Wave Race 64 & Blue Storm. That’s my only point of reference for video games with watercraft racing, and I’m sure that’s to be expected when talking about another one on a Nintendo console. Since Vector Unit is behind this title though, it also ended up bringing Beach Buggy Racing to mind since that was their previous entry for the Switch. Is Riptide GP: Renegade a similar case to Beach Buggy, or does it manage to achieve the qualities of Nintendo’s own classic series?
The most important aspect of a jet ski game is the physics I think. Having a race on water, especially choppy water has to be spot on else you could have steering that doesn’t work, or you could be thrown into the air and spend more time crashing than you do racing. Waves also add in some unpredictable factors. All combined it could lead to the racing being a bit of a bust. Thankfully Vector Unit has done a good job getting the balance just right. The controls are tight, meaning you can float, drift and race in a straight line without having to fight too hard against the water, at least no more than you feel you should have to. Even in your first race you’ll be throwing your craft around corners and bouncing over waves as if it was something natural.
The impressive thing about Vector Unit’s games on the Switch is how the team manages to compress them. Riptide GP: Renegade is only 151 MB big, yet has lots of graphical detail and a remarkably smooth framerate. Visual pop-up is a little more noticeable this time around, but it doesn’t distract from the view that much. I also like that the courses differentiate from each other with neat details of their own; one course had ships firing machine guns at the buildings you race by, and certain ones may have the waves bounce for players to take advantage of for airtime.
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.
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 t