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Following the surprise cult hit of 2012, Pumped BMX returns for a second run, and it’s a hugely worthwhile update
The second edition of the extreme sports game has been given more than just a few new levels or tricks – it’s been overhauled, and in the case of its design, almost entirely. The original was celebrated for its simplicity, its hand-drawn feel in 2D was hugely accessible. However, the follow up takes us to the next level with its 3D art, and a whole range of new stuff.
One thing we realized very quickly, is that Pumped BMX 2 is not a game you should use on the bus, or in public in general really. You’ll look like you’re losing control of an imaginary weed whacker. It’s all down to a remarkable lack of sensitivity in the motion sensor, which sounds like a negative, but is actually a surprising positive in that it gives you far more control than other similar games. Of course, it’s a bit of a downer in that other people will not look at you like you’re a safe member of society, while deeply engrossed in what is an extremely addictive game.
Pumped BMX 2 needs playing over and over again, if only to get familiar enough with the tricks to get comfortable as to where you’re going to land. They’re spectacular looking, which makes the game incredible, and all the more fun when you pull off a trick. But, jeez, if it doesn’t sometimes take a long time. This is a game for dedicated players, despite its more cartoonish and accessible look – it’s rock-hard, preferring short courses that require specific, point-heavy tricks, rather than collecting items or combos, like in other extreme sports games. If you fall in Pumped BMX, that’s it – back to the start.
The idea on each level, which has an easy, medium, and hard setting, is to complete the level, do a trick that reaches a certain amount of points, score another determined amount of points for the whole level, and do a specified trick. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on just one, like doing the trick. But as the game gets harder, it’s like the developers have recognized the urge to take it easy for the rest of the level. Nope – if you don’t do a fairly impressive trick on each ramp, you won’t have enough speed to get up the next hill and to the end of the level. From there, you crash, and you burn.
Timing is absolutely everything in this game, and on the harder levels, so is trick choice. There’s so more strategy, which is an odd element to see in an extreme sports game, but it does wonders for its originality. Some tricks will help you land a specific ramp better, to gain speed for a big push, while others will give you more air. Again, going back to the design, it doesn’t seem to quite fit with its intentions, but it may ensnare a new audience this way, and it is great to see characters and landscapes that haven’t been ripped straight from one of the old Robocop movies, dripping with urbanity and appallingly punk-metal soundtracks – though maybe we’re just basing that on the last game that we reviewed that involved two wheels – bleurgh.
Instead, you’ve got an almost cutesy little dude that’s rockin’ some uncharacteristically gnarly tricks on his little BMX. But don’t let it fool you – this game is packed, addictive, fun, frustrating, rewarding, and most of all – smooth as hell.
Price: $2.99 / £1.99
Developer: Yeah Us!
Size: 46.9 MB
Platform: iOS Universal
- Gameplay is perfect
- It's just hard enough to keep you at it for hours
- The design subverts its gameplay
- Sometimes you can get stuck as required trick combos seem impossible