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.

TouchArcade Rating

  • myco

    yea frame rate was pretty choppy, and the slider sensitivity was pretty bad...

  • Seon - Sector3

    We are working very hard in our 1.1 update to increase performance on all devices, and we are seeing clear improvements (in internal tests) even though we are also packing in new content and upgrading the looks of the tracks... so overall we are very happy, and hope our customers will be too once they get their hands on the 1.1 update.

  • Nickmorgs

    Well I haven't seen any of the frame rate issues described here (iphone4,32gb, iOS4.1).

    Although the handling of the car isn't up to modern standards, I thought it was quite close to the handling of the car in Stunt Car Racer. It had that kind of slide feel to it. It was a qirk that, to me at least, was part of the charm.

    Sector3, I think you've made an entertaining game that has brought back good memories. Thanks.

    • Adams Immersive

      I definitely prefer "Stunt Car Racer handling" over “modern handling." (I’m not sure this completely achieves either one yet, but I’m glad it’s being improved.)

      Stunt Car Racer definitely did not handle like a “normal” race car, and that’s what made it great! I appreciate it not because it’s the same as other games, but because it’s different.

      I’m optimistic, starting with the updated red-and-white style, which I like a lot. If the car can bounce and go airborne in the SCR way, I’ll be very happy!

      I’m sure a faithful recreation of that SCR handling (if achieved) will be met with mixed reviews since it’s probably not what anyone would expect who hadn’t played SCR... but my review will be good :)

  • Iván

    With first screenshots, i was expecting a trackmania nations like game... =(

    It's not bad, but not Trackmania or Stunt Car Racer.

  • qrli

    The biggest problem for me with Fumes is the lack of sense of speed, and lack of visual cues when you start losing the grip. This totals up in very difficult and irritating gameplay, not knowing how fast you're actually going. Having to look at the speedo is not good. Try adding some texture maps for the asphalt for starters.

    • Guest

      I think the sound could also be more differentiating between low and high speeds.

  • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

    I think the one thing I'd like to see added is the crane that hauls you back onto the track when you take a tumble off. In Stunt Car Racer I always loved the way the car would sway and wobble as it was lifted and then dropped back onto the track.

  • E_Domina

    now. the only game we need now is that great moto game on nes.

  • Jumpinjack

    I bought this game as soon as it came out. I want to show my support for the Devs and encourage their continued development. I see the potential!!! I agree with some of the criticisms but am willing to look past that as I imagine there will be some nice updates??????

    Love the homages to The Humback, The Roller Coaster and The Ski Jump. It's obvious you guys love SCR too. Seeming as how every 2nd comment about this game references SCR maybe go with that!!

    Anyway congrats and keep up the good work.

    signed Road Hog

    PS: The serial cable multi-link in SCR - Amiga to Amiga, human player head to head was the ONLY way to play SCR in my opinion. Only ever managed to play that way twice in my life but dang that was good fun!!!

    PPS: Fumes Wi-Fi head to head eventually?? You know you want to!! : )

  • Guest

    I found the game too hard at the beginning without enough incentive to continue, so I gave up on it after a while. IMO the first track should serve as an easy introduction, letting you more quickly progress to fun stuff like loops or ramps. Just driving in circles isn't fun in itself compared to other racers. Good luck with future updates and improvements!

  • Pckid

    i think the difficulty is fine. On the iPad I find the slider steering the best though it suffers from framerate lag making it hard to control the car properly. I gather framerate is fixed in the next release. my main gripe is the sound. Considering the age of the Amiga now the engine roar rocked.

  • Minbari73

    Update is out.

    It's a whole new game. Fantastic improvement all round and well worth the wait. I'm rather amazed how good it is now :D