Racing games were few and far between at the start of this console generation. Forza 5 was the first real entry. Then came the crew, drive club and project cars to add their wheels to the skid marked tarmac. Now we have a different kind of racer, one that takes the racing off land and to the water. But can the newcomer stay afloat in the newly crowded current gen racer scene?
Riptide GP is a racer that was released on mobile in 2013. This sequel features better visuals, a higher frame rate, new tracks and new games modes. It’s a much deeper experience than the highly popular original. Like the original, this title borrows heavily from similar games of its kind, like wave Race 64 and blue storm. That’s not to say it does my make itself feel like its own game. You start the racer with a small but informative tutorial that will quickly run you through the basics. This can be skipped but it’s that short there is no point in skipping.
The Career mode is the stand out mode in the new water racer and features 9 cups ranging from beginner to all-star, with a few different race types within there. Race types include Standard race, elimination, time trail and freestyle. These diverse races mix up the gameplay and make the races feel fresh. Racers compete for places and win stars depending or performance. The stars you earn are used to unlock future events and progress through the game. You are also awarded XP and money for finishing races. This is used to upgrade your ride and rider. You can also buy new rides and tricks to help you throughout the game. When it comes to the tricks, there are a variety of them that you can pull off. These fill your boost metre which in turn helps you win. The more complicated a trick, the more you fill your metre. Once you activate your boost metre you can’t stop it so you have to be careful where you use it.
If you want to take a break from the career mode, there is a time trial section dubbed VR challenges. These see you putting in laps to move up the online leader board. Unfortunately this is the only hint of online play that the game offers. A more in-depth and directly challenging approach would have been preferred. Local multiplayer is supported for up to 6 players and is the only offering of any kind of actual multiplayer action.
As the game is also available on mobile, the graphics aren’t going to blow you away. It’s not quite as pretty as Uncharted 4… but for what it is and the platforms that it’s catering for, it looks good enough. The game handles well enough as you chop over the waves. It may feel sluggish at first, but you have to bear in mind that you’re racing on water and not land. The ride won’t handle like a Ferrari. For a racer, the game doesn’t do great when offering the player sense of speed. I expected splashback from the water on the camera, howling winds, visual signs. The game offers little of this and we are reduced to using our feeble imaginations.
Riptide GP2 offers players current gen racing on a budget. I use the word budget in every sense of its meaning. The game is cheap, small and graphically inferior. But that is exactly what you should expect from a game that costs under £5.
The game does what it says on the tin. A competitive online mode is severely missed, as is the sense of speed when racing. It hits all its high notes comfortably however and tries it’s best to hold your attention for longer than a few plays. If you are looking for a racer or your shiny new console but don’t want to shell out £50 for a premium title, this may quench your thirst slightly.
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