I've never been a huge fan of racing games, but there's always been something about Hydro Thunder that captivated me. As a teen, it was one of my favorite games, and I've kept up with the franchise as much as possible over the last several years. Naturally, this means I've spent a more-than-ample amount of time playing Riptide GP, the mobile-equivalent to Hydro Thunder.

The first Riptide was one of my favorite games to emerge from the Tegra 2 era, and Vector Unit maintained fantastic support over the past two years, even updating it to support enhanced graphics on the Tegra 3 chip. Riptide's sequel is now available (as of today), and it doesn't just build upon what the original started, it also brings an incredible amount of new customizations, tricks, tracks, racing types, and more.


Graphics and Gameplay

I was able to test Riptide GP 2 on multiple devices: non-Tegra (ASUS Memo Pad 7), Tegra 3 (Nexus 7), and Tegra 4 (SHIELD). I'm happy to report that the graphics are absolutely stunning on all three devices (especially when compared to the original Riptide), though the Tegra 3/4 optimizations definitely stand out when compared to the non-Tegra version.

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When it comes to graphics – and for that matter, gameplay – GP 2 is familiar, but also a whole new experience. With the original Riptide, you raced, earned new hydro skis, and raced some more. It was quite simple. With GP2, it's a whole new world – there are more types of races, loads of customizations, new jetskis, and paint choices. There are three types of races in GP 2: standard race, which is exactly what it sounds like; elimination, where the racer in last place gets eliminated every 15 seconds; and hot lap, a solo race where you have to complete a single lap as quickly as possible. Each one is fun on its own merits, and the changeup adds a bit of flavor over race-after-race-after-race. There's also all-new online play, but since I was testing a pre-release version of the game I wasn't able to give it a try (because there was no one to play with!).

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While the graphics are fantastic and the features a-plenty, there's one more thing about GP 2 that is immediately noticeable: it's far more difficult. That's actually a breath of fresh air, as it was almost nothing to get first place on every race in the first GP. Even the "hard" tracks were pretty easy. That's not the case with GP 2, as the computer racers actually offer a challenge, the skis start off with less-than-spectacular specs (which is why you upgrade them – more on that below), and each track offers something new. I love it.

Like the original, GP 2 has three different control schemes: tilt, on-screen buttons, and game controller. Tilt is the default option, but if you have a controller connected (or are using SHIELD), it automatically detects that and switches schemes. If you prefer touch controls, there are two to choose from: A, where you touch the sides of the screen to steer; or B, where virtual controls are placed at the bottom. All the control schemes work well, so just go with what feels the most natural to you.

GP 2 also features Google Games integration, so you'll be able to pick up where you left off regardless of how many devices you have.

Upgrades, Customizations, and IAPs


Unlike with its predecessor, you don't just earn new jet skis in GP 2, you must buy them with money that you earn from racing. Like with most games of this nature, the higher you place, the more dough you make. You can also do the same races multiple times to get more money and experience. Speaking of, did I mention that you can level up in this one? Yep, and each level gets you one skill point so you can "learn" new tricks – the more difficult the trick is to land, the more boost it gets you.

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And there's your jet ski. Naturally, you start off with the worst possible piece of kit and you have to place in races to get money and upgrade it. The upgrade process isn't unreasonable – you can start enhancing top speed, handling, acceleration, and boost almost immediately. Given how terrible the hydrocraft handles right out of the gate, I opted to improve in that area first, but you could always just go for pure speed and hope for the best.

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It's not just about practical upgrades, however – you can also define the color scheme if your ski. This feature is actually free of both in-game and physical currency, so feel free to change it often. It's a rather basic setup: you select three different colors for accent, primary, and secondary colors, and it changes everything automatically. Overall, that's just a really nice touch that I'm glad Vector Unit decided to toss in. Everyone loves customization!

Of course, you don't have to keep the same jet ski the entire game – there are seven others to choose from, ranging from $25k to $300k of in-game currency. The latter will take a lot of first-place races to get, so naturally, there's an easy way out: in-app purchases. You can buy different levels of in-game currency for real money; packages range from $50k for $1.99 to $5m for $99. If you're willing to spend nearly $100 for in-game currency, however, you have entirely too much money and we should become friends.


Honestly, I found the IAPs to be extremely reasonable. After three days of casual play, I'm a level six, have been upgrading my initial ski along the way, and have still managed to collect another $21k in winnings. Let me put it this way: if you actually enjoy playing the game, then there should be absolutely no reason to ever buy any additional in-game currency (unless you just want to), because it can easily be earned by racing. At no point have I felt like I need to spend real money to upgrade my ski (or buy a new one), because the game itself provides a very reasonable amount of funds, and the races, while challenging, aren't so difficult that there's a need to pay real money to upgrade.



