Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover, especially when it looks absolutely gorgeous. Stick Stunt Biker 2's bread and butter lies in its atmospheric visual landscape, and although its silhouette-driven aesthetic may have been influenced by such games as Limbo and Badland, there's really nothing to forgive. It's a title that, thanks to its dark and creepy visuals, is not your run-of-the-mill racing game.
Gamers can either navigate their bikes through tilt controls or with button commands. Tilting your device enables the bike to do front and back flips, as well as guiding the vehicle as it jumps through the air. Acceleration is achieved by tapping the right side of your device, with the left side reserved for braking. If you prefer button mode, accelerating and braking are found on the right side with the left section used for leaning the bike forward and backward. Even if you have a decent grasp on riding the bike, the big challenge in each level is to cross the finish line without dying. If you're racing through a bleak, ominous forest, survival may not be in the cards.
Beating your personal best times is the goal of racing each track on every stage, as accomplishing such feats will earn you stars . Collecting a healthy share of stars ensures the opening of an entire new stage. Since each chapter has its own distinct look, advancing is a huge priority, especially if all you see is red.
Even though you can shop for differing bikes, upgrading to a different ride will cost a ton of stars, and the game's developers are probably counting on gamers to fork over an extra $0.99 to purchase a moped or a "girl bike." For $19.99, players can immediately get all the bikes and tracks in the game without doing all the hard work. Of course, shelling out dough for in-game purchases is nothing to sneeze at, either.
The title also has multiplayer mode, as you can invite your buddies from Game Center for a head-to-head match. Since I prefer the kindness of strangers, I raced against a nearby player to test this feature out. It took a little over two minutes for Game Center to find me a partner in crime, and since I emerged victorious, the wait was worth it.
As far as the actual gameplay, I was less than thrilled. There's really nothing fancy about doing front and back flips time and time again, and things can get a bit repetitive, especially if you're not able to progress in the game. If Stick Stunt Biker 2 didn't pull me in on a visceral level, I probably would have moved on to another title. But with over fifty tracks available, there are a ton of new worlds to marvel over, and sometimes looking pretty isn't such a bad thing at all.