I’d never get on an actual BMX bike at my age now or do any kind of extreme sports adventure in real life, but I’m all about ’em in videogame form. I collected a ton of skulls in Motorcross Madness and had a jolly good time doing flips and speeding down windy courses on customized machinery. I’m also a big fan of the Trials series, even if I will never master some of those tougher tracks. Which brings us to Pumped BMX+, a game that wants to play like its forefathers and nail those sick tricks with style and speed, but doesn’t, and ends up looking beyond generic for the entire ride.
Well, let’s get to it because I’ve already uninstalled the game off my PlayStation 3. Pumped BMX+ is an arcade-style BMX game full of tricks, stunts, and combos that originates from a well-known BMX franchise. Alas, I didn’t realize this is just one entry in a storied series, so shame on me. There’s also over over 500 challenges to master if that is something that interests you. It was developed by the one-man studio Yeah Us!, which is a funny name for a one-man band though kudos on the exclamation point. I believe the game originally started on mobile devices with touchscreen controls.
Gameplay is what you expect, with no frills or story to get in the way. You can customize your avatar, changing his bike, outfit, and helmet around. Otherwise, you immediately jump straight onto a virtual BMX and ride your way through increasingly challenging levels with the main intent to pull off trick combos to earn big points. Some key things to know before you start pulling off all that fancy footwork include speeding up (holding down X), jumping into the air (letting go of X at the right moment), and then using a combination of triggers and the left and right sticks to perform a variety of tricks. Sounds easy, but it’s not, and I really struggled with getting decent air.
Honestly, truly, I’m not a graphics snob, but something just seems off with Pumped BMX+. I mean, look at the trees. The ground texture. The empty space between ramps and rails. It all just feels like pre-made assets from some baseline store that you could probably find in a dozen of shovelware trash on Steam these days. I don’t know. It didn’t really impress me the way Trials does. Heck, even Monster Jam: Battlegrounds had more going on with its look, and that was another swing and a miss at the Trials gameplay.
If you’re looking for some high-speed action, killer tunes, and cool animations for nailing tricks on your bike, Pumped BMX+ is not the place for it. Sorry.
Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.