When the original Aqua Moto Racing [$1.99 / Free] came out in March of last year, we thought Resolution Interactive was really on to something in our review. The original is a really great racing game with graphics that we described as "unbelievable" at the time. Going back and looking at the original review, even as incredibly positive as it was, I can confidently say that Aqua Moto Racing 2 [$4.99 / Free] is even better than its predecessor.
As mentioned in our recent hands-on preview, the most immediate change you will notice is the implementation of a fantastic dynamic water system. Aqua Moto provided for some great arcade style wave-runner action, but all of the water you were racing on was woefully calm. In the sequel, there are waves to deal with everywhere, swells of water that will either make or break a huge jump, and inconvenient bumps that come from out of nowhere as you're trying to make it around a tight corner. This new wave system adds so much to the game that going back and forth from Aqua Moto and Aqua Moto 2 feels like more than a difference of just a simple sequel, and instead seems like a leap between generations of game consoles.
The cornerstone of the single player game is definitely championship mode, where you will find yourself racing through all of the different courses included in the game through difficulties ranging from beginner to pro. Along the way you'll earn money which is used to buy new wave-runners, each providing a significant performance boost over the last. The individual race tracks take place in three different aquatic environments, but the tracks themselves are made out buoys that racers need to either pass on the right of left and a healthy assortment of ramps to get tons of air off of. Each of the tracks feel unique enough that you never feel like you're really racing the same races over and over, and it's surprising how much variation the developers have managed to put in to a game that really only has three settings that everything takes place in.
As you unlock tracks in championship mode, you're able to race them in quick race mode, as well as compete in OpenFeint powered online leaderboards and challenges with other places. In the OpenFeint department there's also a load of achievements that range from racing precisely or aggressively, pulling awesome stunts, winning races, and other categories. Tracks are also eventually able to be raced in mirror mode, providing even more replay value.
Several control options are included. By default, you steer with a virtual steering wheel in the bottom left corner and accelerate using a button on the right. Alternatively, you can let the game handle acceleration by itself which replaces the accelerator with a brake pedal and if you prefer, you can control the game by tilting as well. Oddly enough, there's no option for both manual acceleration and braking.
Aqua Moto 2 has a stunt system which can be activated in air by flicking your device, or automatically if you're boosting over a jump. With stunt mode engaged the game slows down and you can perform stunts by pressing buttons which frame the screen. The camera then pans out, and you watch your dude do his trick (and hopefully land it). Both the automatic stunt mode and stunt camera can be disabled in the options, and it didn't take me long before unchecking both boxes because stunting can cause considerable problems, especially in close races and tight tracks.
In every mention of both Aqua Moto Racing and Aqua Moto Racing 2 we've made comparisons to Wave Race 64, and this sequel is getting even closer to Wave Race perfection. I highly recommend at least downloading the lite version of the game to check out the cool new dynamic water system, and from there, I doubt it will be much of a leap for most people to download the full version.