Pumped: BMX Review

By , on January 15, 2013

Pumped: BMX
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Cleverly designed challenges bring you back to familiar stages to test your skill; smooth progression.
  • Clean visual style makes it easy to keep track of upcoming obstacles.


  • Tilt controls feel moderately sluggish at times; makes it difficult to correct when you're unsure of what the game has registered.


While other games obsess about being the next Trials HD and Bike Baron, Pumped: BMX brings things back to the tried and true while still requiring just as much skill to clear its challenges.

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Pumped: BMX by Yeah Us! isn't the first bike-themed time-trial and trick-scoring racer we've seen, and I doubt it will be the last, but what it lacks in concept originality, it makes up for in complexity.

It may sound like I'm giving the game grief, but complexity isn't inherently a bad thing - in fact, when implemented competently (which is true of this title) it makes for a rewarding experience as you nail those jumps, pull off a few tricks, and glide to the end feeling like you just achieved something amazing.

All of this comes down to the way the controls are implemented. It's a simple affair that only uses two buttons, a joystick, and the accelerometer, but combining all three feels smooth and natural - well... most of the time.

The 'pumping' referred to in the title works ala Tiny Wings, placing weight down on the bike and providing greater acceleration as you move down hills - release at the right point on an uphill and you'll soar in to the air. Tilting balances the BMX, allowing you to land smoothly after a jump, though tilting back or forward as you jump changes the kind of jump you perform (a high, short jump or a long, low jump respectively). Choosing the right one will determine how well you keep your flow and hence the success of the level.

Tricks can also be performed mid-air by selecting them with the virtual stick. Although this does require some memorization, it keeps things simple as you don't have to fuss with awkward button combinations. And for those who enjoy flipping out, a 'flip' button will speed up your tilting, allowing for forward and back flips.

Combine everything and you'll score big points and complete each stage. 'Star missions' will need to be completed to unlock all of the content on offer, but in a neat twist the game doesn't simply hand them out wholesale - you'll need to earn them.

By proving yourself on successive stages, stars will open up on earlier levels, allowing you to learn new tricks and gain confidence on familiar ground. It's a subtle effect, but the experience is a smoother one as a result.

If you don't mind the occasional hiccup with the sensitivity, everything else about the game is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to BMX themed time-trial racing.


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