Any idea what you get when you combine a Formula 1 racing car with a with a.. say.. F 16 fighter jet? Well, if such a “far out” thought has ever crossed your mind, and you have a passion for all things fast and furious, then this title is sure to provide a whole a new level of portable gaming!
Having never seen or played anything like this before, Jet Car Stunts is set to be a unique and rare favourite of mine. You play as a driver/pilot of a car/plane in what appears to be a beautiful fusing of both driving and flying experiences, in which you must complete a series of stunts along an obstacle course, whilst being at least 30,000 feet above sea level!
Yep this obstacle course takes place high in the clouds, adding even more depth to this “unique” experience.
On starting the game, you are presented with a tutorial, which I strongly suggest doing, and this will take you through the basic controls and functions of the vehicle. These will range from car acceleration and steering, to things like jet air control, afterburners and fuel management. On completing the tutorial you will have to work your way through the various difficulties, from just learning, easy, intermediate, hard, and impossible! Note that you have to complete a track series, in order to unlock the next, and believe me, you’ll wish you did, because it does get very challenging. There are two gaming modes you can choose from; platforming modes that will offer you a more competitive, or a more casual enjoyable experience, you simply choose the mode that is suitable for your mood. Details of each mode are explained as you go.
Now into the game… Once you have selected your preferred mode and platform as each course is referred to, you will be presented with a third person view of the jet car, and of course a HUD, which consists of a plane altitude meter, a jet fuel gauge, as well as your time, and a retry counter, showing the amount of times you have retried the stage. Several driving games that I have played for Windows Phone, have had a constant acceleration, leaving you only steering and brake options, which I have always found quite annoying.
This game allows you to be in full control of the vehicle, thus you have an acceleration button as well as a brake button, afterburner, pause, and even a dedicated retry button. This is an interesting button, because you may need to use it… a lot…
The platform designs are very unforgiving, leaving the margin for error very slim. The main reason for this is because there are no safety barriers to crash into if you veer off course. This means that you have to be precise and skilful in your movements, and the ways in which you execute them, so errors are of course going to happen, especially as the difficulties of the platform’s increase, but be aware that every time you have to retry, it reduces the chance of you achieving the next medal. However as your skill and awareness increases, you will be expected to make judgement calls on how much of your abilities to use, for example too much lift or thrust might make you overshoot a desired landing area, where as too much air brake might mean the difference between making a jump or plummeting 30,000 feet or so to your doom, and the platforms cleverly reflect this intention.
One thing I love about this game is that it has very much a “simulator” feel to it, a totally free and realistic 3D world with a high level of vehicle and environment sensitivity. Graphics and animation are superb and sharp, with a very believable sense of trajectory, and although there is no in-game soundtrack this is fine, because you get the sound of the racing car, and the sound of afterburners, which some may find quite thrilling!
The options menu allows to customise things like motion sensitivity, calibration, controls, HUD layout styles, and to even rotate the screen. You also have leaderboard and achievements options to round up the package. Overall this is a beautifully simple, and very pleasant game, and though there are similar game concepts out there, this game delivers a clever and stylishly simple take on it. Level design I found to be very imaginative to say the least. I really had a lot of fun playing this, and in my opinion is another fine example of what mobile gaming should be all about.
The addition of Xbox Live functionality for this Windows Phone release is just the icing on the cake, highly recommended.