"Thumper" is a new rhythm-action game from Drool, a two-person studio comprised of ex-Harmonix employees (the folks behind "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero"), one of whom is in a metal band called Lightning Bolt.
The result of these ingredients is what Drool calls "rhythm violence," and that's exactly what it sounds like — you'll be matching rhythms like you would in "Guitar Hero," but the whole experience is rough, exciting, colorful, absurdly fast, and somehow physical.
Also of note is its visual style — like a Stanley Kubrick movie mixed with "Mario Kart," or something. Those visuals, combined with its intense, hypnotic soundtrack, make for one of the most interesting games of the year.
In "Thumper," you play as a futuristic-looking chrome beetle critter that's constantly rocketing down a narrow track through a colorful, psychedelic landscape.
The meat of "Thumper" centers around a call-and-response mechanic, where you'll suddenly hear a drum beat burst out from its ever-present ominous music, and you have to match that beat as it rushes towards you on the track.
What's amazing about "Thumper" is that you play the entirety of the game using just two buttons on your controller: The left thumbstick and the "X" button. In the GIF below, I hit that first beat with a single press of "X," slide through those horizontal bars by holding "X," and then make the turn by pressing "X" and holding left on the thumbstick.