So then, let’s get this out in the open first off! Jet Car Stunts, which is developed by Grip Games, takes a completely different route to any Racer currently available on the PS Vita through the PSN Store and carves a path straight through puzzle game territory as not only are you pitted against time, but the track itself. These tracks are not just singular roads of tarmac, gravel or mud but a series of platforms that contain obstacles and ramps which are not connected in any way and should need an aircraft in order to reach the next platform. Lucky then that your car is equipped with a jet engine to tackle this minor inconvenience!
From the front screen you are presented with a tutorial and 3 modes of play: Platforming, Time Trial and Collector. The tutorial mode introduces you to the games’ mechanics over a series of tasks that prepare you for the long road ahead, and believe me it will be a long, frustrating but ultimately satisfying road.
Platforming mode tasks you with getting around each track using a combination of speed, your thrust and mid-air maneuvering all within an allotted time for a shiny medal. Medals are awarded based on the time it takes you to complete each track, with tracks becoming progressively complicated and tougher to complete. This mode needs you to think about where and when you use your thrust as well as the layout of the track and how to get round it effectively. Being able to effectively maneuver in mid-air is also essential to getting around and that is a lot harder than it sounds. Luckily the track is broken up via checkpoints that make mistakes less than fatal. Falling off or overcooking your thrust requires one button push to remedy and places you instantly back to the last checkpoint only damaging your time and pride!
Time Trial offers the closest to what you may call real racing, in a sense, as you race against the clock and an online ghost to get the best time possible on a series of tracks that again vary in difficulty. Using your thrust at the right time is key to speeding around the track in the best time, rather than just using it to reach particular platforms. Balancing the need to be quick and just getting around the track is key to this mode and it offers another dash of variety to the other modes on offer.
Collector mode is possibly the hardest game mode you’ll find on any game ever! It certainly is not advisable to tackle this mode until you are proficient in the Platforming and time trial modes. Collectable mode tasks you with hunting out stars that are dotted around the tracks. Although these stars are not always hiding in plain site or in conventional places. Using your brain is just as important as using your thrust to work out how to reach these seemingly unobtainable stars, the good news is that you do not have to reach all the stars in one clean run and you can restart from the last checkpoint and not lose the stars you have obtained, although if you push on one checkpoint too far there is usually no way back and a complete restart loses all your accumulated stars so be careful!
Controls are easy to pick up as the x button controls the gas, square the brake, the left analogue stick controls your direction and the left and right shoulder buttons control thrust and brake respectively. Triangle is used for restarting the current level and that is about it. The control scheme is simple and extremely easy to use, you just need to know when and how to use the thrust and brake effectively, which is where the skill comes in.
As Jet Car Stunts is not an ordinary racer, its multiplayer component (if you want to call it that) is also different from normal. This comes in the form of online ghosts that you can use to your advantage to help improve your own skills and can be used in any of the game modes. It can be infuriating watching an online ghost whip around the track perfectly while you are just getting to know the track, to the games credit though you can easily turn these ghosts off from the level menu if preferred. Online leaderboards are also catered for those of you who love competition on a global scale.
Jet Car Stunts also scores itself another point for the fact that Cross Buy is supported. Which means that your covered for PS Vita, PS3 and in the not too distant future PS4 whichever version you purchase.
I have to be honest with the fact that I struggled keeping the car on course in the initial levels and I wasn’t too convinced with the tutorial as it took me a while to learn to maneuver properly in the air. The game takes a certain amount of skill and plenty of patience and as I initially crawled through the levels, I wondered if I could ever truly get the hang of the game. Fortunately practise really does make perfect and the more you put in, the more you will get out of Jet Car Stunts and the more satisfaction you’ll glean.
In summary: Jet Car Stunts is not your average racer, hell it’s not really a racer at all but a wonderfully crafted puzzle game pumped with Nitrous Oxide and a dash of madness to boot. If you like a challenge then strap in now!
At A Glance
- Title: Jet Car Stunts
- Publisher: Grip Games
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: Yes (PS3 / PS4)
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 185Mb