Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years review (iOS / Universal)

November 5, 2012

“I might roll a brand-new car
I’m the unknown stuntman that made Redford such a star”

10 word description: Perform movie-style stunts in a variety of vehicles. Game Center.

10 word review: Mostly fun but the “IAPs to progress” philosophy is tiresome.

You will like this if you enjoy: Amusing vehicle stunt (crashing) challenges.

The good news: Graphics are not too bad, with a distinctive and humorous childlike quality to the drawings. There are plenty of levels; most are fun.

The bad news: Vehicle responsiveness always seems rather loose, not quite precise enough for the accuracy required in some scenarios. There’s a frustrating spike of difficulty on level 2:21 which caused me to give up, as the only way I could see of getting past it was to spend money on the IAP that allows you to skip levels. My personal opinion: paying money in order to avoid playing parts of a game is not an option I’m willing to take. The game scores fairly well despite this issue – I must be in a very good mood – but be prepared to either quit or pay up when you reach that level. Aesthetically, I’d love to see the grids (used for drawing the ramps) disappear during the actual stunt run – they just make the game look ugly and unpolished.

Arcadelife verdict: This game is entertaining and a decent blend of challenge, trial and error, and fun … at least until I got stuck on level 2:21 and couldn’t progress any further. The level in question involves negotiating a near vertical hill, with a finish flag attached to a ceiling of rock above the summit. In theory (and according to the people behind the game) you have to hang your vehicle’s wheels over the lip of a ramp in order to complete the course. I didn’t manage that and I tried it a lot, and I mean a LOT, with every vehicle in the game and every conceivable combination of consumable power-ups. The alternative suggestion was to buy the IAP to skip levels. Sorry, I don’t go along with that reasoning. If a level is too hard to complete then it needs to be adjusted to make it easier to complete – the player should not be forced to buy an IAP to skip levels just to reach, what, even harder levels?

If level 2:21 (and any other deliberately frustrating levels following it) is sorted out, this game would be an easy recommendation. The only other thing I’d like changed is the permanent visibility of the ramp drawing grid. Hide that during the stunt run, please.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 7.5/10
Audio – 8/10
Controls – 8.5/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 6/10
Final rating – 77/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.1
iTunes link

Three Phase Interactive website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)

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