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Pumped BMX Pro is a stunt-based 2D bike game that draws some inspiration from the Tony Hawk series of sold, with a few elements of Excitebike, Trials, and Hot Wheels thrown in. The purpose of the game is to complete stunt challenges across sixty levels that each contain their own unique racetrack. In order to progress in Pumped BMX Pro, players must complete individual challenges that require specific stunts or certain scores, which will also unlock new bikes and riders.
You might struggle to get past the first few stages due to a couple of frustrating tutorials that interrupt at the worst possible time while attempting to follow the directions, and worse, other tutorials will tell you to perform a specific move without providing a visual demonstration of what that move actually looks like. A short video of the move being completed would have been extremely helpful to those who aren’t familiar with BMX stunt terms. The loading time on the game is instantaneous and players can restart a stage at any time with the press of a button, which means that you can repeatedly try a difficult stage without issue and alleviates the frustration of trying to complete a difficult stage as you can just dive back into the game. It's the frustrating difficulty curve that holds Pumped BMX Pro back, as it would have benefited from gently easing the player into its mechanics, instead of letting them fall into the same few pitfalls each time.
The Tony Hawk games benefited from a licensed soundtrack that switched songs upon restarting a stage. Pumped BMX Pro relies on a single song for each of the stages in the game, which you will quickly grow tired of due to how short they are and how quickly they loop.
The most frustrating aspect of Pumped BMX Pro’s gameplay is how unforgiving it can be, especially in the early stages when learning the controls. You have to stick the landing of the bike perfectly in order to complete each level, and are only given a small amount of space in order to build momentum for the next jump. It’s hard to concentrate on performing awesome looking stunts when focusing on landing with precision, as you may as well restart the level if you don’t maintain any speed when you hit the ground.
Pumped BMX Pro has ragdoll physics for crashing into the ground, which is one of the more entertaining aspects of these games (the same for Trials and Hot Wheels) and you will likely have more fun smashing your cartoon rider into the dirt than actually trying to complete the tasks in each stage.
The lack of multiplayer content also hurts Pumped BMX Pro as this is the kind of game that would have benefited greatly from a versus mode where two players attempt to complete stages at the same time. As it stands, players will just have to switch controllers with someone else in order to try and beat each other’s score.
Pumped BMX Pro can be difficult to get with grips with due to how unforgiving the game can be at times, but once you get to grips with the controls then there is some fun to be had to here. It’s just a shame that the audio and visuals are so bare-bones, as they could have made the game more appealing due to how often you will have to repeat the same tracks over and over again.
Pumped BMX Pro releases for the Nintendo Switch, Steam, and Xbox One on February 7, 2019. Screen Rant was provided a Switch digital code for the purposes of this review.