I've been excited for Riptide GP 2 since we first heard about it back at CES this year, and it easily surpassed my every expectation. The gameplay is faster and more challenging, a slew of new features and goals have been added, and it's just overall more fun than its predecessor. My final verdict is this: if you love the original, then this GP 2 is a no-brainer. If you like racing games with a good challenge and no over-the-top IAPs, then GP 2 fits the bill perfectly. If you just happen to like fun, then GP 2 delivers.

Basically, either way you go it's easily worth the $3 asking price.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • sourabh

    Why vector unit? Why IAP in such an amazing game?

    • Ray Sunghwa Woo

      I'm thinking that the difficulty is set just right to play without buying the gold like the first one. I loved the first one until I upgraded my rom without backing up this game. I'll probably try this one as well in the future after I finish some of games I have now lol

    • Matt Small

      Hi! This is Matt Small from Vector Unit. We realize IAP are not for everyone. But the fact is, for every person that hates 'em, there's another person who loves 'em. As Cameron points out, however, we designed the game so that there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to buy IAP if you don't want to. Every single thing in the game is available to people who just want to play. The IAP are there if you get impatient, that's it. In fact, earning upgrades by playing (instead of paying) gives you a competitive advantage because you'll level up your character and your stunts, which you can't improve with IAP. Hope this answers your question.

      • naysayer

        Another question? Why $3 for Pay to Win? This is bad for the players who just wanted to play a game and not pay or suffer. And it's bad for you because some people won't download a Pay to Win game that isn't free which means you're actually losing customers. This pricing scheme is ridiculous. I won't be surprised if your company goes belly up in the next months.

        Either let gamers pay up front or trick them into paying for something that appeared to be free of charge. But please do not trick people into paying for something they already payed for. It's both dumb and underhand.

        • Mr E

          People get so upset over IAPs. I don't care at all about them as long as they're not in-your-face. Heck, if someone wants to fork over money just so they don't have to actually play the game, fine, it's more money to the devs.

          • naysayer

            Right, but game makers have an incentive to design a game in a way that as many as possible fork over because they don't want to play the game. In other words: Make the game addicting but so tedious, that many people will pay you so they don't have to waste time. Zynga's success is build on that model. It also shows the downside: Devs are becoming overly greedy, games overly tedious and the business model collapses. I fear that Vector Unit might be in for a bad surprise, especially with their risky plan to sell something for $3 which should be free for the business model to succeed.

          • BrianIUP

            But that's what cheat codes used to be, why did we allow game makers to monetize things we always got for free?

            Costumes and cheat codes should never be paid for, it's insane.

            (But obviously when cheats are on they shouldn't be used online or to get achievements)

        • Christopher Lee

          Your username suits you. Judging by the review up top, this hardly seems to be a pay to win title, and there's a large class of gamers out there who don't really care about online multiplayer. I don't really see a trick here based on the available information: the game is perfectly playable at $2.99 and like previous games, if you're bored and want to "cheat" you can. It just happens that this generation of games can be "cheated" by paying instead of with a Gameshark.

          You're pretty clearly in the "IAP are devil's spawn" camp if you're naysaying this game that, at least from AP's perspective, is perfectly playable out of the gate.

          • naysayer

            Reviews on blogs like AP are always very cheery. I wouldn't count on such statements.

          • Christopher Lee

            In which case, why bother reading the review (or the site)? If you don't trust the author of a review, then there's terribly little point to you trolling the comments.

            Nor, of course, do you have an actual answer for any of the reasons that this isn't a pay-to-win title (or, more importantly, if that matters in the context of this game). Not surprised though, since it's unlikely you bought it to begin with (or found an opinion on).

          • Mothreja Jay

            True Story. ;)

          • Mothreja Jay

            This is Vector Unit we are taking about. Did they disappoint us Riptide GP, Shine Runner or Beach Buggy Blitz (it's completely free, you don't need IAPs.) The obvious answer, nope. These guys are amazing, so man up and shut up. Try the game and then we can speak about those IAPs.

        • Mothreja Jay

          Seriously bro. If you want true games instead of crap, pay upfront. Otherwise, stick to those stupid flying birds of yours!!!

      • Mothreja Jay

        Yeah, true. More stunts = more boast = more speed. Dat extra boast + dat extra speed = winner (you, if you didn't buy your way out!) XD

  • Samsung Fanboy

    gonna buy this right now. hope its much better than the first which was nice but became boring after a while.

