Vector Unit launched its rocket-powered hydro jets racing experience onto PS4 in 2016 with an almighty splash. It’s now Nintendo Switch’s turn as Riptide GP: Renegade douses you in high-octane racing, twists and turns. You’re given a deep and compelling single player mode, boss battles, deep waters and even some badass cops entering the action – what’s not to like?
Your aim in Riptide GP: Renegade is to work your way up the ranks by taking part in illegal racing, bagging cash and pulling off death defying stunts along the way. There is a balanced and well thought-out structure to Riptide GP: Renegade’s single player mode, which makes the game very rewarding to stick with. You need to earn credits to upgrade each hydro jet, with new jets being unlocked via the campaign, and also to buy complex stunts. There is also a handicap system in place restricting your racer. So if you over pimp a hydro jet making it too powerful for a selected race then plates will be added to slow your ride down. This means Riptide GP: Renegade becomes a skill based racer and one that pushes you into taking more risks to achieve greatness.
Riptide GP: Renegade serves up 4 different categories of races. These being Slalom, Elimination, Freestyle and a standard ‘first past the chequered flag’ race. There is also split-screen 4 player multi-player, online leaderboards and ghost racing challenges. As well as each hydro jet looking slick, sexy and fast they have the ability to perform tricks. If landed correctly tricks will fill your boost bar. Standard tricks while easy to perform, will only give small spurts of boost, whereas executing the harder, unlocked tricks will give a bigger wallop to your boost bar. Get enough air and you can some pull off some sick moves like Back Scratcher and Inverted Pizza. Remembering which sequence of right and left toggle stick to move is the key to nailing such mammoth stunts, but once you’re in the swing of things such moves flow out. You’ll need to buy and perform these outrageous moves or you’ll have difficulty progressing in the freestyle events, as stringing stunts together racks up the points and tames your ego. There are also side quests that unlock stickers and a chance to earn more credits. There’s definitely a lot going on in Renegade.
The races themselves are super fun; and part of this is down to each track visually throwing out outlandish and eye popping futuristic backdrops. The the other part is the lifelike physics of the water movement. Even played in handheld mode digital water has never looked so wet. Each of the tracks look and flow different to others. The Ruins has some deep and angry currents to deal with while Firewater displays a hot and fiery land. And Downtown Rush shows off some of the most varied environments I’ve seen in one race.
Control wise that right index finger does get a good stretchy workout. Playing on the Pro Controller is always going to feel that bit better. Well at £60 a pop, it should right?
Riptide GP: Renegade loves its huge waterfall jumps, as you’ll discover. Some tracks have shortcuts and other let you shave off seconds by experimenting with different racing lines. There’s really so much to love about Renegade and its arcade feel. You’re looking at an attractive racer too, and because of this you may find yourself skipping past the story and wanting to dip straight into the next race. But at least the developers have tried to further enhance the overall experience by way of an explanation as to why you’re there on the waters. Another hit or miss option is the inclusion of the cops. They arrive and try to spoil the fun. These eager boys in blue wet-suits harass you big time, and can be the difference between winning or losing a race. They’ll try and slow you down or force you into mistakes that might see you smashing head first into a bridge or being wiped out as you fling yourself into a tree stump.
There are some super looking racers on the Nintendo Switch eStore; Fast RMX, The Next Penelope and Mantis Burn Racing have been my starting points when I’m wanting some instant fast racing thrills. Now I can happily add Riptide GP: Renegade to that list.
Riptide GP: Renegade bangs out a slick water ride packed with content and an addictive single play structure. North Californian developers Vector Unit have done the Nintendo Switch proud. If you’re looking for a new racer to dip into then suit up, Riptide GP: Renegade is the one.
Lizard Rating 8.5/10
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