Stunt Wheels
| Stunt Wheels

Though it certainly never feels cobbled together, Stunt Wheels draws on many, many influences.

As soon as the top-down 2D racing begins you know that the studio - Kempt - is a fan of classic racers like Micro Machines, or perhaps the criminally overlooked Overdrive from Team17.

There's the similar viewpoint, of course, but it's that feeling of being on the edge of complete control at all times that resonates most.

Racing through the past

As you hurtle through the 25 tracks on offer you'll clatter into competitors and dozens of objects that litter each circuit.

Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions instantly springs to mind when you're gleefully destroying the environments around you, a feeling of power and aggression punctuating every jostle and scrape and ding.

Stunt Wheels has hidden areas and routes to explore, like kart racers from back in the day. The big sweeping drifts round corners also gets me nostalgic, this time for the SEGA and Namco-dominated arcades of the nineties.

Its rock soundtrack, exaggerated characters, ridiculous power-ups (Laser Wang, anyone?), exploding squirrels, and cartoonish presentation has me reminiscing on the 3DO and Big Red Racing and Tony Hawks.

It all has me imaging a scenario in which a condescending BBC broadcast journalist asks "have video games grown up?" before a rad dude with a Walkman skateboards past and calls him "grandad".

Its progression system is evocative of MSR. New cars are unlocked as you reach certain level milestones for both Stunting and Driving, two separate disciplines that only gain experience when you jump over ramps or beat other racers to the finish line.

The "ö" in "Smörgåsbord" always looks so shocked at how cool a word "smörgåsbord" is

Stunt Wheels is a smörgåsbord of decades then, but it's decidedly current too.

If you purchase the Mac version you can hook four iOS devices up to it for local split-screen multiplayer, and the free to play monetisation is extremely generous and player-friendly, in that it gives you access to all the crucial content (new tracks) quickly.

It's a bit grind-heavy if you want to unlock all the vehicles, but though they have slightly different abilities I never felt I needed them to progress.

That's thanks to a low level of challenge (even on the hardest difficulty), and again this may sully the experience a little for die-hard racing fans.

You shouldn't let that put you off though. Even if the game's a little light, Stunt Wheels is raucous fun while it lasts.

Stunt Wheels

By borrowing heavily from video game racing's arcade foundations, Stunt Wheels manages to be a fresh and relevant little mobile racer
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.