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Riptide GP2 review: Jet-ski racing never looked this good

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The Good Riptide GP2 is an excellent sequel to the original, with dynamic wave physics, different game types, and tons of tracks to race.

The Bad Online multiplayer only lets you race one-on-one. There are no forward and back tilt controls.

The Bottom Line Racing fans should buy Riptide GP2 for its excellent graphics, realistic physics, and rock-solid gameplay.

Visit for details.

8.9 Overall
  • Setup 9
  • Features 9
  • Interface 9
  • Performance 10

Review Sections

Riptide GP2 (iOS|Android) brings the best jet-ski racing game on smartphones back for another run, but in this sequel you get new tracks, dynamic wave physics, online multiplayer, and more cool features that make it even better.

Graphics and gameplay
Riptide GP2 gets just about everything right. The worlds and tracks are amazingly detailed, with different themes that have you racing on a suspended track high in the air in some rounds, and others where you race through frozen worlds of ice and waterfalls. There are eight worlds in all, with several races in each where you strive to get a three-star rating by beating the AI racers or racing against the clock.

There are a number of different race types as you play through Career Mode, with standard races against AI opponents; Hot Lap, which has you compete for a top time; Elimination, where the player in last place is eliminated at 10-second intervals; and Freestyle events, where your job is to pull off the most and best tricks possible to get the high score. You also can participate in online multiplayer, where you'll be matched up with another person to race in real time, but there are no multiplayer group races.

As you race around tracks, you'll find ramps and large waves that let you perform tricks to build your boost. You start with a variety of basic tricks in the beginning. But as you earn money by winning races, you can buy more-complex tricks from fancy handstands to absurd end-over-end spinning moves that would be impossible in the real world. There are 25 tricks you can unlock in all. The harder the trick, the more boost power you get, but if you land the trick wrong and wipe out, you'll lose time and probably lose the race.

What truly makes the game a joy to play are the realistic wave physics. Along with the smooth, flowing feeling of carving through turns, you'll also need to navigate through the wakes of your opponents. Waves form dynamically as you race, so you'll be battling the surface of the track as well as the game's many hairpin turns and ramps.

Riptide GP2
Using boost at the start is a great way to get out in front early and avoid the wakes of your opponents. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Purchases and upgrades
Between races you can upgrade and customize your hydro-jets (jet skis) to give you an edge. Riptide lets you use your race winnings to buy upgrades for acceleration, top speed, handling, and improving your boost. Each upgrade to a single skill costs more than the one before, so you'll need to keep racing to earn more cash. Like many games these days, you can buy in-game cash with real money, but I found you can definitely earn it on your own with a little patience.

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