Game Reviews

iStunt 2

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| iStunt 2
iStunt 2
| iStunt 2

The great designers will tell you that elegance is their goal - you should remove features until only those that are necessary remain.

It's a philosophy that applies to games. The original versions of Tetris, Bejeweled, Doodle Jump, and Cut the Rope were all about a single core mechanic, although subsequent releases have often confused this.

Still, Miniclip, the developer of iStunt 2, couldn't give a toss about elegance.

Gimme snow

Another of its highly popular Flash games converted to iPhone, iStunt 2 could have been concentrated into a pure 2D snowboarding game. Tilting the device sends your little ragdoll character delicately twirling through the air, the angle of his board the crucial element to a good landing.

Indeed, in many ways, the first couple of levels are reminiscent of recent hit Tiny Wings, as you have match the curvature of each hill you're manoeuvring over. But it doesn't take long before Miniclip throws design elegance out of the window, replacing it with everything including the kitchen sink.

It's a great decision. Snow is dull, but hurling around huge spirals, jumping over or ducking under giant buzzsaws, flying through reverse gravity fields, crashing into spiky icicles, and being boosted high into the air by fans is exactly what makes this game crazy, exciting, and very enjoyable.

Testing ground

One thing iStunt 2 certainly isn't, however, is easy.

Although each of the game's 42 levels is relatively short, some take tens of minutes to complete, even with the help of checkpoint flags. It's intentional: this high scoring game comes with high risk, but equally high reward.

Points are provided depending on how many moves you pull off. There are two touch buttons you can hold to execute grabs. In addition, you get more points depending on how well you execute acrobatics using the tilt controls when you're flying through the air, not forgetting the quality of your landings.

Collecting stars is another element, with each completed level resulting in a points score and either a bronze, silver, or gold cup. Leaderboards are run through Game Center.

Of course, the more enthusiastic your approach on the slopes in terms of tricky moves, the more likely your snowboarder ends up in a heap of broken bones or severed limbs.

Downhill racer

More constructively, the way he rolls through the air, especially in terms of the 180-, 360- or 720-degree turns you can perform, is super smooth. Pulling off a twisting move, a couple of grabs, and tilting just right, and just in time, for a perfect landing is what makes iStunt 2 a blast.

It's also testing. You have to work hard, practising and building up a sequence of moves perfectly before you get to the next checkpoint.

I also came across a couple of bugs that meant you have to restart the level, and one weird physics bug where the snowboard was falling endlessly upwards in reverse gravity field.

Still, together with the promise of more levels, and in-app purchases so you can skip levels you're stuck on, Miniclip is sure to fix these issues as it's taken care to support its previous iPhone games Fragger and Gravity Guy.

It will challenge you, but the eventual satisfaction of completing a level, going back and beating your high score again and again, is more than enough to keep you playing.

iStunt 2

iStunt 2 is a ferocious mixture of hardcore high score gameplay and fun ragdoll snowboarding physics
Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.