Developer: Three Phase Interactive
Price: $4.19
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

In Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years, players assume the role of a daredevil who’s been hired by a movie director to perform death-defying feats on film.

Starting with an old pick-up truck, players learn the basics of controlling a vehicle — how to accelerate, how to roll, how to use different add-on items. Before long, players earn enough credits to unlock more vehicles with their own set of attributes. There’s a motorcycle, a monster truck, an off-road vehicle and more; all the best the stunt world has to offer. Some are faster, but not as maneuverable, while others are nimble and quick, but can’t take much of a pounding. Then there are the fun add-ons, like nitro boosts and parachutes that can help players complete objectives and land safely.

Things get pretty silly as the stunts increase in difficulty, from jumping buses and large gaps, to riding through loop-the-loops and jumping over helicopters. With 72 stunts to perform across three action films, things can get pretty crazy. But the bigger the stunt, the more satisfying it is to successfully pull it off, and even some of the seemingly easier stunts are pretty hard to nail.

Like most physics-based games, things can get a bit chaotic. Even after doing everything right, some unseen factor comes into play and sends the vehicle in the completely wrong direction. But that’s just part of the fun, right? If it weren’t for that little bit of unpredictability, I don’t think Stunt Star — and physics games, in general — would be as fun. Even so, getting stuck on a stunt that seems impossible to complete can get a bit frustrating.

One of the more unusual attributes of Stunt Star is the ramp-drawing feature of the game. Throughout most of the levels, there are boxed areas next to a gap or other obstacle that the player must draw a ramp to jump off of. In other levels, the player isn’t drawing a ramp so much as a bridge across two points. I actually wasn’t too impressed with this feature. It seemed like a neat idea, at first, but I found that there isn’t enough variety to make it really stand out, especially when it just comes down to drawing the same shape and angle for each jump.

Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years is a lot of fun. I definitely enjoyed playing it and found myself repeating levels I had already cleared just to see if I could get a better score. The variety of vehicles, add-ons and number of levels help make this great game a lasting experience.

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