Tag Archives: Trials

Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – Pumped BMX+

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.

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Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – Monster Jam: Battlegrounds

Monster Jam: Battlegrounds is a bad game. I thought I’d just put that up front here in this new feature for Grinding Down where I finally start taking a look at the many, many PlayStation Plus titles I have installed on my PlayStation 3. Why? Well, the service is not what it once was in terms of the games you get (at least for the console I’m still on), and I’m looking to ultimately cancel it down the road. Unlike Microsoft’s Games with Gold program, you don’t get to keep the titles from Sony, so I should try some of them out before I cut ties and these disappear for good.

Let’s get to it. Monster Jam: Battlegrounds is Trials, but instead of motorbikes you use monster trucks to get the job done. The job is usually going from the left side of the screen to the right side. Actually, that comparison is completely unfair to the Trials franchise, which is noteworthy for its physic-based controls and steep challenge, but high level of polish. Also, completing a tough jump in Trials Evolution felt do-able and was really rewarding; here, you are fighting at every twist and turn to keep these monster trucks upright, almost as if they are hollow inside. Ugh.

There are three modes: Skill Driving, Stadium Events, and Stunt. Each is less exciting than the previous one. Skill Driving has you trying to reach certain areas by maintaining momentum and not toppling over. Stadium is a ridiculous scenario where you drive in a circle two or three times and beat an opponent doing the same thing, and to call this a “race” is an insult to the very definition of the word. Stunt wants you to use your boost power effectively and see how far you can make a monster truck fly through the air. These are all straightforward and over quickly, which makes the long load times to get to them and unresponsive controls all the more frustrating.

So, in the end, not a keeper. The physics are appalling, the challenge and graphic designs are lackluster, the audio is a mess, cutting in and out and culminating into one large crunch of static, crowd cheers, and cheesy rock music, and it takes forever to play, which, for a game I don’t want to play all that much, makes the decision to uninstall pretty easy. Didn’t even need to boost.

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.