Like the Top Gear The Stig Challenge Circuit Superstars presented from a new side

Reminiscing about the glory days of Top Gear through a racing game sounds like an exciting prospect. In a way, Original Fire Games set out to do that with its latest DLC – Top Gear: The Stig Challenge.

In the first example of paid add-on content for the title, the player faces five brand new lap time challenges. All of this takes place at Dunsford Aerodrome (commonly known as the Top Gear Test Track), but not in the way you’ve seen it before…

Each course is littered with obstacles, from ramps to wrecking balls, half-pipes and minefields. These layouts have all been designed to both frustrate and reward.

First of all, frustration. I had a hard time coping with the new techniques required, especially the rotations on the edge of each halfpipe that were found towards the end of the Skatepark Challenge. After several falls and a bruised ego, I began to grapple with the speed and angle required.

Then comes the reward. Just completing a clean lap of each course provides a satisfying challenge. So once you start finding those extra seconds and fixing your landings, endorphins will start to flow. At this point you realize you’re still about six light years off the pace compared to the better players, and that alone is what makes these challenges stand out.

It’s just plain fun, with the extra elements and new skills required to create a whole new learning curve for players already accustomed to the Circuit Superstars format. Additionally, the competitive nature of online leaderboards always makes it difficult to let go of the controller.

Circuit Superstars Top Gear The Stig Challenge jump ramp

It’s also worth noting that the cars used in each of these challenges rotate regularly, meaning there’s always something new coming up.

Some of these events feel a little more dynamic than others. The Autocross Challenge feels a little easy. It feels more like a realistic autocross event but is a bit disappointing compared to the other, more outlandish challenges. Ah yes. Ramps, bombs and trailers falling from the sky really put a smile on faces and make the levels “Dog Agility Course” and “Wreck a Car” very special.

The fifth and final entry is far simpler. Just one lap of the regular circuit, no obstacles other than the constantly appearing Hammerhead tire stacks. There’s a twist, though, because in this challenge, you’ll be at the controls of a Reliant Robin-style tricycle. crikey.

Circuit Superstars Rocket

Do any of you remember the episode where Richard Hammond and James May tried to launch one into space? That inevitable spectacular explosion may have ended the life of that particular Robin, but now, thanks to this DLC, it lives on forever. However, it is not just sent to the test track….

Yes, the aptly named “rocket” can also be used in regular game modes. The race is as chaotic as you would expect: lots of sparks, lots of crashes and too many opportunities to sabotage your chances by spinning the car. It’s definitely a tricky affair to master, and you’ll appreciate four wheels even more than ever.

In addition to a new Thunder Point Club layout (essentially an elongated tri-oval), the last notable addition is the caravan mode.

Circuit Superstars Caravan Mode Top Gear

Check this box in the Advanced Settings menu, and the unassuming, professional-looking race that was about to take place will now descend into all-out bloodbath. Racing requires a completely different attitude. It’s not about how well you hit the tips or how you handle the inevitable roll. Close your eyes, step on the gas and send off.

Okay, it’s more nuanced, but not by much. I found that I was spending most of my time trying to free myself from the AI’s grip and avoid buckling. Another fun alternative to spend an afternoon, albeit a little lacking in the satisfaction of a good round at a regular event. The fun here is in the race, not in the driving.

Race track superstars Robin Reliant

A new twist on the regular Circuit Superstars experience that brings laughs and tranquility. Think of it like a Gran Turismo 4 coffee break. I can really imagine that the Caravan and Reliant racing would be at their best in an online environment, but it won’t detract from the game’s original appeal.

Circuit Superstars uses an arcade style and cutesy aesthetic to give it a playful feel, yet its roots remain in the more serious side of racing once you start to shed the layers. Top Gear: The Stig Challenge delivers an experience that’s every bit as fun as the graphics suggest, but with the quality and detail we’ve come to expect from this game.

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