Crazes come and go in waves, and it would appear that BMX-ing (if such a term exists) is very much back in the limelight - despite the fact that the pastime itself can trace its history back more than three decades.

To capitalise on this recent upsurge in popularity, Yeah Us! and Noodlecake Studios have launched Pumped: BMX, an attractive stunt-based title that showcases a hip youngster sitting astride his beloved bike. We can't quite make out whether it has spokey-dokes on the wheels, sadly.

The 'pump' element of the title refers to an increase in speed before hitting a jump. By holding down the 'pump' button and releasing it at the right moment before a leap you can cause your rider to fly gracefully through the air. Tilting your device adjusts his position mid-jump, while tapping the 'pump' button a second time executes a sharp dive, which can be useful when you wish to build up speed for the next hill.

Pump it up

To complicate matters further, you can pull off stunts using a stick on the right-hand side of the screen, with each direction assigned to a different pieces of BMX trickery.

Finally, there's the 'flip' button, which - when used in conjunction with your device's accelerometer - can spin your rider a full 360 degrees. The word you're looking for is "gnarly".

All of these activities earn you points, and the overall objective is to post as large a score a possible on each of the game's 36 levels. Although the stunt-based shenanigans sound appealing, many of the undulating levels are so challenging that simply getting to the end is a task in itself.

Starting off in Pumped: BMX is no easy feat, even with the robust tutorial guiding you by the hand. It takes a while to get your head around the mechanics involved.

Having to manage the position of your device, tap on-screen buttons and time the various stunts is demanding stuff, although that's clearly intentional on the developer's part - when you do become skilful enough to do everything in unison, you receive a tremendous buzz of gratification.

Pedal to the metal

The steep learning curve can be overcome, but the rather sparse presentation is rather less easy to ignore. It's not an unattractive game by any means, and the stunt animations look fantastic, but there's not really much to it.

The same is true of the music, which is puzzlingly weak when you consider how suited fast-paced tunes are to the culture of BMX-ing (there's that word again).

Pumped: BMX's catchy gameplay is strong enough to make the middling presentation a non-issue, however. The game's focus is fixed squarely on the addictive and challenging nature of the beating the courses and grabbing that impressive score. If you've played and enjoyed the likes of MotoHeroz then you'll enjoy this just as much.

Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on