To ensure that I was not influenced by external media I stayed away from any reviews, spoilers or trailers. I jumped in fresh as a daisy with no expectations and no idea what the game entailed (clearly from the title I expected something to do with a BMX).
Once downloaded I jumped straight in and loaded up the tutorial and to my horror quickly realised this looked like a BMX version of Olli Olli but a with a closer camera angle and slightly more cartoony graphics. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal of these types of games but they are just not for me. There was a part of me that was screaming to hand the review to someone else as I was already thinking the worst, however I made myself persevere and I am glad I did.
Pumped BMX+ is a 2D runner type game with a variety of difficulty ‘levels’ ranging from ‘local’ difficulty (presumably beginner) through 5 increasingly harder levels to Legend. Inside each difficulty level are 8+ sections, within these sections are easy, medium and hard tick lists of certain accomplishments and each easy/medium/hard tick list comprises 4 accomplishments. Still with me after that? Good. These tick lists consist of 1 particular trick, 1 target total score, 1 target trick score and a level completion, as you may have guessed you perform tricks on your BMX to accomplish these although the level completion is exactly that. If you wanted to you could just ride the BMX through the level till the end, that however seems extremely tedious. Once you have completed a section of 4 accomplishments you move onto the next, after a while you start to unlock the higher level ratings and move onto tougher challenges.
Levels are simple with either wooded, snow or prairie type backdrops and a start point and finish line. In between the start and finish are varying sized ramps and jumps on which you will perform your tricks and hit the accomplishment checklist. Some of the tricks look spectacular when performed and linked together and give you a sense of accomplishment. It goes without saying that the harder and more complicated the trick, the more points you get. Fail to hit your targets and you can restart the level, same goes for in game crashes which I have to say can be spectacular and make you wince accompanied with an ’ooohhhhh’. I must admit that I did spend quite a lot of time wiping out just for the fun of it. As you play through are accompanied by a nice and chilled soundtrack that despite lacking in variety, does not get boring or annoying and seems to sit perfectly with the flow of the game.
The tempo of the game mixed with the soundtrack slowly drew me in, as I continued to play I found myself getting to grips with the tricks and really start to get engrossed, then I hit a bit of an annoying wall where I just couldn’t make the distance between a certain jump and I would get stuck between the jump and landing points which ended the attempt. I thought this was an annoying layout error and I started to get frustrated by such a simple oversight, until I realised that pushing the left joystick to the right just before takeoff increased your jump distance and pushing it left increased your jump height. Once I ’mastered’ (used in the loosed sense) this I managed to carry on through and make those pesky jumps I had kept missing.
There are not a lot of extras however there are a few different outfits, helmets and bike colours to choose from but these seem to be just a throw in with not a lot of variety. In the options you can change the audio and SFX volumes and nothing else, however there are 2 interesting options you can unlock; advanced grinds which is unlocked after 400 challenges and a glitch mode which is unlocked upon game completion. Neither of these I have unlocked but again the seem to be a couple of after thoughts that might be fun for a while but nothing major. One nice addition is the ability to cross save to allow you to play on your PS Vita or PS3.
All in all this game surprised me and for the current price of £7.99 on the PS Store I would recommend it if you are interested in these types of games. A solid game that I will continue to dip in and out of quite regularly.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 7/10 Format: PC/PS4/Xbox One Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Pumped BMX+ by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of a week. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.