Riptide GP2 – Review

Title   Riptide GP2
Developer  Vector Unit
Publisher  Vector Unit
Platform  Windows PC, XO, PS4, iOS, Android
Genre  Racing, simulation, action
Release Date  June 24th, 2015
Official Site

riptidegp2rev1The quirky appeal of the much-loved but ultimately doomed Dreamcast came from the fact that it wasn’t really up for running FPS shooters with that admittedly absymal joypad, and EA didn’t bother showing up to fill it full of sports games. Instead, the console made its name on arcade ports and one of the best was the water-based racing gem, Hydro Thunder. It was a slick, impressive and fun racer that was full of brilliantly designed courses and nice, showy graphical touches, and managed to be enjoyable despite the fact that racing on water is a horrible idea for a game.

Riptide GP2 is the sequel to an iOS/Android take on the genre and appeared first on those formats before getting a console port into current gen land. I know, right? It sounds AWFUL. The good news is that isn’t awful at all but it’s definitely no Hydro Thunder. The game comes with minimal thrills or fuss. You start off in a basic speedboat and with some rudimentary stunts in your arsenal. The game’s tracks (which are reused quite a lot) are fairly simple affairs with a smattering of ramps for you to trick off of, and as you compete you’ll earn money and experience (which ultimately helps you unlock more stunts).


The core gameplay is pretty tight. There is a tendency to spack off into the barricades a lot, mainly thanks to your brakes being pretty much useless, but with practice it does get a little better. Failing to finish in the top three still gets you some cash and XP though which is good as it means you can still work towards upgrading even when things get difficult. Events come in four flavours. Races are what you’d expect with you facing off against seven AI racers. Hot Laps are just you versus the clock. Elimination Races see the last racer in the field getting eliminated every fifteen seconds. Stunt fans will enjoy the Freestyle mode which sees you being scored entirely on your ability to swing your boat or racer around in a stupidly dangerous way.

riptidegp2rev3To get the three star rating on each event, the targets you need to beat seem to be very tight, with little margin for error. No matter how much you upgrade your boat, three stars always seemed to be a few microseconds away. I sense some shenanigans there but here’s the thing, I’m really enjoying trying to shave those seconds off. As of right now I’m at least three quarters of the way through the career mode and there is a good sense of achievement each time one of the events falls.

What Riptide GP2 lacks is both the production values and sheer excitement of Hydro Thunder. This is more a game of skill and judgement rather than a balls-out racer, and with no shortcuts to make the tracks interesting, everything soon gets pretty samey out there on the water. The tricking system isn’t even that interesting. Overall though, there’s an enjoyable challenge to be had from this game and it’s a price that’s cheap enough to offer value for money.

With no online multiplayer (the game blurb even has the audacity to brag about having online split-screen over Share Play) and fairly basic presentation (the blurb also mentions that it runs at 1080p and 60FPS which translates as ‘we have nothing interesting to tell you’), Riptide GP2 is a quite a limited package. But it’s cheap and we like cheap.

  • Challenging gameplay that is more addictive than frustrating
  • It's not an open-world racing game
  • Simulates a sport that you'd never do in real life
  • Doesn't feel like an iOS game, despite being one
  • Looks a bit blaverage
  • Feels rubberbandy
  • Is almost trying to be dull
  • Trick system feels clumsy
  • Braking is a bit suspect

Riptide GP2 is everything you'd expect from a water-based racing game that started out in mobile phone land. Except rubbish. It's not rubbish. With its tight, challenging gameplay there's definitely something here to enjoy but it is a dour package.

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