A couple of weeks back we brought word that Australian studio Sector3 would soon be bringing an unconventional racing game, inspired by Geoff Crammond's superb classic Stunt Car Racer, to the App Store. While the developer has said that it was never intended to be a direct Stunt Car Racer clone, as soon as we saw the screenshots of Fumes Stunt Racer [App Store], those of us who spent hours / days behind that Crammond classic started to drool profusely.
Fumes Stunt Racer is an unconventional auto / buggy racer that puts you behind the wheel of a suspension-heavy vehicle in a race against the clock across 15 different highly acrobatic, elevated tracks. There are twists and turns, humps and jumps aplenty, all meant to put your driving to the test. It's a universal application that natively supports all three iOS screen resolutions and runs on any device running iOS v3.1.3 or greater.
The dynamic of the game is simple: your enemy is momentum. When you hit a sharp corner at 140 MPH, nature wants you to keep going in a more or less straight line. The skill, here, is in the steering (pre-compensation and recovery) as well as (hopefully) ideal use of the brake. And that's about it.
The game offers both touchscreen controls (slider + pedals) and tilt controls, but I find the former to offer a better chance at grabbing a trophy.
Some forum goers have commented that the game has framerate issues, but I think it's more about overall perceived speed in moving down the track. Things just feel a little bit slow, as if the car is sort of hovering along, as opposed to closely interacting with with the twists, turns, and bumps. A more "visceral" asphalt interaction would be much preferred.
Another criticism is the overall difficulty of making it across the finish line in a time worthy of even a bronze trophy. Until I enabled auto-braking, I was stuck on the second track for hours, unable to unlock the next. The goal of the game is to complete any single lap (three laps per track) quick enough to win a trophy. I don't believe it's possible to do on the first lap of any track, starting from a standstill, for instance. A difficulty setting or an overall loosening of the trophy time requirements would make the game a bit friendlier for the typical player.
Fair comparison or not, the game has been a bit of a disappointment to fans of Stunt Car Racer. The overall feel (physics, sense of speed) aren't quite up to par, though several improvements (collision detection, opponent cars with AI) appear to be in the pipeline. As it stands now, Fumes Stunt Racer feels like the first run of a racer that's got a ways to go before it crosses the finish line.
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