@Liza @awesomeonion @Rodrigo
I probably should have just stopped looking after noting the aforementioned issues, but I was curious to see if Bumps worked any better...
1) I found that the player is only running at ~30 fps
The project only had a single text object, and only the code above.
2) Cloning a circle 19 times, spreading the 20 circles out so they're not touching, and adding the following Bump rule slows the player to ~3 (three) fps
I can't add enough clones to even really test the bump event as after adding more the ~25 clones, the player fps essentially stops