Fasten your seatbelts, it’s time to get REKT!
Anyone who has ever played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater will feel right at home with the latest game to hit the Xbox Marketplace – REKT! High Octane Stunts. And even if you haven’t, the action is ridiculously simple to pick up.
You’ll be dropped into a vibrant arena packed full of ramps, loops and half-pipes and given sixty seconds to rack up as many points as possible. You’ll need to flip, spin and roll your way all over the arena. For maximum points (as well as some vibrant changes to your surroundings) you’ll need to chain these moves together into massive combos.
Make sure you land on your wheels though. Otherwise you’ll lose all your un-banked points, the arena will return to its original colour, and the announcer will let you know that you’ve been… REKT!
Once the clock hits zero, it’s back to the beginning for another run. There is no story, no campaign. The only thing approaching that is the challenge system. At the start of each run, you’ll be given three to complete. These range from simple tasks like jumping a certain distance, to more difficult ones like racking up massive combos or hitting a number of checkpoints before time runs out. Achieve them and the game will reward you with coins that you can use to buy upgrades for your cars, new arenas or rolls on the slot machine.
Speaking of cars, REKT! has a ton of them. 53 to be exact. There’s all your classic race-cars to pick from, as well as some fairly unique vehicles – including a skateboard, UFO and even a chicken – thrown in there too. Going even further, you can customise each one by choosing from a range of spoilers, tires and stickers and upgrade individual stats by spending some of your hard-earned coin (although in practice, these upgrades don’t really do a great deal). This is probably the strongest part of REKT!, and the amount of customisation on offer really feeds into the idea that this is meant to be a great casual experience.
It’s clear that REKT! has a really solid foundation and I’ve had a lot of fun playing it. There is just something so satisfying about speeding across an arena, pulling off monster tricks and racking up massive combos. Especially so when you’re doing it in an ice cream van. Unfortunately, it fails to build upon it. As a result, the gameplay ends up becoming rather stale after only an hour or two.
Most of Pro Skater’s success comes from its massive library of tricks and its stellar level design. REKT! has neither. Forget kickflips, melon grabs or McTwists, the only moves you’ll be hitting are flips, spins and rolls. They look great, but there’s only so many times you can bust out each before they begin to get tiresome.
The challenges you’re set suffer from the same issue. At first, they spice up the gameplay by giving you something specific to aim for in your individual runs. Before long though, you’ll start seeing the same ones pop up time and time again with only minor variations.
Meanwhile, level design tends to be bland and repetitive. There are five different arenas to tear up, and yet, apart from a few nice features like the skyscraper in The City or the gears in Forge, they all tend to blend into one giant, vibrant blob. Furthermore, I felt that the level design wasn’t great for facilitating combos, with ramps and other features placed without any rhyme or reason.
Arguably, the biggest thing missing from REKT! is the ability to play online. Having the ability to show my skills and flex on other people over the internet would have certainly increased the amount of time I would have spent with this game.
Luckily, we do have the option to play locally, with up to four players. And this is another area where the game really excels. There are four modes to choose from – Score, Virus, Checkpoint and Capture the Crown – and they are all great fun. Even after burning out on the single player portion of the game, I had a great couple of hours playing against others locally. Of course, if you don’t have people to play with, this entire section of the game is completely closed off. The game doesn’t offer AI opponents to play against.
You’ll have a great time with REKT!… for about an hour or so. After that, it quickly becomes obvious that you would have seen everything the game has to offer. It’s clear that this is a brilliant casual experience, with its strong fundamentals, easy-to-pick-up gameplay and truckload of customisation. It’s simply that with nothing added on top of it, REKT! ends up rather stale. More tricks, better level design or even online multiplayer would have helped a ton here. Without those, you’ll be getting a game that is fun only in short bursts or contingent on whether you happen to have people to play with. Whether that’s worth the fiver it’ll cost you, is really up to you.
REKT! High Octane Stunts is now available for your Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One via the Xbox Store