Free version of high-flying racing game Jet Car Stunts is a blast | Appolicious iPhone and iPad apps

Free version of high-flying racing game Jet Car Stunts is a blast

Sep 20, 2010

Jet Car Stunts Lite feels like the ideal mix of all the oddball racers I remember growing up. It has the loose, fast controls of a game like Wipeout or F-Zero mixed with the quirky level design of a title like Uniracers, but packaged into a time trial racing game. In short, Jet Car Stunts Lite is the most fun I’ve had with a racing app.

The racer app sets up simply enough. Three modes here, the tutorial, which looms fairly important (I had no idea  the boost wasn’t the gas when I started playing. Whoops.), but leads the player excellently in blocks. Learn the basics, learn more advanced techniques, then learn the most advanced techniques. A fine gradual learning curve to get you ready for the two main game modes.

The heftier of the two, Platforms, is like playing a Mario level in a car. You’ll use your car to drive around a course jumping over simple 3D shapes, using a boost to go through rollercoaster-esque loop-de-loops and over treacherous gaps, and using a hand break to skid to some very close stops.

There isn’t much time to think or even breathe while racing through the short tracks. Every turn can lead to your demise. Luckily Jet Car Stunts Lite sets you up with a retry button that immediately sets you up at the last checkpoint. All of the Platform courses have minor objectives, like finishing within an allotted time or without retrying more than 10 times, but you can play a more casual version of the mode if you need a mental breather.

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If you’re looking for something with a bit more structure, the Time Trial mode, where you race actual laps, is probably more amenable an option. The courses seem more built for actual racing, though you’re still just racing against a clock and not other CPU cars.

Still, you can’t go wrong with either mode. The sense of speed feels real, and although the polygons here are simple with no texture, that works to the game’s advantage, in my mind. So many racers tend to ugly themselves up with sloppy textures that the decision to go with just basic color on the walls, course and obstacles makes for a crisp-looking app. It’s not flashy, but it works.

The biggest downside is that you could conceivably finish up the eight tracks here too quickly. The paid version gives you several more, and would be worth the price completely, but this is a good start if you’re looking for a new racer to dip your feet into.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.


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