    • Jonathan

      >but became boring immediately.


  • http://papped.webatu.com papped

    Would have bought it if the game was paid without the IAP cash... I'd rather pay $5-10 upfront...

    • Ray Sunghwa Woo

      I'm not much fan of IAP either, but this game I think is different than other heavily oriented with IAP. If you have to buy "gem" to buy a jet ski, or level up then maybe... here you can still do everything without ever spending actually money.

      • http://papped.webatu.com papped

        Going to wait and see until the dust settles... People leave reviews within an hour or less of buying the game in the beginning, which is why I don't trust most of the reviews on Google Play until it's been a while.

      • http://papped.webatu.com papped

        Also MP + cash shop still creates an issue...

    • Mr E

      I would far rather pay $2.99 and just play my way through the game. It doesn't bother me in the slightest if someone wants to dump $10 or more to get a new paintjob on their digital jetski.

      • http://papped.webatu.com papped

        You're assuming the IAP benefits are only cosmetic and single player based...

        • Mr E

          That's true, but I should admit that I'm very unlikely to play multiplayer here anyway. If that's important to you, I can see how it could be annoying.
          Beyond that though, I'd rather earn upgrades through playing (grinding) like the good old days rather than paying more money, but it's fine by me if others just want to buy all the upgrades. Unfortunately, a lot of devs make the upgrades extra-hard to reach, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt here.

          • Jonathan Figueroa

            Exactly what I was getting at. I play for the multiplayer component. And I've seen games like Modern Combat, Zenonia and others have their multiplayer element weakened by IAP. Once in awhile you get a awesome match and have a great time. Most of the time you get the people who paid for mass in game currency though IAP or hacked the game and they just destroy you and ruin the experience. I see this game going that route also.

    • Mothreja Jay

      Yeah, I bought the game, it's really awesome! A true racer doesn't require IAPs, and you don't need to grind the game to earn cash, it totally depends on your skill level. Considering I put countless hours in the original over past two years, grinding is out of the option, just pure fun awaits. Also, more content is coming with updates and it will be free. ;)

      • http://papped.webatu.com papped

        "Also, more content is coming with updates and it will be free. ;)"

        Where'd you get that from? I don't see that on Google Play, or even the vector unit site...

  • Nonsense!

    We used to play games to gain ranks and rewards. Now you can spend money and buy those ranks and rewards, instantly killing the game.

    IAP - gotta love 'em

    • Mr E

      welcome to life

    • Mothreja Jay

      Tha'ts why IAPs are only for them casual "gamers" who spend time flicking birds.

  • Jonathan Figueroa

    It's all good till someone forks over $100 (it'll happen), buys the best of everything in the game and dominates the online racing portion for 6 months till the people who actually earn the upgrades can earn enough to actually be competitive. Oh I love the enjoyment IAP adds to a game. :'(

    • Matt Small

      Please play the game before you judge. It's not that hard to earn the money by playing the game.

      • Jonathan Figueroa

        Never said it was hard to earn money. Just saying that by the writers review that in 3 days he got 21,000 in spare cash plus upgrades. In 5mins someone can have 5,000,000 in spare cash. It will take the writer 2-3 months to earn that much if he continues to play it everyday. Which I doubt anyone would so realistically it'll be 6 months to earn it. Just proving a point. It's still most likely an amazing game but IAP can hurt it more than it helps it.

        • Mr E

          Does it matter what other people have? To be honest, I'm all for people throwing money at a game if they want to, as long as I'm free to avoid the IAPs. It just means more profit for the developer that I don't have to pay.

          • http://papped.webatu.com papped

            In a multiplayer racing game? Yeah, it does....

          • Mr E

            I thought I missed it, but the review glosses over the MP with one sentence. Can you actually race against others here, or is it all just leaderboards? Personally, I won't get too invested into an MP racing game, especially on a mobile device, as someone could just as easily "pay to win" by buying a hardware controller, etc.

          • Funem

            Hardware controller doesn't really make it any easier to win its still skill, but if someone can buy the best jet ski and top out all the specs it will not be much fun for everyone else who is still playing the game to progress. I say you should have the option to select / deselect people who have paid IAP's to progress, maybe two different leader boards and a joint leader board. MP is a big selling point to this version of the game over the first one and that why people are a bit miffed at people being able to top the leader boards and beat them in races because they just paid to do so.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

            Yes, you can actually race against others online. Sorry I couldn't try it out for the review.

