STAFF REVIEW of REKT! High Octane Stunts (Xbox One)

Monday, June 7, 2021.
by Adam Dileva

REKT! High Octane Stunts Box art Rekt! High Octane Stunts is not only the game's title, but actually the most perfect name to describe its gameplay. As you try and do crazy stunts in your car and don’t land on your wheels, you’re going to get wrecked... er, Rekt! If you’ve ever played a Tony Hawk game in the past, you’ll be well aware what it’s like to string along a combo for the whole round timer only to crash and bail at the very end, losing all your hard work; Rekt! High Octane Stunts is very reminiscent of that, even down to its score based gameplay, except you’re in a car instead of on a skateboard. So get ready to get behind the wheel, flip, spin, barrel roll, drift and perform as many stunts as you can to rack up the highest score possible before time runs out to place on the leaderbaords.

Rekt is as simplistic as it gets, simply placing you in an arena and giving you a time limit to get the highest score possible. While there’s no career mode of any sorts, you’ll still have objectives to work towards such as unlocking dozens of vehicles, spoilers, wheels, levels and saving up your currency to improve your vehicle’s stats. Because of the score attack nature that Rekt bases itself around, it can get a little tiring after about an hour straight, but makes for a great party game or some quick time to play if you only have a short time.

The main goal is to earn the highest score possible by performing stunts, ideally comboing them together in a single string until time runs out if you want any chance of topping the online leaderboards for bragging rights. While there’s only five different arenas to play around in, each one is vastly unique from one another, having their own style and unique setups of ramps, gates and rings. Very arcade-like gameplay allows you to flip, twist and spin your car in the air in any direction and drift with ease while your wheels are on the ground. Land on your wheels and you’ll earn a clean landing bonus, improving your score and combos even further. Land on anywhere else though and you’ll get ‘REKT!’, losing all of the combo and work you’ve amassed to that point.

The arcade action is simple enough to pick up and play but will take some practice to master, especially when you hit a ramp a little wonky, corkscrew a half dozen times and then need to right yourself to land on your wheels in less than a second or two. Most rounds last between a minute or two, though there are clocks scattered throughout the stages to extend your time, something that will be critical if you want to climb those leaderboards for the top spots.

As you complete runs you’ll earn currency which is used to spend on upgrading the stats of your vehicles or to spin a slot machine-like system for 1000 at a time, randomly giving you a new vehicle, spoiler, wheels or more currency. It will take some grinding to amass enough coins to unlock everything, but will eventually come in time. Each vehicle has their own stats, though it doesn’t feel drastically different from one to the next aside from a few special ones once fully upgraded. For the completionists though, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Upgrading your vehicle takes currency as well and you can boost its stats like Boost, Speed, Handling etc, though you can’t fully max any of the vehicles that I’ve noticed so far, but can come close. You can freely change your spoiler, wheels and sticker on the bottom of your vehicle to any that you’ve currently unlocked, though I do wish I could have spent coins on specific items instead of having to play the slot machine a thousand coins at a time.

Each time you play a Highscore attempt you’re also given three randomized objectives that you can choose to complete. Doing so earns you more coins and works towards the achievements as well. Many of these challenges will vary, usually tasked with performing two flips, spins, corkscrews, other stunt combinations or knocking over piles of blocks, going through gates, etc.

Given that Rekt was initially a mobile game, there is of course not much ‘meat on the bones’ so to speak. When you’re playing solo there’s actually only two modes to play: Practice, which has no real point since you don’t progress in any way, and High Score. The lure of a high score and online leaderboards is what will keep you playing, even after you’ve finally unlocked every vehicle and spoiler.

As for performing the stunts themselves, it’s very simple to do. Launch your vehicle off a ramp and flick the Right Stick in a direction to rotate it that direction. Up will frontflip, Down for backflips, Left or Right for spins and Bumpers to barrel roll. You can of course combine any of these to earn more points, but the real skill comes in trying to right your car properly for a perfect landing. Interestingly, you can hold ‘A’ and the car will stop rotating if you want a little more assistance in trying to land properly, and while I was crashing almost every time for the first hour, I eventually got the hang of it and was able to right myself for clean landings almost every time afterwards. An interesting feature too is that the color of the stage changes as your combo goes higher, almost like a filter gets applied to visually show you that your combo is going up. It’s a subtle effect but I quite enjoyed it once I realized what it meant.

You will also have some Boost, usable with the ‘B’ button, to help you get some more speed to launch yourself further and higher off each ramp if you want. When you’re attempting to land on certain platforms or go through rings, it’s going to take a lot of practice to figure out how much speed you’re actually going to need without coming up short or launching clear across where you intended to land.

Now there is multiplayer, up to four players, but sadly it’s local only. This means you’ll need to have people over on the same couch to play some of the unique multiplayer modes. Score has you challenging against each other to see who can attains the highest amount of points before the timer ends; simple. Baja is basically a checkpoint race where the first player to reach a checkpoint earns a point with the winner the first to five. Capture the Crown is your typical keep away mode where the first player to hold onto the crown for 90 seconds is the winner. Lastly is Virus, basically an infection/zombie mode where the player with the virus needs to tag everyone else, spreading the infection. The Venom-like effect on the cars was a cool touch.

I get that a small arcade game like this came from its smaller app roots, but a map editor or some online play would have kept me playing longer term. Being able to download other players’ ghost runs would also have been interesting, seeing what others do to attain those ridiculously high scores. While there is some multiplayer, it’s nothing noteworthy unless you happen to have people in the home to play with regularly. There’s plenty of unlockables to work towards but its gameplay loop is more fitting for sporadic play here and there instead of hours at a time.

It’s hard to complain for a simplistic and entertaining game that’s only priced at $6 USD. REKT! High Octane Stunts is a blast in short bursts but probably won’t have much longevity. When you finally land that full run combo and see your Gamertag appear on top of the leaderboards it’s exciting but, prepare to get REKT countless times.

**REKT! High Octane Stunts was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 6.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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