A deserved sequel to the original 3D platforming racer that’s got a more pleasing bank of content to offer than ever before
Many Jet-Car games fans will already know about and have experienced at length the mind-bending sky-scapes and ridiculously challenging tracks of Jet Car Stuns. High-octane would be a mild description for the kind of platform-racing hybrid challenge that was constantly afoot in this original, but the developers of the game have managed to top their previous efforts with Jet Car Stunts 2.
One can look forward to pretty much the same kind of experimental high-speed-racing-with-a-3D-platforming-twist gameplay that made the original simultaneously frustrating and fun, but this sequel has a lot more content to offer: new tracks spread across 120 levels, 7 cars with variable specifications, and now controller support, too. This review details the many reasons why I’m quite enamoured with this long-awaited sequel, though pokes into some of the less-pleasing aspects of the game, too.
Remain the Same
Though the content and presentation of Jet Car Stunts 2 has certainly been on the receiving end of a significant “beefing up”, the core gameplay remains steadfast; the mechanics are virtually identical. At its heart, this is the same physics-based stunt-laden racing game with a platforming twist, involving the using of tilt-based controls to guide what is now a decent selection of cars around futuristic, and at times, borderline conceptual tracks, each one situated at extremely high altitude.
The controls are also virtually identical to the original Jet Car Stunts – I welcome the new minimalistic on-screen-button designs however – in that you tilt the device left and right to control movement around the track, as well as tilting forwards and backwards to gain more air or dive quickly once you’re flying through the sky over the oft-vast expanses that make up certain sections of each track.
The on-screen buttons take care of the rest of the functions: air brake/handbrake and nitro-boost is on the left-hand side, while accelerate and reverse is on the right. Always be mindful of your fuel gauge, too, which is situated across the top of the screen. It looks slicker than ever with its new polygonal increments in striking orange, too, as opposed to the much blander, solid-bar appearance of the fuel gauge in the original. The flat-shading of the tracks is quite striking, and ensures a contrasting appearance with the more realistic textures of other jet-based racing games, Riptide GP 2, for example.
Dare to Differ
One comes to the sequel for improvements too, though, otherwise everyone would be content with the original. Aside from the obvious visual improvements I’ll discuss in a moment, there has been a noticeable injection of content here, both free and premium. The level-progression system is set up a little differently than in the original. You’re now able to dip in and out of a variety of different tracks, each of them varying in difficulty. There’s a difficulty bar which displays the level of complexity of each track, too, as well as the top-scoring (i.e. lowest-times recorded) of other players of the game.
I’m a big fan of the track classifications, too, which labels each track with one of four distinct track-types, each with its own set of challenges for the player. You’ve got Platforming tracks, which are primarily involve leaping between segments of the track, putting a large demand on your in-air skills of movement and control of the nitro boost of your car. Time Trial tracks are as they sound, involving a mixture of hectic platforming tracks as well as tracks that are more classically ground-bound, the latter testing your steering and braking skills around sharp bends and twists in the tracks.
The new modes to Jet Car Stunts 2 are Race Mode and Freestyle Mode. Race Mode is an excellent addition, allowing you to actually go up against other cars. Freestyle is one of the most enjoyable, however, since it involves you simply attempting to amass as many points as possible by performing the most outlandish and perfectly-executed stunts possible. The action of Freestyle mode should appeal to fans of Hyperkani’s Stunt Car Challenge, though I must say that the freeform nature of the mode may not appeal to casual players since there’s a distinct lack of arcade-style guidance and power-ups one would find in a dedicated stunt-car game.
You Won’t Be Disappointed
Should you have experienced the original, Jet Car Stunts 2 certainly won’t disappoint you. Casual players may struggle to find any lasting solace in the gameplay due to the often difficult nature of even the easier tracks in the game. Existing fans may also be put-off by the free-to-play nature of this sequel, requiring players to purchase additional track packs if they wish to enjoy the full content of the game. The tilt-based control system can also let you down, with the difficult tracks often requiring some movement of your phone that’s so extreme you’ll struggle to keep your eyes fixed on the screen.
Still, you’ve plenty to get on with even if you’re not willing to pay for premium packs, including the game’s impressive Level Editor which allows you to create your own abstract tracks and publish them for use by yourself and other players of the game. The graphics here are unique as ever, with the developers sticking to the same flat-shaded track shapes, giving a futuristic feel to the tracks themselves. The fact that the tracks are situated high over a number of sky-based landscapes also deepens with abstract nature of the game – I particularly liked playing tracks situated in earth’s outer atmosphere. This may not have the aeronautical thrills of games like Air Navy Fighter, but for fans of platforming and car-racing games, Jet Car Stunts 2 should have enough jet-propelled excellence to satisfy.
Read our discussion on Jet Car Stunts 3 and what we would like to see in a 3rd game in the series.