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Jet Car Stunts 2 review: Tons of new content, but harder than it looks

The game that was hit in the App Store when it came out in 2009 finally has a sequel that improves on almost every aspect of the game. But is it too difficult for its own good?

Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software
Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.
Jason Parker
4 min read

Jet Car Stunts 2 is the long-awaited sequel to the physics-based racing and stunt car game that was a hit way back in 2009 in the App Store. But with this installment, the game has several new cars (each with different handling), different race types, and tons of high-flying action.


Jet Car Stunts 2

The Good

<b>Jet Car Stunts 2</b> expands on the original stunt racing game with new tracks, cars, and game modes that are both fun and addictive.

The Bad

The game is almost too challenging, and will frustrate all but the most serious gamers.

The Bottom Line

Jet Car Stunts 2 improves on almost every aspect of the original game, and the free-to-play pricing model is just about as good as it gets, but download only if you're up for a serious challenge.

The control system is mostly the same as the original game, with tilt controls to steer and onscreen gas and brake buttons. But even with its pitch-perfect controls, Jet Car Stunts 2 is extremely challenging, and is probably not a good fit for casual racing game fans.

It's also important to note that this is a free-to-play game with in-app purchases (a pricing model I wrote a piece about here). But while you can buy things like more tracks and the track editor, there's also a way to buy all the content for $4.99. With this pricing model, it's the best of all worlds, giving you the option to buy only what you want or all the content at once.

Crisp 3D graphics
You're not going to get complex textures or the amazing lighting effects you'll find in other top games. Instead of raw realism like you might find in an FPS game, you get a clean 3D style for track surfaces set high above earth's surface with strange geometric shapes that float in the air around the sides of the track. In other words there's a very simple yet futuristic feel to the game that's part of what made the original so great -- even on earlier generation iOS hardware.

Crisp 3D graphics as you blast around the track (pictures)

See all photos

Game types
The tracks you'll encounter are split up among four different game modes: race, time trial, platform, and freestyle. In a race, you'll compete against other cars for a number of laps to see who wins. In time trial, you'll need to race against the clock to compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals. Platform doesn't have time limits or other competitors, challenging you to simply get to the end of a more complex track layout. In freestyle, you simply try to pull off stunts over jumps and other obstacles, using the tilt controls to perform flips and slides to get the most points.

The original game only had time trial and platform game modes, so there is more to do here and more replay value in the sequel.

New car styles
To add even more variation, there are now six different car types, each with their own perks and limitations. You still get the original car from the first game, but now it's faster and perfect for precision speed runs, while hard to control when you're in the air. The jet car gives you a lot more mobility in the air, letting you perform turns and even barrel rolls as you pass through checkpoints.

There are also stock cars, compact cars, and other styles that give you a lot more variety than the original game and each gives you a unique feel on the track. Before you race, you'll be able to see which car type you'll be using to give you an idea of the style of race you'll be running and the unique challenges you'll be up against.

Not for beginners
Jet Car Stunts 2 does just about everything right, with great controls, spot-on racing physics, and clean-looking 3D graphics. But before you jump in, you need to know that this game requires almost perfect precision to get past some levels. What this means is that even the most hardened gamers will find themselves repeating levels to try to get that perfect run to get the gold medal, so casual gamers might find the frustration level a bit too high.

With that said, if you're up for the challenge, this game will definitely put your skills to the test.

Create and share your own tracks
You will need to either pay the full price of $4.99 or buy just the level editor ($1.99) to be able to create tracks, but once you do, you'll also be able to share your creations and race on other user-created tracks.

What's interesting here is the way you create tracks. You simply pick a car type, then start driving and turning as the track is automatically generated in front of your car. If you jump into the air, the track will create rings for your car to pass through until you level off, and then the track starts to appear in front of your car again. It takes a little practice, especially to drive around and connect the start of your track to the finish, but it's a really neat concept for track creation and I'm excited to see what people come up with.

Great stunt racing, great price
In the end, Jet Car Stunts 2 is a huge improvement over the original that was an already great (if dated) game. Good graphics, excellent physics, and a lot more content make this sequel both more fun and addictive. You also can play for free to see if you like it, and then buy only parts or all it, which is an excellent freemium experience.

But while it doesn't hurt to try out a free game, I still think some people will be turned off by the sheer difficulty of the game. Getting a gold medal often means racing almost perfectly, so if you're not the type who is open to repeating levels over and over, you probably won't like this game. But for those who don't mind the repetition and want to get that perfect run, Jet Car Stunts 2 is a must download.


Jet Car Stunts 2

Score Breakdown

Setup 9Features 8Interface 8Performance 9