’t many great rhythm games out on VR as of now. There’s the god level Beat Saber, but other than that there’s games like Audioshield and Sound Boxing which are fun but hollow experiences. Luckily Thumper is different from all of these.

Unlike all the other VR rhythm games you don’t flail your body around punching or slicing notes. You sit down with your headset on and a controller in hands.

While it may not sound like the most intriguing VR experience because of this, it is one of the most hypnotizing VR games out there. Because you can’t get tired, there isn’t really any reason to quit playing.

The music and visuals here are also insane to stare at. You play as a little beetle on a track. It zooms at what feels like crazy high speeds as turns and obstacles come at you to the beats of the music.

Music in this game isn’t your typical 3-minute-long tune, but instead the songs are eerie boss-level sounding electro songs filled with heavy beats. Every song is extremely intense, and the entire experience of Thumper is hypnotizing and exhilarating.

The visuals in the game are just as intense as the songs. It’s dark, a little scary, and full of strange imagery. From the bosses to the tentacles wrapping around the track’s turns, everything you speed by feels like its there to make you feel uncomfortable in the slightest of ways.

What Thumper does best lies in its ability to make the player dread its difficulty amongst the intense music and boss battles. Thumper is by no means an easy game. It starts off fairly easy and introduces you to only a few of its mechanics. As you complete more stages and levels the game starts to reveal some of its more challenging mechanics.

While the game is also playable as a non-VR title, it is best experienced in VR. The game feels like it has you locked in a trance. The game isn’t all that long, and it also doesn’t feel like a normal rhythm game where you would go back and beat songs either. More than anything it feels like a game you play through to beat rather than get better and better scores on.

Many rhythm games have competition on their side. In games like Guitar Hero you go back to play a song to get better and better at it, but Thumper just feels like a game with not a lot of replayability.

It’s damn fun to throw a friend into and watch them be sucked into the game though.

The steady increase in difficulty along with the intensity of the visuals and the hypnotic gameplay make Thumper a must-buy for any rhythm game fan with a VR headset.

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