16
Dec
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I want to start this review by saying I love Top Gear. I really, truly do. The show's had its ups and downs, but I've seen every one - twice. So when I heard that the only mobile game to be graced with the trademark television series' name was headed for the Play Store, I was actually a bit excited.

It then took my hopes, shot them in a dark alley, and stuffed them in the trunk of a rental PT Cruiser. God, this game is bad. I don't even know what the developers were thinking when they unleashed this unabashed pile of feces to the masses.

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The Gameplay

You control a car, from a third-person view perspective, in a world that allows you to move in two / three dimensions (given the large amount of ramps involved). This, to me, is already setting up a mobile racing game for near-certain failure. Top-down, old-school racers on Android and other mobile platforms have enough problems as it is, and even franchises like Need For Speed and Asphalt basically force you into going forward at all times, to avoid messy and frustrating touch control issues.

Screenshot_2012-12-14-11-46-07

Screenshot_2012-12-16-11-22-54 Screenshot_2012-12-16-11-23-02 Screenshot_2012-12-16-11-23-15

So, what did the developers of Stunt School Revolution do? They decided that, because of the issues associated with controlling a car in a 360-degree world on a touch screen, including three separate control schemes would help people find some sort of personal "sweet spot." It didn't work. At all. Every single control mode sucks.

Tilt controls? Don't bother. "Touch" controls? You get arrows that are "on" or "off" in terms of changing your direction. "Touch and drag" controls are the closest you get to usable, but even those are so terrible (even with the sensitivity set as low as possible) that you'll want to stop playing almost immediately. It absolutely boggles my mind how tragically bad the controls are. It completely ruins the game.

Screenshot_2012-12-14-11-47-50

To talk briefly of the rest of SSR, you try to complete stunts. Some of them are stupidly simple - like jumping a ramp and flying as long a distance as possible. Some, mostly because of the controls, are so difficult that I've considered throwing my Nexus 7 at a wall (like the basketball hoop stunt). Each attempt at a stunt eats a "permit," and you're allocated a permit every 4 minutes, up to a max of 15 free permits (that's 15 per hour). On the upside, this does prevent you from playing the game for hours on end (unless you pay to buy more permits), which would likely result in an aneurysm, ulcers, or other stress-induced malady.

You can also upgrade your car - a major part of the game - with various parts and pieces. Unfortunately, the utility of many of the upgrade parts goes in large completely unexplained. Do I want a wing on my car for the ramp jump stunt? Who knows, because it's never addressed what exactly the wing is useful for (I found the wing actually made my flight distance shorter, because of increased drag).

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Screenshot_2012-12-16-11-20-30 Screenshot_2012-12-16-11-20-56

I would go into more detail about the gameplay, but seriously, why bother? The developers clearly didn't when it came to the controls.

The Other Stuff

The graphics are alright. Decent for a modern mobile game, but certainly nothing to write home about. There's not really a story, and the sound effects are mediocre. The Top Gear theme song, of course, is in tow throughout the game menus. It only took me about five minutes of listening to that increasingly tired rendition of "Jessica" before I disabled the music in the settings menu.

Screenshot_2012-12-16-11-20-30

Should You Play It?

No. Unless you're a masochist, I guess. It's a little sad considering the obvious amount of work that went into creating the vehicle content, maps, and various consumable mechanics in Stunt School Revolution, but it's all for naught because of the terrible controls. If they made this game playable with a touch screen (I would argue that, right now, it's not), I'd consider revisiting it.

If the controls were fixed, though, my next reservation would stem from the consumable permits (which you use regardless of whether or not you complete a stunt successfully), mostly because aside from waiting for them to accumulate over time naturally, you're forced to buy them. They're not terribly expensive, I guess, but still - it reeks of being a money grab. You're consuming an in-game commodity just to play the game (unlimited permits can be had, though, for $4.99).

Overall, Top Gear SSR is best summed up by the image below.

Screenshot_2012-12-14-11-46-19

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Nabil Shaikh

    Yeap, absolutely horrible game!!

    • http://nikolaovcharski.com/ Nikola Ovcharski

      +1

  • Wayne Randall

    What, no Pro review? Where's the dedication?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Uh, it's the same game, except you get a thousand permits and all the stunts are unlocked from the beginning.

      • Wayne Randall

        Sorry, should have added "/s". I was trying to be funny.

  • Andrei

    Controls are bad on most games, and yes, they do throw away lots of potential, but my issue with this game are graphics. It feels like I'm playing on my old Sony Ericsson W610, with cars made out of 10 rectangles and menus that look like they're designed in MS Paint. Bleah. And when you think some people buy Android devices specifically for latest-gen GPUs, how could they think their game would even be considered?

    • Katsu999

      Try Real Racing 3 - the controls feel exactly like a real car should. No excuse for TGSSR then, it is utter rubbish!

  • DCMAKER

    mini motors has awesome controls. the wheel is great

  • Fissurez

    the first top gear game for mobile (iOS) was actually ok.

    it had a nice free roam area where you could combine all the upgrades you have unlocked, and then literally fly out of the map, which was hilarious at the time.

    tl;dr it was still bad, but better than this one and had some sort of charm that made it slightly fun

  • Valter Fernandes

    i agree 100% i installed it and uninstalled about 10 minutes later. frustating game!

  • defred34

    "Almost As Bad As Jeremy Clarkson's Hair"

    What crude language you have there, mister.

  • Wam31

    Well, that's too bad, I'm a huge fan of the show.
    Love the review title though, that sounds like something Hammond would say !

  • Stephen

    Yet another franchise strapped to a steaming pile of c**p. If you want a decent racing/driving game try Retro Racing by Mr Qwak. It will clean away all memories of this stinker.

    • Katsu999

      Or try Real Racing 2 or 3 - feels like real cars should.

  • Albanio

    Use tilt controls and you'll enjoy the game for hours and hours. Stig messages recommends the right complement. Wings help you go a longer distance if you turn the screen while flying. Graet game

    • Katsu999

      No, its a terrible game.

  • Katsu999

    Tried this on the iPad - a truly awful game, and shame on the BBC for blindly putting their name to such garbage! The odd thing is, in the iPad Appstore it has a 5-star rating - yet there is no way to review or rate it in the Appstore... so how did it get a great rating if you can't rate it? I had to install it on my Nexus 4 just to be able to give it a bad review... Now it will be uninstalled from both devices. Terrible controls (did they even test them?), expensive add-ons, endless pop-up adverts for other crap games... Absolutely no fun at all. AVOID!