Pumped BMX 3 Review: Pumped Up

The Good

Simple to learn, tricky to master controls

Challenge system is ideal for newbies and experts

Satisfying to pull off great tricks

The Bad

It's pretty tough

Physics engine looks a little dated now

As a kid, I was too big a wimp to try BMX biking, despite watching a few friends pull off some cool tricks. A lack of dexterity in my body and some good old-fashioned cowardice got in the way for me. Luckily, I have some dexterity in my hands which means that games like Pumped BMX 3 are ideal for my wishful thinking.

The third and final instalment in the popular Pumped BMX series continues to build upon the success of earlier games. You’re tasked with over 720 challenges to work through, participating in various different arenas across 6 interesting environments. That’s a lot of content. It’s also admittedly content that not everyone is going to see. Pumped BMX 3 is pretty tough at times. It’s something that you can learn and improve at, but don’t expect it to be an easy ride.

Pumped BMX 3 Review: Pumped Up

Starting out, a tutorial guides you through the basics. A pump button helps you accelerate down the course, while spin has you spinning in midair. A joystick can be tilted in numerous different directions in order to pull off certain moves while you’re flying through the air. Oh, and tilting your iPhone affects how you lean on the bike. That’s quite a lot to take on board, but Pumped BMX 3 is reasonably good at easing you in.

The key to many levels is to be able to build up sufficient momentum in order to even get to the end. Oftentimes, you’ll have to replay stages to get a feel for a stage before knowing when and where to pull off a few tricks. Luckily hitting restart takes hardly any time at all. Juggling tricks and the many different ways in which you can achieve them is a real balancing act, but it’s satisfying when you manage it. The idea is very much a matter of “don’t run before you can walk.”

Pumped BMX 3 Review: Pumped Up

Where Pumped BMX 3 helps you out is through the Skill Challenges section. Upon selecting a level, you’re given a series of objectives. These relate to different medals. You can gain a bronze medal simply for completing a level, while a platinum might have you pulling off a series of cool tricks in a row. It’s an excellent system because it means that most ability levels will still be able to achieve a bare minimum medal. It also gives you the perfect reason to go back for more, trying to improve upon your earlier scores.

And that’s the beauty behind Pumped BMX 3. It’s tough but consistently rewarding. You find yourself going back for more, even if it might make you yell a few choice words along the way. For the personalization fan, there’s the option of picking out different bikes too, as well as changing up your rider. It’s a small but neat touch in a game that’s full of sensibly thought out ideas.

At times, the physics engine might seem a little dated. Certain moments have your rider stuck in the ground in a way that looks awkward rather than charmingly ragdoll-ish, but mostly, Pumped BMX 3 hits the spot every other time. Not everyone is going to manage to complete all 720 challenges, with some particularly fiendish, but the journey there is satisfying stuff. Even more so when completely free of in-app purchases. Pumped BMX 3 is an ideal premium purchase.

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