Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years, a side-scrolling motorcycle stunt game from Three Phase Interactive, is now available from the app store. Featuring cartoony graphics, simple controls, and increasingly crazier tricks to perform, Stunt Star is an engaging challenge in precision and pizzazz.
Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years Pros:
- Fun cartoon presentation and over-the-top stunts to perform
- Lots of vehicles and add-ons to purchase and mix-and-match
- Controls are pretty simple to use
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements to earn
Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years Cons:
- Dual use of accelerator and brake makes for confusing gameplay mechanics
- Difficulty curve is uneven
- Most vehicles feel sluggish; sense of excitement is often lacking
You play as a stuntman working his way through a 70-level campaign that takes you through 3 distinctive movies, all while taking direction from an off-kilter movie director with limited film that forces you to complete your zany act in a timely manner. There are more than a dozen vehicles to purchase and use, each with its own unique attributes with regard to speed, weight, and more. There are also 15 add-ons to purchase, like parachutes, faster take-offs, heavier weights on the front or back end of your vehicle, etc. Effective use of these items can be the difference between simply finishing a level and finishing with the star, a pocket full of money, and a high score. Aiding in the collection of each level’s star is your ability to draw a linear ramp within a confined space, setting the desired angle and length to get you where you need to go. To complete each level, you must safely land between the two red flags, preferably close to the checkered flag in the middle. It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds, as minor differences in speed and angles can have disastrous results for the stuntman. Some levels may take a couple of dozen attempts to get close to meeting your objective, while others will be lucked into on the first try. The physics are a little floaty and unruly, and the decision to have the accelerator and brake also control vehicle tilt is an unfortunate shortcoming that limits our enjoyment.
Graphically, Stunt Star uses a colorful cartoony aesthetic that we found appropriate for its ridiculous premise and goofy tricks. The animations were smooth, though the vehicle speeds felt a little on the slow side. Several times during the course of a run, numbers would appear to indicate points being scored, but it’s not always evident what they were for. The results screen lists a number of scoring categories that factor into your final score, but they cycle so quickly that we cannot get a good sense of what we did well and where we could improve. The soundtrack is upbeat and fast-paced, a nice selection given the game style. Controls require you to tap on an accelerator or brake pedal that reside in the lower left corner, giving you speed boosts or slowing you to a stop. The brake does not have reverse functionality, though, so overshooting a goal will almost always result in failure. Action buttons appear on the screen’s right side at various times, allowing you to eject from a vehicle, deploy a parachute, or fire a rocket booster. At times, these did not feel as responsive as we’d like.
Replay value is decent, as you can always replay levels to snag missed stars or increase your score by pulling off complicated maneuvers. GameCenter integration brings global leaderboards and a hefty achievement system into play. Progress syncing via iCloud is also a welcome inclusion. A universal app for $2.99, Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years racks up a 3.5-Dimple score.
Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years Review,