The PC version of Jet Car Stunts arrives roughly 5 years after its first showing on the iOS platform, where it became one of the best received games of all time. Does it manage to make a similar impact on PCs? We checked out the Steam version to find out…
Jet Car Stunts by developer True Axis and published for PC by bitComposer looks and feels, at first glance, very similar to the Trackmania series. Both games feature racing tracks littered with obstacles for you to overcome, pass by or jump over. Both games also rely heavily on that “I can do better!” feeling that has you coming back again and again to try and beat your previous best. There are, however, some big differences as well.
As the game’s title suggests, Jet Car Stunts features gameplay where car-mounted jet engines feature prominently – especially in the harder stages. While initial stages are fairly straightforward in letting you get from A to B by piling on the gas and boost, later stages require precision use of both your jet engine and your air brake. Not enough jet boost and you may miss your landing, too much boost and you’ll find yourself hitting a tunnel’s ceiling instead of smoothly sailing through. Minor and major corrections can also be done in-flight using your air brake, but overdo it and you’ll find yourself in an uncontrollable spin. Apply the right amount of (braking) force at the right time is also not just key to reaching the finish line, it may also be the difference between a mediocre and a top score.
Integrated into the game is a leaderboard that allows you to see what your time is worth when stacked against other players – a big motivator when pushing yourself to do better and better. I eventually reached 4th place overall on two of the tracks, but then I hit one of the game’s limitations. Your position on the leaderboard becomes visible when you beat your best time, but at no point in the game can you access the overall standings for a full view at the leaderboard. This is a shame, since you have no clue how much you need to improve in order to move up a spot.
The game offers three distinct gameplay modes: platforming, point collecting and time trails. The platforming and time trial levels have similar gameplay in terms of a leaderboard emphasis on speed, but time trials favor pure speed whereas agility becomes much more of a factor when platforming. It’s this mode where Jet Car Stunts is most at home with its jets and air brakes, and where we had the most fun.
That being said – the game’s 2014 release might be a little overdue. In terms of graphics and overall presentation, Jet Car Stunts clearly shows its roots as a mobile game, as well as its age. The game also features some stiff competition on the PC platform with the Trackmania series offering many of the same features with vastly enhanced graphics. Jet Car Stunts has the basics down and there’s a lot of fun to be had, even though it doesn’t quite justify the price point being raised from $1.99 for the iOS version to $9.99 for the Steam version. As it stands this is a fun game and it’s good to see PC users and Trackmania fans being able to enjoy it, but we advise waiting for a Steam sale to try it out.