I am a huge fan of my own childhood gaming memories. Some games have made huge impressions in my mind, and Stunt Car Racer is such a game. Released in the late eighties it was one of the first games letting me drive a race car from a first person perspective. Seeing Fumes Stunt Racer in the App Store brought a lot of memories back. It looks almost identical to the old classic, but sadly the resemblance ends there. Fumes Stunt Racer is not fun to play, and handles like a nightmare.
Fumes Stunt Racer is a first person stunt racer. For some strange reason the small car you see as the camera pans over the start turns into a large monster almost covering the entire width of the track. There are two different control schemes: tilt or touch slider. The tilt option is too wiggly to work with. Every little move can turn a straight into a slide off the track. Using the slider option works better, and at least the car can go in a straight line. Getting through a corner is not fun at all. You have to slow down considerably as the handling of the car doesn’t allow for high speed cornering. Speeding out of a corner is also weird, as I have to take my finger off the acceleration pedal, and then reapply it to get some gas.
The graphics is choppy on my iPhone 4, and there is considerable pop up when the distance is drawn. The only aspect of the graphics really up to par is the fumes coming out of the exhaust. Overall the presentation is gritty, muddy and downright boring. The music is ok, but uninspired, techno that wants to add some excitement. It fails miserably, and so does the monotonous engine sound. Sure it sounds quite ok, but as you speed around at almost the same speed the same time it starts to grate.
There is nothing to unlock but the tracks themselves. The question is whether you want to. The harder a track is the worse the controls, and handling fare. Not having new vehicles to unlock is plaint weird. Some sort of customization to get better handling is also needed. To be frank the game needs a shop, a career mode, some multiplayer, and achievements. The game has OpenFeint integration for online scores, and those are updated as soon as you browse the track selection menu.
Fumes Stunt Racer is not the game I wanted it to be. Heck it isn’t even the game it itself wanted to be. If you are looking so closely at a classic for inspiration you have to make sure it works well from the start. I have no doubt that a couple of updates might save it, but then it is too late. To me it was all a cloud of hot fumes.
Fumes Stunt Racer $1.99 Universal.
Seller: Sector3 Pty Ltd
Tested on an iPhone 4.