How can you intrinsically change the way a racing game feels like to play? Easy: just add water.

That’s basically the core of Riptide GP, a jet ski racer from Hydro Thunder Hurricane developer Vector Unit.

With console-quality graphics and a wide range of modes, though, there’s enough both in and out of the water for racing fans to get their teeth into.

I'm on a boat

Let’s not beat about the bush in this review - Riptide GP looks gorgeous.

Whether splashing through the sun-kissed tracks, watching the waves lap realistically across the surface, or gawping at the huge spinning machinery in the Twister stage, it truly is a fantastic demonstration of the Tegra 2 chipset.

Even hooking the game up to a 1080p display does little to diminish the impact, making it feel like you’re playing an early PS2 game rather than something on your mobile.

The pretty graphics aren’t just for show, mind, especially when it comes to the water itself. Much like other jet ski games before it, Riptide GP's 'tracks' are constantly moving, meaning that winning is as much about picking routes through the waves as selecting the best line around corners.

Medal-winner

This lack of certainty over the course will make Riptide GP feel a little loose and imprecise when you start playing compared to solid-floor racers, despite the tilt calibration set at a decent level by default.

The three different difficulty levels (representing the engine power of the craft) go some way to easing you into the racing, but everything above the easiest setting is far from a pushover.

That could explain why medals earned on the tracks, hot laps, and multi-stage Championships seem to appear no matter what difficulty you earned them at.

It may sound like a minor quibble, but having won gold on every track on Easy, seeing the medals there again when trying on Normal felt a little deflating for this OCD racing fan.

Showboating

Still, there are plenty of modes and options to race on: the best of these is Championships, which takes you on a tour of the six tracks and their reversed brothers. Saying that, OpenFeint leaderboards and achievements make the Hot Lap mode fairly interesting, too.

What the game does lack is any form of multiplayer outside of the leaderboard times. There aren't even any ghosts to race against - neither your own or others' - which comes as a major disappointment when looking to wring out the seconds from a best time.

As a showpiece for your new dual-core phone, Riptide GP can’t be beaten. It looks and sounds brilliant, and while the racing itself will take a few goes to get used to, the tracks, unlockable craft, and wealth of modes should keep you on board for hours.

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