I’m pretty sure Thumpies are what happen when you feed Uggles after midnight. To say this rhythm game is wild is an understatement. From the initial laugh when you press the screen to start the game, you know you’re going to be in for something different, and Thumpies certainly delivers. The game fun, it’s fast paced, and the Thumpies are cute in a demented sort of way. The problem is that the more Thumpies you get on screen at the same time, the less responsive the game seems to become. Or, I could just have a bad sense of rhythm. I’m not really sure what the case is, but it can be frustrating sometimes.
Thumpies are odd, furry little creatures with an innate sense of rhythm that like to bounce around and eat butterflies. Each level contains three or more platforms that the Thumpies can bounce on, and it’s your job to help them find the beat by tapping on the platforms when they bounce on them. A correctly timed tap will produce a sound and add to the meter at the top of the screen. When the meter is full you have beaten the level. If you get enough correct taps in a row the Thumpies will become electrified and the meter will fill up twice as fast, but that goes away with the first missed tap. There are also butterflies flittering around that you can tap. Collecting these butterflies allows you to unlock additional Tumpies to play with. If your completion meter falls to 0 any butterflies that you’ve captured will fly away. When the completion meter is full any captured butterflies will added to your total count. Be warned, though, Thumpies like to eat butterflies, so you have to get to them before they do!
Like any good rhythm game, the key to Thumpies is timing. Unlike most rhythm games, however, each Thumpie has a set pattern. As such, the game has a Simon like element to it in the sense that if you memorize the pattern of each Thumpie it will make it easier for you to beat the level. On the plus side, all you have to do is tap the screen on the corresponding platform when a Thumpie bounces. The problem is that when you get more than one Thumpie going, especially if they are moving quickly, the touch response seems a bit shaky. It gets worse when there are butterflies flittering around and you try and tap on them in between bounces. It’s not always an issue, as there are some levels with a bunch of platforms and Thumpies that I was able to score pretty high on, but in some cases I literally had to just keep tapping all the platforms and hoping I got enough taps timed right that I could finally finish the level.
There’s certainly plenty of replay value with Thumpies. Every level has three difficulty settings, which for most people should provide a good amount of challenge. The only thing I don’t like about this is that it doesn’t appear that scores are kept by difficulty, but just by level. It would be nice to know within a level what my best score on each difficulty setting was. There’s also the matter of unlocking all of the Thumpies, which should keep you busy for a little while. And, some of the levels are just plain fun to play over and over again.
The world of Thumpies looks good. There’s a nice variety of detailed backgrounds, and the Thumpies themselves are quite interesting to look at. I’m not sure whether I’d classify the Thumpies as looking cute or disturbing, but either way they are quite fascinating. The sound effects are great. There’s a laugh at certain times that sounds just like the crazy reindeer from the Santa Clause movies, and I can’t help but smile every time I hear it. In fact, I found myself smiling quite a bit at the sounds in this game. They’re just so much fun. The music is also interesting. You might start out with a light melody or nothing at all, and each sequence of Thumpies that you successfully complete builds on the background music for the next sequence. I thought it was a very creative way of handling the music.
I’ve not been a big fan of the whole rhythm genre of games, but as variants like Beat It and Thumpies comes out I’m starting to appreciate the genre a little bit more. Thumpies in particular has an addictive quality about it. I’m not sure whether it’s because of the need to collect them all, the funny sounds the Thumpies make, or just the frantic nature of game play in general. I do hope they consider revisiting the controls at some point, though, because this is a game where responsiveness is key and I don’t feel that when there are several Thumpies on screen at once. Otherwise, Thumpies delivers some intense fun that will keep you coming back again and again.
Final Verdict: Recommended