The motion in the ocean.
I love a good arcade racing game. Stuff like Cruisn’ USA, Arctic Thunder and of course Hydro Thunder are some of my favorite memories from my young gaming career. There really hasn’t been a plethora of these types of experiences lately. With so many titles being tossed around these days it seems like there is something for everyone, and now I finally have something to fulfill my alternative racing needs. Riptide GP2 has come to Xbox One, and it harkens back to a simple philosophy: jetski racing is still a blast.
I was surprised to learn that this is in fact a mobile game being ported to PC and XB1. This has become a more common theme lately, mostly on PC. The team behind it includes some veterans of the genre. Vector Unit houses developers that worked on the surprisingly enjoyable Hydro Thunder Hurricane that was released for Xbox 360, and it shows. This is straight-up water-based arcade racing, complete with solid water physics and a slick visual style. Oh, did I also mention it is only $5?
Platforms: XB1, PC
Price I’d Pay: $5.00
Multiplayer: Local only
Remnants of the mobile style still linger though. For example, the menu system is atrocious. Figuring out where to upgrade my craft was always a challenge, and upgrading is a chore thanks to non-intuitive design. I could also tell that grinding was required to purchase any new jetskis, which was likely part of the free-to-play design carried over from the mobile game.
The game is broken down into three-star events that are locked behind requirements. First place nets three stars, and so on. The difficulty ramps up by the third tier of events, again likely carried over from the design choices. I could grind cash from earlier races, which quickly bogged down the experience. This was likely designed to get players to spend real money on better vehicles.
The AI in the game is also ruthless. I could be in first place making perfect lines and still get passed constantly. It is to the point of unfair at times. Again, the game expects players to have better watercraft, which now requires grinding as the monetary options are completely removed.
Multiplayer is definitely the highlight, but it is local only. For those with the means though the game supports up to six players on one machine, which is insane. I don’t have that many controllers so I wasn’t able to check it out, but with 3-4 players the frame rate still retained a solid clip. There are also VR challenges that let players tally their best times and trick scores against those on their friends list. Mine was empty due to no one even realizing the game had released.
Riptide GP2 carries a lot of what I loved about classic arcade racing games, but also a lot of what I hate about mobile games. For $5 a lot of it can be overlooked, though the grinding to see the rest of the tracks almost forced me to stop playing. Still, with friends this is a great looking racer that thinks outside the box. I would love to see this team do a proper console/PC title in the series, one without all the hangups of mobile game design.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.