Hydrojet racing in this futuristic setting is illegal. Why it’s illegal though is unexplained. As the protagonist you accept a challenge from a racer who believes they can beat you. It seems at this stage you are at the top of your game. Of course the race is accepted and the race begins. Here you learn some of the moves before it’s all over and your arrested by the cops only to go down for 2 years. You start the game proper making a comeback as a rookie taking up races to build back up to the big leagues in the career mode. In all honesty there didn’t need to be a story here but actually glad it was put in as it gives the player that extra bit of motivation.
The music really gets your attention from the beginning with some quality drum and base to entice those audio senses. The sound effects when your hydrojet is thrusting through the water sound good. Pulling of stunts is satisfying and the sound effects which accompany a successful stunt makes you feel great.
Graphically the game has that arcade feel to it and for the price I was surprised how good they are here. The models of the hydrojets can be customised and you can choose a variety of colours which is great especially as you can play online and you want your beast to look as unique as possible. I like how they transform within game when your boosting and the back opens up to show the boost jets. A really great little detail.At first you can only choose one type of hydrojet but as you get through the game you can unlock more variations.
In games like this I always end up looking at the physics as water based games in my opinion are always difficult to get right, yet the water seems to move closely to how real water does and the water spray effects look awesome especially when water splashes against the camera.
The water looks nice and clear on some stages where the sun is shining yet in others where there is a storm brewing the water is more cloudy. Really impressive are the backgrounds as they are really memorable. The stage where there is a huge storm brewing causing huge waves for you to pull stunts off where lightening bolts are striking all over the place, to the stage where there is a war going on with set pieces moving around and hindering your progress. The stage where trees are burning and falling into the track is another particular highlight.
There were times when I did encounter some slowdown and it was mostly in the areas where there was a lot going on in the background. Playing in handheld and on the move was for the most part a great experience but again only rarely did I encounter some moments of slowdown. It didn’t really effect the overall experience too much. Even splitscreen where there was 3 of us felt really fast.
I was really impressed for an Indie title for the graphics to be this good so hats off to the developers Vector Unit for producing such interesting and believable settings.
Vector Unit brought us Beach Buggy Racing which was a bargain for the content and fun that game brought. Here it’s no different, swap the cars for hydrojets and more polish in the graphical department and you have Riptide GP Renegade. The Riptide series has mostly been on mobile platforms from Riptide GP, Riptide GP 2 which debuted on mobile devices and also Xbox one and PS4. Now we have Riptide GP Renegade. This game feels like it holds it’s own on consoles.
There are a few modes here so let’s begin with those. You have quickplay where you can set up a race on your own against AI or friends. You have the ability to play with 4 friends splitscreen which is great fun and the Switch ran the game really well with no noticeable performance issues and felt really quick. The resolution was not as sharp but that is to be expected and the compromise made so you can all play on one screen.
You have an online mode which is cross-platform so I was looking forward to playing against online players but I found it extremely difficult to find a race at the time of writing. Hopefully when the Switch version is released there will be more people online to play against. In any case it’s great that cross-platform and more so an online mode is even included especially at the price of the game.
The meat of the game is spent in career mode where you will take part in a number of events from pure racing against 7 other players, elimination races and stunt events.. As you progress you will unlock cash dependent on how well you have done. Finishing first and you will be awarded more cash which can then be spent on upgrading your hydrojet. You can upgrade acceleration, handling, boost and more. Once you upgrade your hydrojet to the max however it will soon be time to trade it in for a better model which can be unlocked by winning one on one races with bosses. The upgrade cycle then begins again. Some races have police making your life difficult in these underground race events. They can be really annoying blocking you from taking the lead and adds another dimension to the races.
Controlling the hydrojets feels nice and tight and they have a pretty nice weight to them. Chucking a hydrojet sharply into the corner and the water will slow you right down so getting those racing lines down is key to being fast. Performing tricks at the right time is a risk versus reward scenario. The stunts you can pull off which in many games feel like an afterthought here add a great deal to the experience. There are lots of tricks you can master and you can unlock more with skill points, the more tricks you have in your arsenal the more fun it is exploring how to activate them.. The fact that the controls are really tight makes it a joy to pull of these tricks. From back flips, front flips and all sorts of variations which can be activated whilst airborne and using the analogue sticks. Use both to pull off more complex variations.
Go for too much and your rider will fall in the water and you will no doubt lose places and time. Get it right and you get the benefit of filling up your boost bar. Boosting is essential here to win races. As you get deeper into the career the races become a lot more challenging so it’s essential to keep your boost bar topped up so you can keep up with the other riders. Races feel really qick which keeps it fun and as you go up the levels the races are quicker and more challenging. The learning curve feels ok but there is spikes in difficulty. At first the game feels overly easy and then all of a sudden it’s a lot more difficult so this could be one of the few negatives against the game.
Boss battles are just a one on one race and the fastest player wins. All very simple stuff but Vector Unit have produced a game here which is polished and overall really fun.
With a comprehensive career mode, online with cross-platform and split screen modes all make this game in my opinion ridiculously good value especially at just £8,99 or £9.99. The career mode will take you a good few hours to complete and there is always going to be plenty of replayability being able to play with friends in a numerous amount of ways. Whilst many of the games we have reviewed offer great value this is simply fantastic.