Pumped: BMX (universal) by Yeah Us Studios is a side-scrolling BMX racer that challenges users to not only make it through each of the 36 levels, but also perform a variety of tricks along the way. The game, the first created by long-time BMX-er Adam Hunt, was designed to be true-to-life – something BMX lovers will definitely appreciate.
There are 5 locations: Tutorial, Backyard, The Farm, Desert and Big City – all with a unique look and feel. Each level features several challenges to unlock, and as more challenges are completed, more locations and additional challenges also become available. Each of the stages requires a different strategy – while some jumps provide huge air time, others need to be timed just right in order to perform clean landings.
Overall, the game looks fantastic. The graphics are cartoony, but clean and crisp. The button layout is simple: the ‘pump’ button to make the BMX go, the ‘spin’ button to make the bike spin forward or backward, and the ‘trick’ virtual analogue stick performs different tricks depending on the direction it’s pulled. In addition, players must make use of tilt controls to ensure clean landings and to initiate the spin directions.
Although the game looks and feels great, I must admit I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it over the past week. It is insanely addicting, yet at the same time frustratingly difficult. The first time I played it, I have an extremely hard time putting it down, trying to complete “just one more challenge.”
While I’m not a big biker, I am a fairly experienced gamer, and it took me quite a while to get the hang of the physics of the game. That’s not to say that the physics were poor, but maybe it would have been better if they were a little more forgiving.
In addition, as many iPad users have found, tilt controls can be awkward so perhaps the game would have benefited from having an alternative control set-up as well. Finally, with a “extreme sports” type game, I expected a more cutting edge sound track. Instead, the music is repetitive and feels more like bunnies frolicking in a field.
Pumped: BMX was made by a BMXer for BMXers, but is one any gamer looking for a challenge should enjoy – but let me be perfectly clear – this game is difficult, which is probably what makes it so addicting.