Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Riptide GP2 ($2.99 Universal) is a competitive racing game where you get to play the role of a professional jet ski racer.
The controls come pre-configured to move the jet ski by tilting the device back and forth in order to steer right and left. On the iPhone in particular, using the tilt controls as a game controller while AirPlay-ing the video through the Apple TV has a real good feel to it. With a larger device like the iPad, switching to the on-screen controls where you tap on the screen to steer the jet ski feels more natural. With both configurations, there is also an on-screen boost button that will accelerate you forward. To help you slow down as you come up on some of the sharper turns in the race, there are a set of left and right buttons that will put on the brakes and slow down the jet ski. It won’t take long to get familiar with the controls and start winning races.
At the end of each race, you will be awarded a cash prize based on your performance and ranking within the race. By saving up the cash prizes that you win, you can purchase a new jet ski. The better the jet ski, the more likely you will win. Buying a new jet ski may be a more favorable strategy to upgrading the one you start out with, as the individual abilities of each jet ski can only be upgraded so far. Each jet ski you can buy has a different set of limited abilities. If you are interested in upgrading the handling for example, it may be cheaper to buy a better jet ski with better handling than to continue to pay to upgrade the handling of a lesser jet ski. Acceleration, Top Speed, Handling and Boost are the four abilities you can pay to upgrade on each jet ski. Investing in your jet ski becomes essential when you look to maximize your air time on the ramps within each race.
As you race around turns and speed down straightaways, you will encounter a series of ramps that are set up in the water for you to jump. When airborne you use your fingers to make swiping gestures on the screen to perform aerial acrobatics. The higher you jump, the better and more complex tricks you can perform. Forgetting to perform a stunt with each jump could cost you the race, as each successful trick will increase your jet ski’s boost. The better the stunt, the longer and more powerful the boost will be. These stunts will not only increase your jet ski’s boost, but also earn you experience points that you can spend on upgrading your racers abilities.
Owning an awesome jet ski is no good if you do not also have an equally awesome racer. With the experience points you earn by doing well in each race, you will level up your racer. Depending on how well you do, you may also be awarded skill points at the end of each race. These skill points can be used to increase the abilities of the racer. Each new trick you learn will be acquired by using your skill points. Next to each learned skill are hints as to how you will need to make gestures on the screen in order to perform net new skill. Some events will be more about how well you use your skill with each jump, than how fast you can drive your jet ski.
There are four basic types of events in the game, Race, Elimination, Hot Lap and Stunt. The Race is simple: just be the first to cross the finish line. Elimination is a little more interesting, every 15 seconds the last racer will be eliminated from the race. The goal here it to be the last racer to get eliminated. Hot Lap is all about how fast you can go on a single lap. There are no other racers involved as you race against the clock. Stunt is more of an exhibition event where you win by performing as many stunts as possible in sixty seconds. The better the stunts, the higher the score. Placing in first second or third place will earn you stars that unlock additional event in the game. If you grow tired of furthering your career by racing against artificial players, there is a multiplayer mode.
In multiplayer mode, you can select a quick match where a random Game Center opponent will be selected, or you can invite up to three of your Game Center friends to race against you. While you can bankroll your jet ski through in-app purchases, you cannot accelerate how many skills your racer knows. This is where all of the time you spent in career mode pays off, your skill level will increase and you can familiarize yourself with each of the different tracks.
So take some time out this weekend and put together a great jet ski and skilled racer combination that none of your friends can beat.