Aqua Moto Racing 2 in Review – Jetski racing fun

There was a time not too long ago where I would have stated almost unequivocally that I wouldn’t play a racing game unless it had some sort of guns or or explosions (or something of that nature).  Either I’m growing up a bit or caring less these days, however, because I’ve played several racing games on my iPod Touch that were fun without the need for blowing things up. Aqua Moto Racing 2 is one of those. It’s definitely not the most technically advanced racer on an iDevice, and it has some issues I could live without, but overall it’s enjoyable and pretty easy to get the hang of.

Aqua Moto Racing 2 has you tearing up the waterways on jetskis, and it feels somewhat like Road Rash in the ocean (minus the Billy clubs, sadly).  You can play a quick race which allows you to revisit any track you’ve already beaten, or you can play the championship, which will have you zipping through 48 courses between 14 championships.  You can earn money in the championship races which will allow you to buy better jetskis.  Unfortunately there is no possibility for customizing the jetskis, but you can definitely tell a difference in usability between each model.

The game starts out kind of easy, and once I was used to the controls I managed to whip through the first 3 championships without much problem, winning every race.  I was a bit worried that there wouldn’t be any challenge, but then came the first course of championship 4 and my doubts were quashed.  It’s still not an overly challenging game, but as you get further along you’ll have to work harder to earn your keep.  Also, if you’re one of those people that thinks you’re going to save up all your money to buy the best jetski, don’t.  You’ll actually do better if you can keep upgrading to the next model as soon as possible.  Like I said, there’s definitely a difference in how each model behaves, and so far the next model up has always been better at everything.

To control the jetski you’ll use either your iDevice’s tilt mechanism or an on-screen steering wheel, and you then have the option of either controlling the brake or acceleration – the other will be handled automatically for you.  My preferred combination is steering wheel and acceleration.

To successfully navigate each course you must travel around a bunch of buoys, and even with arrows pointing you in the right direction it’s often hard to tell where you need to go.  You earn an X for each missed or incorrectly navigated buoy (you went around the wrong side), and three Xs means you’re disqualified.  I found it rather annoying that you could actually incur an X while trying to correct yourself so you wouldn’t miss a buoy.  I also found it frustrating that it was nearly impossible for you to correct an accidental trip to land.  You just have to wait out the timer, during which you’ve most likely been passed by everyone.

The graphics are good, but I don’t agree with the iTunes description assessment that they are “some of the best” on the device.  There are noticeable clipping issues, and overall it feels like the equivalent of a first generation Playstation 1 engine.  Still, the landscapes are fairly detailed, the water looks cool, and it is pretty nifty watching your guy do stunts as the jetski is flying through the air. As well, the upcoming 1.0.2 update will support Retina Display on the iPhone 4, so I’d expect the visuals to look even better on the device.

The sound effects are decent enough, though some ambience like birds or some sort of background noise would have been nice.  The bit of voice work that crops up from time to time is well done.  The music has that 90′s 16 bit console racing sound that was made famous by companies like SEGA, and it’s a joy to listen to.

For the most part I’m really having fun with Aqua Moto Racing 2.  I’m not real keen on the recovery mechanisms for making a wrong turn, and there’s got to be some way to make it easier to follow the course in some cases.  Still, it’s easy to get lost in the game and want to keep trying races until you get first place.  Now all we need is some way for the your iDevice to spray water in your face and you’d almost feel like you were there.

Note: Resolution Interactive has also released a free lite version of AMR 2.

App Summary
Title: Aqua Moto Racing 2Developer: Resolution Interactive AB
Reviewed Ver:1.0.1Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$2.99App Size:35.26MB
  • Fun, challenging courses
  • Decent controls
  • Nice visuals
  • Slick music
  • Hard to recover from misses
  • Courses sometimes hard to follow

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