How in the world can jet skis compare with Formula One or even muscle car racing? Can a water sport really even dream of making a dent in such a competitive genre? Like an unexpected shot in the dark, Riptide GP 2 takes you by your hands and refuses to let go. iOS lovers craving for a shock to the system will gravitate to this simple, yet intense gaming experience. Beach bums who fear the water need not apply.

Getting acclimated to the controls will literally take seconds, as controlling your high powered bad boy requires the tilting of your respective device. Since your races exist at a near supersonic clip, breaking around turns is almost always mandatory, and those pedals are found on the lower left and right hand section of the screen. For faster acceleration, a power up button, best employed after making an acrobatic ramp jump, is placed on the upper corner of your screen. This is what it looks like when your jet ski is going faster than the speed of light.

If you're a bit dismayed at the look of this rider, his all black attire seen from the title screen, and the following race pic is a customized look done by my hand. I'm in a huge Metallica phase, so cheery colors just wouldn't do. That being said, a rainbow of hues are ready to satiate your distinct palette. As you win your respective races, award money will rack up in your account, and a host of upgradeable items will be at your disposal. Whether it's purchasing an entirely new jet ski, or tricking up your ride with stronger assets, Riptide GP 2 is a customizing dream. This isn't a game that simply flies on water -- hanging at the store and spending your cash is also fun, especially if you're one of the four horseman of the apocalypse.

The pleasures derived from the tilting mechanic and reaching fast speeds would have been enough to grab my attention, but the ability to perform a multitude of mid-air ramp flips places the game at an entirely different level. The electronica soundtrack and the eye catching, metropolis dominated aesthetic of Riptide GP 2 also makes jumping into the great unknown a total high.

The online play is a bit of a crap shoot, as you can expect a slight wait in finding a random competitor. During several attempts at logging on, it took over a minute to find someone to race with and, when the competition was about to start, they had already left the premises. When more players join the fray, this feature should dramatically improve, and since racing in solo mode is always an excellent choice, complaining about lag times is really a first class problem. Eventually you will get to race your jets against a stranger, and when you're shredding water in an ice cave all those quibbles are meaningless.

The world behind Riptide GP 2 is also alluring, and it actually serves as an integral element to the experience. Most background graphics are forgettable, and mainly serve as functional wallpaper to the race at hand. The setting for the title could be in the near future, or somewhere on another planet. What if Philip K. Dick envisioned a city within the waters of Sydney, by way of the visual design of Tokyo? Somewhere, amidst all those skyscrapers and neon billboards, is a hydro jet ski ready for action.

It's amazing to know that for under three bucks, a completely addicting racing title such as Riptide GP 2 exists. To get the full experience, I would suggest giving it a spin on an iPad, as your smart phone won't capture all the dimensions this racer has to offer. I always believed jet skis suited dudes who loved watching Baywatch or ogling bikini clad vixens. This may still be the case, but I'm sure those bozos never imagined a riptide that's back in black.


App Store Link: Riptide GP 2 for iPhone & iPad | By Vector Unit | Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.0.1 | 48.2 MB | Rating: 4+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating