Thumpies in Review – Likably Offbeat
Thumpies in Review – Likably Offbeat
The name “Thumpies” evokes cotton candy clouds and fluffy balls of fun. When I was asked to review it, I imagined a procession of cute little creatures (bunnies, emoticons, you name it) drenched in the colours of the rainbow, and musical notes floating around them. When I finally got my hands on Thumpies, however, what caught my attention is the opening hysterical little laugh that you’ll hear all through out the game. It’s the kind of insane little laugh that burrows itself in the back of your head, and worse, invade your nightmares. That’s not all, though: the Thumpies I had in mind were not the creepy little bouncing heads that look like they were part of a head hunter’s collection.
I said to myself, “This why I’m a reviewer and not a developer.” Clearly, the aesthetics behind Thumpies is not your run of the mill, flowers and sunshine type. The artwork is reminiscent of the whimsical drawings of Where The Wild Things Are, and the thumpies themselves look a lot like the Madballs of yore, but a little more grotesque.
These oddball creatures drive the beat of this rhythm game, and entering their world means getting them to dance to the beat of your drums. Thumpies descend from above landing on mushrooms and tree stumps – your job is to bang your organic drums as quickly and accurately as you can. The ‘drum‘ is highlighted green if you get it right. If you get a particular block of beats right, the thumpies are electrified and you score double points.
Each level comes with three progressively difficult layers/motifs. You’re supposed to fill up a progress meter in order to advance to the next layer, and the one you complete becomes part of the musical motif of the next layer. Finish all three and you complete the level. Catch the little butterflies that flit about to unlock higher level thumpies.
Levels are arranged in non-linear fashion on tree branches, and offer three modes of difficulty. You can replay the earliest lower levels and the thumpies you unlock make an appearance at these levels. You can choose from two to three different levels to play at any given time depending on the number of thumpies you’ve unlocked.
While most casual games claim to be “easy to learn but difficult to master,” Thumpies is one of the few games that makes good on such claim. The initial levels start out easy enough with only one of the bouncing creatures to manage. But as you move up, more thumpies bounce around and often in offbeat fashion. The game is a true test for the uncoordinated.
The levels all have bizarre names and pronounced for the player’s benefit – not that the names or sounds make sense, though. Motifs, beats and vocals vary wildly, adding to the generally surreal feeling while playing the game. The layers tie in nicely to form a catchy musical track – catchy enough to get your feet tapping while trying to get the sequence right.
While the unstructured approach works for the most part, I found myself longing for different game modes and an additional purpose to the game – a time challenge, for example, or mini-games. An even better deal would be a level editor, letting the player mix and match these odd but memorable snatches of music to create different kinds of sounds.
I’m expecting online leaderboard and social media integration, including achievements, in the coming updates, as well as multiplayer options.
With gorgeous, vibrant artwork and a bizarre soundtrack, Thumpies is one twisted rhythm game that is definitely worth a slot on your iDevice.
This review of Thumpies was brought to you by the eloquent Enuh Iglesias.