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June 2024

Rekt! High Octane Stunts

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Racing
Publisher: No Gravity Games
Developer: Little Chicken Game Company
Release Date: Nov. 6, 2020


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PC Review - 'Rekt! High Octane Stunts'

by Cody Medellin on Feb. 11, 2021 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

Rekt! High Octane Stunts is an action-packed driving game inspired by the eternal classics like Rush and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was a huge hit in 1999. Players spent more time with the demo than on most full-fledged titles of the time, and the full game can rightfully be called a classic. The impact was that any game that had you riding a vehicle through a course of ramps and loops while performing tricks for high-scoring combos was summarized as a "Tony Hawk with a…" title. Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX? Tony Hawk with a BMX bike. Amped? Tony Hawk with a snowboard. Freestyle MetalX? Tony Hawk with a motocross bike. That oversimplified things but got the point across. Based on those previous comparisons, Rekt! High Octane Stunts is essentially Tony Hawk with a car.

A brief tutorial shows off the controls and, if you're using a controller, it feels like the Stunt modes in classic games such as San Francisco Rush 2049. Triggers control the gas and brake, the left analog stick steers the car, and the B button controls the boost, which fills in slowly over time but gets a bump when you accomplish cool tricks. Speaking of which, your bumpers control the rotation of your car if you use the rear license plate as your center, like a twist. The right analog stick also controls the rotation and spin, so the car can go end over end or spin around in a circle. With those analog stick movements, you can either hold it in your desired direction or flick it to get the same momentum. Holding down the A button locks the car into position, which is an important task since you need to land on two or four wheels for the trick to count.

Like many games of this ilk, you score points by jumping from ramps and doing various spins. Depending on the course, you can also jump through hoops or drive through gates. Crashing through boxes, doing drifts, and driving on loops gives you points. You'll also get points if you grind on specific rails, the one gimmick that makes this different from the Stunt modes in other racing games. Since you're using a car, the scoring system has been modified, so landing the trick doesn't immediately grant you the score. Instead, you're given a little bit of time after landing the trick to do something else, such as hitting another ramp or loop to start or continue a combo. It's only after you let a few seconds pass without doing anything significant that the game finally grants the points.

When playing solo, Rekt! only has two modes: High Score and Practice. As in the games it was inspired by, High Score takes on an arcade approach by having you get the highest possible score in roughly a minute. While that time can seem short, you can pick up enough clocks along the way to get more time. The game is mostly freeform in terms of what you can do, but you'll always have three goals to complete for bonus credits. At the end of the run, your score is posted on a global leaderboard, and if you have enough credits, you can spend them on more cars or new tracks.

The basic gameplay loop works well because of how enjoyable it is to do tricks with a car. Like many of the good titles in the extreme sports genre, it only takes a little bit of time before you come to grips with the control scheme. While the trick set is far more limited when compared to other genre games, it's still thrilling to pull off the tricks, and it's gratifying to see the immediate feedback of the track color change based on your combo points. The inclusion of a global leaderboard brings back the old competitive feeling of going "one more game" while accommodating those who want to make some progress with short sessions here and there. The car unlocks aren't random, but there are plenty of them available, and the cost isn't that high per vehicle, so there are plenty of tangible milestones before exhausting the selection.

While all of the cars have different stats, you'll only notice a difference if you're switching between two cars that have wildly divergent stats. All of the courses are well designed with lots of vertical space to go along with the large amount of horizontal space, but there are only five total courses in the game. Players may stick with some courses longer than others, but without the ability to get randomized courses or the chance to create your own, the small number of courses feels limiting. Don't expect to use the Practice mode much, since the freeform nature of High Score mode makes it more beneficial.

For those seeking multiplayer, there's no online play at all in Rekt!. Steam players have Remote Play to compensate for that, but it's not a built-in feature. The game sports four-player split-screen in four different modes. Score is just like the single-player game but with more people involved; Checkpoint takes the game to a more traditional racing formula, where the winner is the first to hit the required number of checkpoints. Capture the Crown has players fighting over one crown to be the first to hit the 90-second time limit; Virus plays the opposite way, as you're trying to be the last one who hasn't had another player crash into them to infect them. As in many other score-based games, these are fun diversions, but expect Score mode to be the highlight since that's what the game seems to be designed around.

The overall presentation is both simple and good. The music is fine, as it provides a party atmosphere that works for the title's lighthearted nature. Graphically, the textures are simple but clean, while the colors drive the game's look. The sea of neon is striking, while the simpler geometry of the levels ensures that it doesn't take much to get a high frame rate.

Rekt! High Octane Stunts is fun. The multiplayer is fine, but the solo game is where it's at with a classic arcade loop, plenty of unlockables, and controls that are easy to pick up and play. It does well if you want something that isn't all that serious. Given the game's $6 price tag, Rekt! Is a fine choice for those who want a quick fix in the extreme sports genre.

Score: 7.0/10

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