Last year, Vector Unit Inc. released Hydro Thunder Hurricane on the Xbox Live Arcade. It was a ridiculously fun and fairly revolutionary water racing game with dynamic water that actually affected game play, rather than a road essentially painted to look like water. The same mechanic has been brought to mobile devices with Riptide GP, a former Android exclusive now on iOS. The game has great graphics and is fun to play, but it can feel repetitive and hollow at times.
Riptide GP is a jet ski racing game set in the future. The basic racing mechanics are a lot of fun, but they aren’t without flaws. At the moment the only control option is tilt based, and while I generally dislike tilt controls, they were inoffensive here. Acceleration is taken care of automatically, though you can choose to accelerate yourself. As you hit jumps and big waves, you can pull of stunts and tricks to refill your boost meter. Once the game tells you how to do one stunt, it won’t take long to figure the rest out.
You can play the game in regular race mode, a Hot Lap Speed Run mode, and a Grand Prix Tournament mode. You can choose between three difficulties, from 250cc Easy, 500cc Normal, and 1000cc Hard. Easy mode is quite dull and lacks any challenge at all, though it’s useful for learning the ins and outs of the game. Take on normal and hard mode as quickly as you can manage, as the added challenge really improves the experience.
The game is quite graphically impressive, and the futuristic setting makes for some nice visuals. Unfortunately, there are only six tracks, though you can also drive through them in reverse, and they all feel pretty much the same. You’ve only got six jet skis to ride, which also don’t feel significantly different in the end. Because of this, the game can feel very repetitive and lacks a sense of progression. The soundtrack consists of blaring electronic music, and some tracks are very good, obviously pending your own personal music preferences. There are tons of Openfeint achievements to go for and leaderboards to climb. The game is iOS universal, and it can be yours for five dollars, though it’s currently on sale for three. It’s not a bad game by any means, but I personally became easily bored while playing it. Apparently Vector Unit is adding non-tilt controls very soon, so that’s always a plus.
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