Riptide GP would be particularly impressive if the Aqua Moto series didn’t already exist. Like those games, it features graphically rich water-based racing action. It both looks and controls great, but unlike its competition the sense of progression and options are much more limited in Riptide GP.
This lack of options extends to the way the game controls. Handling your jet ski is done entirely by tilt controls, with no option to use any sort of on-screen control stick. Accelerating is by default automatic, though you do have the option to do it manually as well. While the lack of choice is annoying, the tilt-based controls do work quite well, and with auto-acceleration on it helps to free up your thumbs for pulling off tricks– which can be done via different combinations of swipes– to refill your boost meter.
Water has such bad traction!
The racing feels solid, and pulling off tricks is simple and satisfying (though there doesn’t appear to be any real benefit to performing a variety of different tricks). Riptide GP is an arcade-style experience, and as such the racing feels both fast and at times out of control. When you hit a particularly bumpy stretch of waves, for example, it’s all you can do to keep a handle on things.
And even on an older device the game looks amazing. Aside from a few jagged edges here and there, the futuristic environments you’ll be racing through are all distinct and full of interesting set-pieces to distract you from the race. They even change throughout the race, with new routes and ramps opening up at different times. It has a sort of WipEout-on-water vibe, though with much more annoying electronic music in the background.
Last one there’s a rotten egg.
We just wish there were more of these courses. Riptide GP only has six tracks, which you can play through both in standard mode and in reverse. So if you’re being generous, you could say there are a dozen. There are also only six vehicles to take for a spin and the difference in how they feel is minimal. There are a few different options to play through– including straight racing, a grand prix mode, and hot lap mode– and three different difficulty levels to play them on, but the lack of course and vehicle variety makes it feel as though you’re doing the same race over and over again.
There’s also very little sense of progression. Yes, you’ll unlock new, somewhat better vehicles as you play, but they don’t feel all that superior and there’s no upgrade system like in Aqua Moto 2. It won’t be long before you see most of what the game has to offer. And after that all you can do is replay it at a harder difficulty.
Riptide GP is certainly a competent and enjoyable racer, and it’s a great graphical showcase for your mobile device. But it doesn’t have much in the way of staying power. The small number of tracks and vehicles combined with the lack of any true sense of progression means that there’s little reason to keep playing aside from topping your high score.