REKT! High Octane Stunts has a classic vibe that will make you feel nostalgic for the simpler times of gaming. There are no fancy graphics or complicated controls; it’s just you, a car, and a few obstacles. The minimalism works well, and the game is surprisingly immersive.
The smooth controls and fun stunts lead to gameplay that makes you feel invested in the action. I often found myself cheering when I got a high score, or groaning when I crashed. I don’t tend to be a very vocal gamer, so it’s impressive that this made me care enough to say things out loud.
Unlocking new cars and tracks as you progress gives you motivation to keep playing, but despite that, this game doesn’t have much longevity. Although it is enjoyable to play, the fun wears off after a few hours, as the gameplay is quite repetitive. This doesn’t necessarily make it a bad game, just a temporary one. For me, this is a game I might play for half an hour or so if I’ve got a bit of time to kill. I can’t really see anyone settling down and playing this day in, day out. There’s just not enough content. Either way, it’s still pretty fun to play.
Gameplay – Proof That Less Doesn’t Always Mean Less Good
REKT! High Octane Stunts literally has no story whatsoever. Most driving games tend to have at least a very basic story, perhaps based around progressing through various tracks, but not this one. Instead, the focus is entirely on the gameplay experience, and honestly, I don’t see this as a bad thing. I’d much rather play a game that knows exactly what its intention is, than have a poorly designed story shoehorned in just for the sake of it. When it comes to playing it, REKT! High Octane Stunts does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a stunt game; no muss, no fuss.
There’s no tutorial stage as such; instead, it takes you straight into the first track once you start. It explains the controls, which are pretty simplistic, and then you’re free to explore the track as you see fit. The controls are smooth and easy to learn, and the car responds pretty much how you’d expect it to. However, steering can feel tricky at higher speeds, so there’s definitely an element of skill, whilst still being suitable for beginners.
The tracks are pretty minimalist in design, but surprisingly not in a boring way. There’s enough variety so that you have a range of obstacles to perform stunts off of, and that’s all you need. It would have been nice if the tracks were less basic, and probably would have made it more enjoyable, but the experience isn’t particularly diminished by not having a more complex design. The tracks are open rather than linear, so it’s nice to be able to go to your preferred obstacles, rather than following a set path.
Obstacles and Layouts
Depending on the track you choose, there are a variety of different obstacles available in REKT! High Octane Stunts. The most common is ramps, and these vary in height and length. Some of them are very short and close to the ground, allowing for minimal stunts. Others can launch you pretty high in the air, giving you the opportunity to rack up some serious points. You can also have ramps that lead up to other things such as a tower. Towers can be a great way to get points as the height allows for several stunts; however they can be tricky to land from, and you might end up getting rekt and losing all your points.
A fun obstacle that appears in a couple of the tracks is a loop-de-loop, which doesn’t get you many points as you can’t perform stunts whilst on it, but it feels quite exciting to drive through all the same. Sometimes there will be boxes at the end which you can smash into to earn some extra points. Again, these don’t score very much, but it does add variety to the driving experience.
In the track called ‘The Forge’, you get access to half pipes, and these can be a gold mine. If you time it right and build up enough speed, the half pipes are a fantastic opportunity to rack up points. It can be a tad repetitive, as the best method is just to spin constantly until you land, and then do the same on the other side, but done correctly you can get millions of points in a single run. You can also shift the direction slightly when you go up, and end up landing on a different half pipe, which creates some variety.
Challenges and Tokens
You can unlock new content in the game by completing challenges and earning special tokens. Whenever you start a new ‘race’, you will be given 3 challenges, the completion of which will reward you with tokens. These can then be used to purchase upgrades for your cars, or new tracks. There are a total of 3 unlockable tracks, as well as two tracks that are available without having to be bought.
When you first begin REKT! High Octane Stunts, the challenges are pretty simplistic. You’ll be asked to do a particular manoeuvre such as a flip, or reversing. It will tell you on the opening screen which challenges you have to complete for that particular run. However, as you progress, the challenges become more complex. In later runs, you may have to score 1 million points or higher, or get a multiplier of 20. These can be tricky to achieve, which means you really have to work towards it, and build your skills.
