Riptide GP review on the Acer Iconia


Mar 22, 2011
I just wanted to share my opinions on Riptide. It's the game that introduced me to the Tegra 2 chip, and got me so excited about the Iconia tablet in the first place, so my expectations were pretty high.

At a dollar less than Bang Bang Racing, it's a bargain. Not only are the graphics far superior, but the control system actually works, unlike Bang Bang Racing.

The game plays like a mesh of WaveRace 64, Hydro Thunder and Wipeout. The characters remind you of Waverace, and the futuristic cities you race through seem like they've been taken from the Wipeout universe (which isn't a complaint). The team that produced this game, also made the Hydro Thunder Hurricane game on the Xbox 360, which is pretty obvious as the water effects were very well done, the environments had a lot going on (with destructible parts and shortcuts), and there is a boost system that takes effect when you do tricks.

The trick system is rather easy. Use your two thumbs on each side of the lower half of the screen of your tablet, and push your thumbs in different directions (up up, left right, up down, etc) while in the air. If you clear the landing, you earn half a bar of boost. If not, you crash. It's very simple, and never feels flawed or broken.

In fact, that's actually something to note. The game is VERY polished. Unlike many mobile games, the game doesn't feel rushed out the gate. For instance, it's literally impossible to turn around in this game and go the opposite direction. However, I was doing a trick that spun my jetski around. Instead of crashing, it registered it as a land, however I was driving the opposite direction. Instead of not being able to turn around and ruining the race, the screen asked for me to tap the screen to re-drop my character back where I was before. In fact, the system knows when you're stuck by hitting a wall, or turning the wrong way, etc.. and is very good at giving you this option (which thankfully you'll rarely have to use other than when you crash from a failed trick).

I played through all of the 250cc courses before I realized you could change the graphics settings. The tablet plays great on default settings, but if you bump the graphics up to the second to the last notch, the resolution of the textures and the models of both the racers and the backgrounds improve considerably, which is amazing as the game already looked great on default settings. I will warn you not to play the game on the very highest of settings, though. While it's slightly better looking (barely), the framerate is a bit more choppy.. just enough to start making you feel a little queasy, which isn't good on a game where you're riding through choppy water, and bouncing up and down all the time.

The controls for racing are very simple. If you touch on the lower half of the screen with one finger, you brake. Otherwise, you're always accelerating. There is an option to use a button on the right to accelerate, but it's honestly pointless. Even later in the game when the pace quickens considerably, you never need to even brake. If you are good enough and know the courses or have good reaction skills, you'll always want to be going full speed anyway.

There are a slew of racers you have at your disposal, and like the tracks, can be unlocked as you play through the many gameplay modes in the game. Racers' stats are comprised of three catagories; acceleration, top speed and handling. Acceleration seems to be the most important in this game, as if you hit the side of any wall or rider, or even hop too much from waves, it can slow you don't just enough for other racers to start to slowly pass you. Top speed is fairly important (the yellow jetski has horrible top speed and is not an easy rider to race as), however I noticed very little difference in the handling between any of the characters. Not enough at least to make it more important than acceleration and top speed.

The courses are gorgeous. Graphically, everything from the riders, to the water, to the environments themselves are stunning. I'm talking PSN/XBL download title quality here. The water moves fairly realistically, and groves are made from racers ahead of you that you can ride in (very similar to Sega Rally Revo). If you splash hard from a high jump, a realistic spray splashes around you, and the texture of the water changes as well. It's very well done and quite convincing. The backgrounds are very high quality as well, and make other Android games look almost archaic. Buildings have bump mapping to them, real time lighting, and have highly detailed architecture and textures. The environments are also all completely different. The courses feel unique, and don't feel repetitious (like Need for Speed Shift for instance). There are even nice looking clouds, blimps, trees, etc all around you to fight for your attention.

Short cuts are often opened up on the 2nd or 3rd lap. Sometimes its the same shortcut you saw on lap 2, just further opened. This reminded me of WaveRace 64, where the course would change depending on either what mode you played on or what lap you were on.

The game has several game modes. There's a championship mode that has you race against progressively harder groups of tracks/racers. There's also hot lap (time trial) and race (single race), along with your typical settings and OpenFeint areas. The game keeps you entertained, and even when you beat a mode, the game doesn't feel like replay value is gone like many other racers. It's simply fun to jump in and play a round. The progressive difficulty also make the game have tremendous replay value. 250cc is very easy. It feels like a Sunday drive, but it does allow you to get used to control and the course layouts. 500cc is where it gets competitive. The first few tracks you play, you will not get 1st place in. However, after a handful of races, you'll start to truly feel the potential of the game, and start to learn how to really race. The mode gets easier and easier until gold medals are almost a given. 1000cc is hard mode, and it is very unforgiving, however not to the point where the AI feels cheap. In fact, the game as a whole feels very balanced and doesn't have a problem at all with rubberbanding effects found in games like Mario Kart.

OpenFeint works very well, and has subtle pop ups on the bottom of the screen to show earned achievements. Unlike many games, there are tons to obtain here. It really feels like the developer thought of many ways to keep you trying to improve your skills for these achievements. You can even earn points for sitting through the credits.. how nice. Points are uploaded to the leaderboards automatically, and if you're good (like yours truly), you'll see your name right there on the top of the boards. If not, it will show your score anyway on the top, so you can compare your score to the best of the best out there. One thing to remember, it will give you a generic number ID if you don't make one ahead of time. I'd heartily suggest you set up a screen name if you dont already have one before you play the game. If you change it later, like I did, it will NOT change your name on your old lap times. So in essence, it will look like two different people had two different scores. This is a minor quip but to be fair, it really wasn't the developer's fault so much as OpenFeint's.

So for under 7 dollars, this game is a steal. It'l be a game you'll want to show off to your friends AND play when you're by yourself. The different difficulties allow you to truly extend the replay value of the game, and the course and rider selection should keep you entertained for a very long time. This isn't your typical Android mobile game. No where does this feel like a 5 minute gameplay offering that you only spend 99 cents on. And while $6.99 might seem expensive for a mobile game, for a portable game with these graphics, or a downloadable title from PSN or XBL, this is still a steal. On top of this, you can play for a very long time without really affecting your battery life badly, which is amazing considering how much this is probably taxing the graphics chip.

In short, go buy the game, you won't be disappointed. Enjoy!
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Half Colin

May 10, 2011
For the ultimate experience you have to play this over HDMI into a 47in LED TV!!!

It really blows you mind.


May 23, 2011
Cool, thanks for the review. Hydro Thunder was my favorite game way back when I had a Dreamcast.

Sent from my A500 using Android Tablet Forum


May 18, 2011
Totally AGREE. I played it, it definitely not fun and i'll not addict to it and already boring after the first game.