Riptide GP2 Review: Futuristic Hydro Jet Racing… It’s as Awesome as it Sounds!
Assuming I’m not the only iOS gamer with absurdly fond memories of 1996’s Wave Race 64, the core concept of Riptide GP2 should strike a chord with many of you… There’s something inherently appealing about lurching across untamed waters on overpowered, lightweight vehicles–isn’t there? Riptide GP2 is a follow up to what was–for a long time–considered the premier water-racing game available on the iOS platform. According to the game’s App Store page, the sequel “kicks everything into overdrive,” and that’s saying something for a water-racing experience that was already utilizing rocket-powered hydro jets and futuristic settings.
Don’t be surprised if moments into your first race, you rediscover what makes water racing such a great video game genre. Developer Vector Unit faithfully improved upon the “dynamic and interactive water surface” that made the first Riptide great (it’s also what made Wave Race 64 great, if memory serves), and this time around the frantic racing elements are complimented by stunning visuals and a deep bag of tricks. Whether you launch into a new career or opt for the online multi-player races, everything from the hydro jets to the riders to the futuristic backdrops shows marked improvement over the original.
Maybe you’ll come for a few quick races, but we’re willing to bet you’ll stick around for a career after getting a taste of the wet and wild racing that awaits in Riptide GP2. Luckily, the all-new career mode does a fantastic job of holding interest for sustained sessions. This is due to an addictive upgrade system that challenges you to keep boosting your jet’s acceleration, top speed, handling, and boost in order to better compete in a variety of race formats like classic, hot lap, elimination, and freestyle…
But going deep into your career will take more than a souped up jet, and that’s why you’ll need to level up and learn new skills that will have your rider performing tricks like flips, Superman, Bar Hop–and later on, the truly crazy stuff like Mad Monkey, Tornado, and Jungle Gym… The tricks aren’t just for show, either, as pulling off a variety of moves during a race will earn you boost–a hair-raising, essential way to blast your way to the front of the pack. You can go a long way in furthering your career through new skills and jet upgrades, but at some point, you’re going to want to save up for whole new vehicles. The ladder of improvement found in a Riptide career is both satisfying and challenging–don’t expect it to be something you can conquer in a short period of time.
While Vector Unit has done just about everything necessary to expand the Riptide experience into a full-fledged, console-quality racing game, they’d do well to focus on touch-sensitivity in future updates. Currently, there are some frustrating glitches that occur when trying to pull off more challenging tricks. The combination of swipes required to enact hard tricks often builds on previous techniques, and more often than not, I found my rider going to work on a simpler trick before I finished my succession of swipes… It may sound like a subtle annoyance, but it will hold you back since better tricks result in more boost earned–and sometimes that slight edge afforded by boost will be required to cross the finish line first.
Hopefully it’s abundantly clear that Riptide GP2 is not a game of simulation–but why should it be? Vector Unit has done nearly everything right in making the sequel a crazier, more futuristic, increasingly bombastic version of what they imagine rocket-powered hydro jet racing could be. It’s a ton of fun whether you’re new to this kind of racing or trying to reignite the passion you had for riding the waves back in the days of the Nintendo 64… Buy it today if you’re interested in one of the best adrenaline rushes you can get without donning a wetsuit.
Our Score: 4.5 Out of 5