Developer: Dohi Sweden AB
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Aqua Moto Racing - It’s starting to get a little bit crazy how the bar continually keeps getting raised with iPhone games. Right when a stellar game is starting to enjoy the limelight as the new hotness, in comes another new app that raises the stakes. Resolution Interactive AB has done that with it’s new jet ski racer Aqua Moto Racing, a refreshing change of pace from the current slew of racing games blanketing the App Store.
Scope in Aqua Moto Racing is ridiculously deep for being a $3 title. In plowing through the game’s championship campaign, you can unlock 18 tracks (reverse variants essentially bumps that number to 36 tracks) that are split amongst 3 distinct environments.
In the earlier championship circuits, you’ll be able to win 1st place without breaking a sweat. In the later circuits, the courses become much more demanding and the A.I. steps up it’s challenge as well. Winning the circuits — 6 circuits total — gives you points to level up your jet ski by assigning attribute points to top speed, acceleration, steering and boost. All unlocked courses can be played in the game’s additional Time Trial mode to churn out times to compete for a spot in the online leaderboards.
Aqua Moto Racing controls like a dream. Resolution Interactive AB has nailed the feeling of controlling heavy jet skis that are racing on open water. The physics are fair, and it’s really easy to capture the rules of the water in a fairly minimal amount of time. Tilting the iPhone left or right manipulates steering, and on screen buttons control the braking and boost (accumulated speed bursts). To top it off, there are even options to pull off stunts from pressing onscreen buttons as well.
I’m not sure what graphics engine is powering Aqua Moto Racing, but the developers should license it out because it’s incredible. I will not say anything as hyperbolic as PSP-level graphics have finally arrived, but Aqua Moto Racing pushes the needle in that direction in a serious way. The courses are beautifully rendered, the water waves and ripples realistically, environments properly reflect off the water, and it does all of this while maintaining a silky frame rate most of the time.
While Aqua Moto Racing largely gets the job done in every respect, there are a few things that could be tightened up. The championship campaign can get repetitive because the game only has a total of 3 environments. For example, I recall playing courses in the same environment for about 6 or 7 races before I saw something new. Lack of any multiplayer (Local or WIFI) is a glaring omission as well. When the racing feels as good as this, it's a shame that some live competition isn't an option here.
Small quibbles aside, Aqua Moto Racing is in the conversation for the best racer currently available for iPhone. Get it!