          • Mothreja Jay

            Never mind, I'll do it for you! XD

    • Mothreja Jay

      On the bright side, it would be challenging!!! And that someone's gonna get his butt kicked to the skies. True Gamers can handle anything, cuz they don't cheat, as they are made up of pure skill.

    • AkumajoBelmont

      Simple solution - Only play with your friends. That way you weed out the dickheads AND avoid the people who happened to drop $99 on that IAP.

      Sucks if you don't have friends though...

  • Sarath Chandra

    I was considering to buy the RIPTIDE GP. (I had tried Beach Buggy Blitz from the same developer and was disappointed.) And now, before I bought the first one, the sequel also has been released. Can anyone suggest which one would be a better purchase ??

    • Bradley Ruiz

      2nd one better gameplay and multiplayer
      Like Cameron said in the article the first one was good but it was just race, win a new ski and repeat

  • naysayer

    $3 For Pay to Win? That's a bit much! I was looking forward to RGP2, but it feels like a major ripoff.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      I don't think you know what "pay to win" actually means.

      • naysayer

        The term is pretty straightforward. I don't think you know what it means. Otherwise you wouldn't write this. Of course we can argue all day, if it is really *necessary* to pay for this game in order to "win" it, but since you can pay to win (!) the chance is high that for the average player this is pretty much a must. Either pay or never unlock certain models (which means no success in online multiplayer).

        • Matt Small

          Naysayer - please actually play the game before passing judgement. We took great pains in designing the game so it is NOT a pay to win multiplayer experience. IAP just help the progress go faster. If you're willing to put 5-6 hours of dedicated play into the game, you'll be competitive online against the best players, without having to pay a dime for IAP.

        • Krzysztof Jozwik

          Looks more like "Pay to get in game money which can be earned anyways" and by doing so you're limiting your actual skill in the game since lots of practice makes you better, not worse in most games. Getting a top end craft without the practice of earning it will probably put you at a disadvantage.

  • Bradley Ruiz

    My kid and I loved the first one, this one was an easy buy, might actually enjoy racing using multiplayer my kid using his N7 and me using my SGS3, the race is on :)

  • เกรียนเทพ ดี อันลิมิเตด

    I don't know but IAP of this level won't kill the game.

  • Funem

    Been playing it since it hit the play store, literally (F5 Refresh, F5 Refresh... its here ..... install) Job well done deeper game, more options and better tracks, and then there is the graphics, top notch on my Galaxy S3 and Nexus 7.. fantastic. Nice upgrade from the first version... one question, what's the coming soon ? Build your own tracks ? design your own race/cup ? Well worth the wait. Next on my list, after some practice is a multiplayer game:)

  • Funem

    Why not make it so that you can specify to include / not include people who have made IAP's from an online game you want to play or an option for level playing field in the matchup.
    I agree that being able to pay to upgrade take the fun away from online play with random people. If you have leader boards it would be nice to see who hasn't paid IAP's to play.

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      That would discourage the dev getting more money since it would discourage IAP's.

  • solbin

    How much space does this game take up? It says its 46MB on the play store. Surely it is more than that.

    • Phill_S

      It didnt download anything after the initial install as far as I noticed.

  • awais

    What noticeable differences do you see in graphics with tegra vs non tegra devices ? Motion blur and splashes etc?

  • David Anderton

    Great but no jet ski game will ever come close to wave race 64

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

    I honestly can't believe all the controversy over the IAPs. It's simple, guys: if you don't want to use the IAPs, then don't. They're not necessary. Playing the game not only gets you skill, but also all the in-game money you could possibly need. There's really nothing more to it - it doesn't matter if someone buys $100 in IAPs in gets the best ski in the store, if you actually play it, you'll still come out on top (if you don't just flat out suck at racing, that is).

    • Mothreja Jay

      LOL!!! Yeah, it's THAT simple! Good Gamers don't need IAPs.

    • Funem

      Eventually there will be a level online playing field as gamers will accumulate money playing the game to buy upgrades, BUT until that happens any online play will be stilted towards those who use IAP's to boost their ride. those who play online will be affected. IAP boosted players will be able to accelerate faster and for longer and will have a higher top speed, so in the beginning it does matter. Online multilayer is a big selling point of the game, if it gets bad press at the beginning it may stop people buying it for that reason.

  • Adrian Meredith

    Sounds great! Any chance of getting an opengl es 3 optimised version?? This game could be a great showcase of android 4.3.

  • someone755

    Do we get a comparison between Tegra3 and Tegra4? Are there any differences at all?
    Also, why have IAPs when you have to BUY the game?