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Riptide GP2 is a straightforward racing game on a platform full of them. Piloting jet skis – called “hydros” in the game – is a fun twist on the typical four-wheel affair, but the structure will be familiar to anyone who’s browsed the iOS racing scene: Compete in races to earn money and experience points, which are used to upgrade and buy new hydros, while new tracks and circuits are unlocked by earning stars in previous competitions.
Developer Vector Unit's sleek, sci-fi tinged visuals aren’t especially eye-popping, but they complement Riptide’s futuristic track design, which includes everything from a frozen Arctic river to a high-tech power plant. More importantly, the water effects contribute a real sense of speed and pace when combined with Riptide’s responsive controls.
Ramps will launch your hydro into the air, which provides an opportune time to perform acrobatic stunts. These swipe-gesture tricks in turn fill a boost meter, which provides a quick burst of acceleration. Learning when to use a hydro’s boost and which tricks are safe to pull off is integral to success in Riptide GP2, and those mechanics are nicely integrated into the game’s various race types. In addition to boilerplate races and time trials, Riptide GP2 offers Elimination and Freestyle courses events. The former sees the last-place racer culled every 15 seconds until only the winner remains, while Freestyle is a scored stunt mode. These different events change the emphasis on when and how to use boosts and stunts, and the Elimination races are particularly tense affairs.
Still, Riptide GP2 never strays far from the established racing formula, and it falls into some common traps. Because new races aren’t unlocked until a required number of stars have been earned, Riptide often feels repetitive and grinding. You can buy upgrades for your favorite vehicle, but newer, faster hydros are prohibitively expensive. Vector Unit offers in-app purchases as well, though the threat of “pay-to-win” multiplayer opponents would be more galling if the servers weren’t so empty. The real meat of Riptide GP2 is in its great, responsive controls and robust single-player career.
The bottom line. Riptide GP2 doesn’t reinvent the iOS racing game, but with loads of well-executed content to offer, it's still a largely great option.
iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later
Loads of interesting tracks, great controls, and nice visuals combine to offer a well-executed package. Lots of content here. Basic gameplay is spot on.
Unlocking new tracks and buying upgrades makes forward progress feel slow.