Cars are unlocked not with tokens, but by scoring a certain number of points. These don’t all have to be scored in the same run, and it’s a cumulative total until you achieve the point goal. I like this method, as it rewards you for playing the game, and I think it’s much better than having them all available at once. It also means that someone not very talented would still be able to unlock new cars as long as they played for long enough. I think it’s a fantastic compromise to reward talented players, whilst not excluding less skilled gamers.
Once you’ve unlocked a car, you can then improve its statistics using your tokens. The 4 stats you can improve are Speed, Flip, Boost, and Grip. It costs more tokens to upgrade them each level, for a total of 5 levels per stat. As getting tokens becomes harder the more you play, it means you have to think about which stats to prioritise.
In REKT! High Octane Stunts, you have to score points within the time limit. The way you do this is by performing stunts using the obstacles available to you in the track. You can collect clocks throughout the track, and these will slightly increase your time limit. Every time you do a trick, you increase your multiplier, which means your points are worth more with every stunt you do during that combo. However, if you crash or land the wrong way up, you get rekt, and lose all the points from the current combo. That means you have to decide whether to be risky and go for higher multipliers, or bank your points to avoid losing them.
Stunts are the whole purpose of the game, so you’d think there would be a few more available to learn. If you think of even old-school stunt games like the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, there were so many different combos you could do, and lots of simple tricks available to you. And although I understand that being in a car is a little limiting, I still think there was room for more variety. As it is, you can only do flips or spins whilst in the air, or drifts on the ground; that’s it.
One of the more frustrating things about the limited range of stunts in REKT! High Octane Stunts is the fact that it’s a 3D game that only allows you to spin on 2 different axes. This means that if you come off the ramp at the wrong angle, it’s impossible to right yourself before you land. You can only spin left or right, or up and down, and sometimes neither of those will get you back to facing flat. Several times I lost an epic point total because I was physically unable to land it due to the limited controls.
Another slight gripe I have is that you need to use the right analog stick all to do stunts. And as the entire game revolves around doing stunts, it means you’re constantly using the right analog stick. This would theoretically be fine, except you also have to hold down RT the entire time in order to move. This results in you doing a lot of movement with your right hand, and it puts a lot of pressure on the joints. I found that my hand was really aching even after just half an hour or so of playing, as the rounds are quick and intense. I think it would have worked better to have A as the drive button rather than RT.
Audio and Visuals – Neon Perfection
The design and colour scheme in REKT! High Octane Stunts are absolutely brilliant to look at. It gives off a cool 80’s style, and there’s a fun neon colour palette that really draws the eye. The retro vibes are really entertaining, and help you appreciate the simplicity of the game. From the moment you first see the menu screen, you know not to expect fancy graphics, and you totally accept that fact.
The sound effects go perfectly with the visuals, and they too convey a really retro feel. The music is upbeat and somehow manages to sound neon. It’s hard to describe, but honestly the tunes could not be more perfect for this game. Everything gels really well together, creating a beautiful flow that allows you to fully immerse yourself.
The colours on the track are pretty basic, usually just one or two vibrant colours such as red, or orange. However, the colour scheme changes once you have a certain amount of points during a multiplier, and it becomes a varied neon palette. The sudden change makes it feel more exciting, and is visually very entertaining to look at. The cars are also relatively basic, but you can still tell what the designs are based on, and there’s plenty of variety.
The font, too, works very well. It’s blocky and pixelated, and fits the aesthetic of the game really nicely. It’s relatively easy to read, and doesn’t distract from the rest of the game. It brings the different elements together, and honestly, I don’t have a bad word to say about the audio or the visuals. It doesn’t do anything ground-breaking, but instead does exactly what it needs to – it makes the game feel fun.
REKT! High Octane Stunts was reviewed on Xbox One using a key provided by No Gravity Games.