I tell ya…I didn’t think much of Stuntfest when I first saw the name. Who out there is craving a “stunt” game?!? Not this guy. I envisioned driving various vehicles and painstakingly attempting to pinpoint a landing or navigate repetitive environments to meet an arbitrary goal. Well, my initial thoughts on what THQ Nordic’s Stuntfest is all about couldn’t be more wrong and I’m not even mad about it. Sure, that viewpoint could be heavily skewed by a forthcoming movie adaptation of my Cinderella Story of a comeback finish in multiplayer, though…but who’s keeping track?
What is Stuntfest World Tour?
Stuntfest World Tour is essentially racing, destruction derby, Fall Guy elimination rounds, with a bit of Pain (remember that PS3 game?!?) thrown in as you strategically eject your driver from the vehicle to quickly navigate the environment. While ejected, you can use equipment to float across ravines, glide through obstacles, or even “nudge” your character towards your next destination. If you time it correctly, one can also return to their vehicle while landing, making a smooth and chaotic transition back to land. It’s bonkers on paper, but it might just work.
Stuntshow World Tour Multiplayer
The Stuntshow game mode is multiple elimination rounds against other online players (in this case, 18 players), all competing in various events. The first day’s round was Distance Jump, which is fairly self-explanatory. You fly down a ramp, eject, and see how far you can fling your character by strategically using bounce pads, nudging, gliding, et cetera. Every online player is playing this event simultaneously, so it’s complete pandemonium as you crash into one another. Third place finish to stay humble…
Next up was Stuntrace, where you race around the Eagle’s Nest track using both your car and gadgets, attempting to find shortcuts along the way. Like the previous round, it was absolute anarchy when the race started. There were constant collisions and many vehicles being completely knocked off the track. I hadn’t thought about it at the time, but knowing what I know now, it would have been interesting to eject my character to see if I could bypass the chaos and safely end up on the other side. Regardless, I was stuck and/or lost in a few spots. Couple that with a bad spawn point and having my vehicle explode entirely and you have the village idiot not being able to finish the race. It was a dreadful finish that shamed multiple generations of my family.
We were then met with our first elimination, which basically takes a look at total points for each round and cuts a player out. Surprisingly, even with my DNF last round, I made it through the cut and continued my journey.
Now we have Day 2 Crash Crater, which is a Crash Derby where you gain points by hitting opposing players with as much force as you can. The map is essentially a big bowl where one can fly along the outskirts and then jump back into the middle for a big score. It’s a fun game mode, but this is where I started to notice that the camera was just too close. I couldn’t see enough in my periphery, which gave me a sense of tunnel vision. Hopefully they tweak the default camera for the actual release because it did tend to zoom in too much at inopportune moments. Given that this is a pre-alpha, we let it slide. Again, another third place finish to stay under the radar.
Day 3 is another Stuntrace, this time at Needle Canyon. I’m not sure if the game glitched or it’s intentionally programmed this way due to last round’s higher finish, but I was able to drive past everyone at the starting line while the countdown timer was still onscreen. That immediately moved me into second place. Works for me. That completely fair advantage allowed me to maintain a comfortable lead for most of the race. There was one particular moment where I was losing control of the vehicle while hitting a ramp and a well-timed ejection essentially allowed me to traverse the ravine and maintain the lead I rightfully earned in perpetuity. Really opened up my mind to how this could be strategically used to gain an advantage on my opponents. Anyways, second place finish but first in our hearts. <3 <3 <3
We’re then greeted with another elimination round for Day 4, with three contenders being kicked. The following event was Swoop Canyon, which is a Jetwing Race where you fly and glide through checkpoints on the way to the finish line. Very interesting gameplay. One can strategically freefall to gain speed and then revert back to gliding. First place finish because I am a prodigy.
Now we have another elimination before heading into the Final Day 5 Knockout Round with Charlie’s Gold Hunt, where the aim is to eject your driver and hit as many targets as possible within the given two-minute timeframe. Much like Day 1’s Distance Jump event, there is a large amount of carnage in the beginning and then it opens up a bit. There’s a large trampoline in the middle of the targets, so it makes sense to utilize those as much as possible when accumulating points. It reminds me of the aforementioned Pain game with a bit more control due to the nudges. Great addition to the rest of the variety. Another first place finish to drop the hammer on ’em.
Then we have the final tally of points and I can’t remember who won, so we’ll just leave it at that.
When the camera is zoomed out and you can see the horizon, Stuntfest – World Tour has some serious views in the canyons. You couple that with some of the midflight character animations along with the destructible items in the environment and you’re looking at a pretty game, especially for the Pre-Alpha. My hope is that Pow Wow Entertainment, the developer, adds a copious amount of customization to the characters and vehicles, so every player can have their own distinct look. I didn’t think the characters looked all that good while onstage for eliminations, but hoping that improves through development. I should also note there was a bit of oddly timed framerate chug even on my 3090 GPU, but we have to remember it’s a Pre-Alpha alpha version of the game. Still, lots to be excited about here graphically.
Pow Wow Entertainment could be onto something really special here with Stuntfest World Tour. Racing staples like Mario Kart and the like could definitely benefit from these ejection and equipment mechanics that allow you to avoid obstacles or get an advantage on your opponent. It’s just such a fresh and interesting take on the racing genre. I’m here for it.