Pumped BMX + review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, PC, Wii U
Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: Yeah Us/Curve Digital
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards
ESRB: E10+

I’ve been struggling to come up with anything to say about Pumped BMX + beyond “It’s Trials, but with BMX.” I mean, that pretty much captures everything there is to know about the game. The core gameplay is identical, calling on players to use speed and momentum to pull off bike tricks as they run through a pretty crazy course. Beyond aesthetics, the only real difference is that you’re on a BMX bike instead of a motorbike. Your opinions on the Trials franchise will entirely dictate how you feel about this one.

So maybe that’s all that needs to be said. Pumped BMX + doesn’t try to mix things up too much, so why overcomplicate it?

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At the same time, of course, there’s a chance you haven’t yet played a Trials game. And if you haven’t…well, first off, you should. It’s a great series, and half the systems on which Pumped BMX + is coming out have their own entries in the franchise, so there’s no excuse if you have a PS4, Xbox One or PC. Play that first, and then decide if you need more of that in your life.

If, however, you’re among that cohort of people who have neither played a Trials game nor own one of those systems — that is to say, if you’re a Vita, Wii U or PS3 owner looking for a little arcade biking action — then you’re in that group of people who really should check this game out. After all, on the Vita at least, its only real competition on that front is Urban Trial Freestyle, and thee’s no question that Pumped BMX + comes out looking a lot better. The graphics are cleaner and crisper-looking, the challenges are easy to understand, and the controls are so incredibly intuitive you’ll be pulling off toboggans and 360s before you even finish off the tutorial.

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In fact, if there’s one area where Pumped BMX + might even be compared in a positive light to Trials, it’s in its controls. The game recognizes that players will want to pull off death-defying feats as quickly as possible, so it seldom makes them too difficult to figure out. Sure, there are some more advanced moves that require a little more dexterity than most people will possess, but for the most part, you get the sense that Pumped BMX + wants you to succeed. And hey, even when you don’t, you still get to see some painful-looking ragdoll physics.

Are cool ragdolling and easy-to-use controls enough to set Pumped BMX + apart from all those other clones? Not really, no. But the whole thing is still well-made enough that even if it’s no substitute for the real thing, it can at least do in a pinch if you need a little more Trials in your life, and don’t feel like waiting any longer for the next one.

Grade: B