Watercraft racers are the wildest and most challenging racing games, and Aqua Moto Racing 2 is no exception.
As you power around the exotic aquatic courses you’ll find yourself getting into tussles with your fellow racers, marooning yourself on the shore, and wiping out after attempting overly ambitious stunts.
But as you get to grips with the game you’ll enjoy the immense satisfaction of drifting around the buoys, holding the perfect racing line, executing difficult stunts with time to spare, and taking gold.
Your goal in every race is to finish first, or as close to it as possible. Each race consists of three laps, on circuits delineated by buoys carrying directional flags. Yellow means pass on the left, red on the right. If you pass on the wrong side three times, you’re out.
The courses also contain bags and chests full of cash, as well as ramps. Whenever you jump from one of these ramps you’ll be given the choice of six different stunts to execute, two of them hard, two medium, and two easy. The harder the stunt, the more cash you get.
You spend all this cash you collect on a series of increasingly powerful watercraft, which are necessary to defeat the increasingly powerful opponents as you progress through the Career mode, cup by cup.
It’s not all about vehicle power though. There’s also your boost meter, which gradually fills up until you’re able to unleash a burst of extra speed – an often decisive factor in tight races.
The way you fill up your boost meter is ingenious. As in the classic PS2 racer Burnout 2, you’re rewarded for passing close to danger – in this case buoys. Hitting a buoy will stop you in your tracks, while passing on the wrong side will cost you a penalty point. But passing just on the right side will top up your boost meter, encouraging you to take risks.
Beyond the sheer joy that comes from mastering the handling of an insane waterborne vehicle, this constant risk-reward calculation is the core of Aqua Moto Racing 2’s appeal.
Outside the Career mode, which sees you working your way up through a series of cups in three equally glamorous locations — Egypt, the Tropics, and Greece — there’s the single race mode.
Here you get to race on any of the tracks you’ve unlocked through playing in cups, but with the added bonus of being able to customise the experience significantly. You can choose how many opponents to have, what the difficulty is like, how many laps you’ll do, and even whether or not you’ll be racing in a thunderstorm.
Once you’ve unlocked every track you’ll also be able to mirror a track, effectively doubling the selection on offer.
Aqua Moto Racing 2 well worth a spin
Elsewhere in the options you can change the controls from auto-accelerate to auto-brake, and from touch to accelerometer controls.
These individual tracks are fun to dip into, but Aqua Moto Racing 2 is at its best when you’re striving to unlock new cups in the Career mode. Either way, the racing is fun and well-presented, with gorgeous water effects and an authentically arcadey soundtrack.
There are a couple of things missing — specifically, some more modes would have been nice and it’s always better when a racing game includes multiplayer — but if you’re in the market for a slice of challenging, well-honed arcade action you could do much worse.
An aquatic thrill ride
A fun, fresh, and feature-packed aquatic racer that's well worth a punt.