Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
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Stunt Wheels is a top-down racing game that plays a bit like Mario Kart or other cartoony racers. Players vie for first place while driving on stunt-laced movie sets depicting pirate scenes, Mars landscapes, and more. Stunt Wheel's goofiness and sense of action really set it apart from other racing games, though the lack of multiplayer hinders its replayability.
As a game focused on speed and action, Stunt Wheels contains no gas or brake buttons. Instead, players can control the steering of their car (using tilt controls or on-screen buttons) as it barrels ahead at full speed at all times. To make handling this a bit easier, the carshave a very loose, drift-happy feel so that even hairpin turns are surmountable.
True to its arcadey nature, Stunt Wheels features randomized power-ups that can grant players with laser beams, speed boosts, monster truck tires, and more. Some of these can hinder progress too, like a break down that slows vehicles significantly for a short period of time.
As players progressthey earn stunt and driving points that determine their standing on the Game Center leaderboards, and can occasionally unlock a random car from a mystery box. These cars, while not having distinct performance properties, offer a chance to personalize their racing avatar and can also affect the likelihood of receiving certain power-ups in the heat of a race. For those too impatient to earn points, there is an option to purchase cars as well.
Out of everything Stunt Wheels has to offer, its environments are probably its strongest asset. Although there are only five distinct areas in the game, each one offers five tracks that have a very distinct look to them, which makes progressing pretty exciting.
Unfortunately, strewn throughout every track - regardless of area - are the same oil slicks, explosive barrels, fruit carts, and other action movie cliches. These nods to action movie tropes that have been done to death are funny at first, but when they pop up in every single level it can become tiresome. Speaking of tiresome, thisis a solo affair and only moderately challenging against AI, even on the hardest difficulty. And the prospect of replaying tracks against AI opponents isn't particularly fulfilling, especially considering it doesn't make use of power-ups.
Stunt Wheels is a game that throws a lot at players at once, and all of those things are fun, exciting, and charming up until the point that their initial impression has worn off. The game has a ton of style and heart, but it isn't quite long or difficult enough to be satisfying without human opponents. The lack of multiplayer** in Stunt Wheels is what ultimately drags the game down to a point that it's hard to stick with for very long.
[**Note: Stunt Wheels does feature multiplayer, but it is local-only on the desktop version. There is no multiplayer in the mobile version]