Aqua Moto: One of the Best Racers in and out of water

Posted: April 26, 2009 in Racer

Where to begin with Aqua Moto?  This game is fantastic, and you’d be hard pressed to find any other racer, let alone water racer, in the iTunes store that could compete with the polished play, visual PSP-quality animation, and overall depth of Aqua Moto.  I’m not usually a big fan of water racing games, but with Aqua Moto, it really doesn’t matter…you really don’t need to be into water sports to enjoy this unique racer.  The game is downright fun and extremely enjoyable.

Visually, Aqua Moto is lush and beautiful from the competing jet skiers to the surroundings packaged with a catchy soundtrack and sound effects such as splashing water and jet ski engines.  The devs did a number with Aqua Moto in terms of depth by providing seven different championships racing series with a total of 36 racing tracks spanning three eye-popping environments with various levels of difficulty ranging from easy to extremely hard.  The controls are accelerometer/tilt driven which you use for steering and you have two key buttons: brake and boost.  Braking comes in handy more in the later levels, while boost can give you the extra speed needed to either expand your lead or catch up.  You also have red and yellow buoys that you maneuver as well as ski jumps where you can do stunts.  As you pass buoys, you accumulate boost, and if you miss three buoys, you’re automatically out of that race.  Fortunately, there are arrows which guide you along…otherwise, I would be lost.  You have two modes of racing to choose from: Championship and Time Trials.  The Championship mode puts you in the racing circuit starting at Beginner’s Stock and goes up to Pro Open which is the hardest level.  You’ll race against five other opponents that you may be handily beat early on, but believe me, it gets more difficult later on.  Early on as you learn the controls, you’ll make plenty of wide turns and possibly even hit buoys which will send your racer over the side of the jet ski.  As you win races and accumulate enough points to be in the top 3, you move on in difficulty which also unlocks the next levels.  Depending on where you place in each level, you also receive points that can be used to upgrade your jet ski in several areas: Top Speed, Acceleration, Steering and Boost.  These upgrades actually help you gain better control of your jet ski for the later competitions.

In Time Trials, your objective is to beat the course record, and each course must be unlocked first in Championship mode.  One nice feature is that these courses can also be raced in reverse which adds to the replayability.  Back to the point of Boost, there are several stunts within the races involving the ski jump which you can activate by shaking the device as you enter the jump itself.  A menu pops up with six stunts that you can choose from.  It’s actually well integrated into the gameplay so it doesn’t feel strange.  Of course, if you don’t land correctly, you lose all your boost.

The gameplay in Aqua Moto is smooth, exceeding my expectations, and there’s nothing like bumping other riders as you’re barreling through the waterways. The devs included an AI that is challenging because they will give you a handful.  One note of caution: while the Aqua Moto lite version provides a good idea of the controls, it doesn’t do justice for the challenging gameplay found in this full version. Overall, Aqua Moto is beautifully done, and whether or not you’re into water sports, you’ll this enjoy this overachieving racer.

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