If you enjoy tearing your hair out...
Original Review for Version 1.0
As many will already have realised from the screenshots alone, Fumes Stunt Racer is a homage to Stunt Car Racer, the classic Amiga and PC game loved by so many gamers of the time. As such, it sets itself up for a hurdle; to convince gamers that it can either recreate the same thrills of the Geoff Crammond game or better them.
However, it’s not long before you find out that it can’t, but it’s not entirely without merit. The tracks are inspired and it’s clear that their design has been well thought out. Steep banks and long jumps are carefully placed to give the player a tough time as they try to beat the lap time and unlock the next track.
All of this would be fine if it wasn’t for the controls. At first I thought it was me. I’d taken 12 attempts to get past the second stage of Fumes Stunt Racer and now I was stuck on the third level, playing it over and over again and still falling off the track.
But in truth the controls just don’t work properly. Slowing for harder curves drops your speed instantly and speeding up again takes forever.
If you don’t slow down the steering suffers. A small nudge left and right, whether using the slider or the motion controls, at high speed will have you gliding off the edge faster than a rollercoaster with no rails. It feels as if the designers wanted to make the game a challenge, which is fair enough, but when you face some of the later tracks over and over again because the controls are too unforgiving then there is something wrong.
In addition, there are issues with frame rates and the action will suddenly jerk if too much is being asked of the game or if the Openfeint system decides to come online during the middle of a track. This is despite the graphics being almost as simplistic as the 16-bit game this is based on, it’s quite puzzling why this would happen.
If you like a challenge in your driving games and are a fan of Stunt Car Racer then this might just appeal to you. For everyone else the advice is to steer clear.
(original score 4/10)
Update for Ver 1.1.1
We like to acknowledge when a developer gets behind the negative comments about their game and does something about them and Sector 3 Games have done just that.
Fumes Stunt Racer Version 1.1.1 is a very different animal to the original game. The track details have improved, the handling is vastly better to the point that it now feels almost perfect and the frame rates have been kept from jerking the screen around despite the graphical improvement.
What's more, Sector 3 have added more tracks and improved the originals to make them wider and easier to navigate.
So pretty much all of the negative points from our previous review have been addressed. Does this make Fumes Stunt Racer the perfect game? Not quite. There are still issues with Openfeint slowing the game down at times, the tilt controls could use a better default setting for the Dead Zone (though this can be altered in the settings) and it needs new modes such as a stunt scoring mode to make the most of the tracks.
That said, this new version of the game is as near to experiencing the classic Stunt Car Racer on the iPhone as we are going to get and the iPad version we tested was even smoother, though lacking much graphical improvement over the iPhone 3GS version we played.
It's still not a game for those who want a quick thrill and rewards perseverance, but then that's the type of game it's supposed to be. For those who are looking for a challenge in a driving game and love the idea of big jumps and loops then this new version of Fumes Stunt Racer now comes highly recommended.
- Sound: 5
- Graphics: 7
- Gameplay: 7
- Longevity: 6
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