Jet Car Stunts races from iOS to PC, and is going to leave tyre tracks all over your patience.
Jet Car Stunts is no beauty to behold – the ‘beautiful HD graphics’ are highly minimalistic, with a blocky track made up of simple shapes floating high in the sky, and a less-than-impressive looking car. But don’t let the simplicity of it fool you. Mastering the car and beating the track is certainly not as simple as it looks!
Developed by True Axis for the mobile phone platform, publisher bitComposer and Grip Games bring Jet Car Stunts to our computer screens. With 36 different tracks, your driving skills will be severely tested. And so will your patience.
The PC version of the game features three different modes; Platforming, Time Trial and Collector. Before attempting any of these, it’s recommended that you check out the Tutorial section. Trust me. There were moments where I thought I would never beat the tutorial tracks, which did not bode well for my experiences on the actual platform! The idea is to race, jump and fly (with the assistance of your car’s in-built jet system) to checkpoints, which are yellow and black triangular structures dotted around the track. At the checkpoints, your jet fuel is refilled … because you probably would have used it all just to reach the checkpoint. Nothing is more frustrating than running out of jet fuel just before an impossible jump, or worse, careering straight into the wall of the checkpoint itself and watching your car fall through the sky, before starting again at the beginning of the track. Once you’ve mastered driving, flying, and controlling your car mid-flight (when I say controlling, I mean frantically jetting/braking/spinning through the air and hoping you’ll land upright on the track), you’re ready to take on the Platform mode.
The Platform difficult levels range from Very Easy to Very Hard. Ghosts, which you can toggle on and off, offer a level of competition. Ghosts are other cars which you can see speeding ahead on your racetrack, leaving a teasing blue trail behind them. Not only must you beat the track, but you can attempt to beat the track-time of the ghost racing against you. Be warned – it can be a severe blow to the confidence to watch a ghost floating around the track without a care in the world while you fight to reach the first checkpoint.
You’ll quickly find, however, that beating the ghost is the last thing on your mind. The track itself is your biggest foe. With unpredictable jumps, hoops, hurdles and barricades, you’ll watch your car fall dramatically from the sky time and time again. The ‘integrated damage system’ is basically just your car smashing to pieces. You have 10 attempts before you must try the level again. Jet Car Stunts knows how to make you feel like a failure. But, you’ll always come back for that ‘one more try’. Jet Car Stunts is on the level of Angry Birds for our inner masochist.
Your car’s jet is the most exciting feature of the game. The minimal fuel means that you’re forced to use your jet wisely, shooting it into the air at exactly the right moments, and pushing it/easing off alternately to retain the perfect course through the air. Braking flings up panels all around your car, making it look spidery and futuristic. Careful use of the jet and the brake, and skilled turning and rolling, will assure a safe landing on the other side of the track. Sometimes, the other side isn’t visible until you’re careering through the air, leaving you hoping you haven’t overshot your jump. Trial-and-smash is your biggest tactic, until you’ve worked out the exact ratio of jet/brake power needed. Turning in mid-air is horrendously difficult. It takes a lot of forward planning, because your car handles as if it’s turning through treacle. Pounding the turn button may only twist your car around slightly, and it will often be a case of too-little-too-late. This contrasts starkly with the car’s handling on ground, where you’ll find yourself drifting wildly around corners. It takes some getting used to, feels erratic and you rarely feel in control.
Such skill and careful use of the jet isn’t present in Time Trial mode, where you must complete different tracks as quickly as possible. This extra speed will largely be provided by your jets, and by avoiding crashes as much as possible. The tracks accommodate this, and don’t ask for the same level of skill and precision as Platform mode.
If you feel that the unforgiving track, and the time trial, is not enough for you, then step into the Collector mode. In Collector mode, you must collect five stars as you race around the track. This is no easy feat. For someone like me who struggled to manoeuvre my car into a check point, the stars are placed in next to impossible locations. Expect to leap, twist and swerve your way into them.
The controls of the PC version make very little sense and you should definitely change them in your Options. Ctrl is acceleration, Alt is to break, Shift to reverse and the arrow keys to turn. However, these keys serve a number of functions on your computer, such as flipping your screen if pressed at the same time, so you’ll frequently find yourself desperately trying to un-flip your screen as you watch your car smash to pieces upside down.
Jet Car Stunts lacks a soundtrack. The opening screens are where you’ll find the only music in the game, and during the race you are treated to hearing the whine of your engine and the metallic crunching of your car smashing into walls. The game would definitely benefit from some music, even a single tune to play during races, which will motivate the player and offer some kind of background noise to help concentration. It would also grind a lot less on your patience if you had some kind of motivational jingle!
Jet Car Stunts is somewhat lacking. With erratic and complex driving controls, the most basic possible graphics and a complete lack of soundtrack, it will test your patience again and again. And yet it’s one of those games you just can’t put down. It has a nostalgic feel to it, and despite everything, you’ll just keep on going back for more!
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.