Bouncing across the waves.
Publisher Zordix want to embrace the glorious summer by releasing Aqua Moto Racing 3D onto the ever more impressive Nintendo eShop for the 3DS. Make room for some sun-drenched Jetski racing on your Nintendo handheld and prepare to get wet.
So, what exactly would you expect from an arcade Jetski game? Well, you would expect races across a variety of different water-based tracks against increasingly competent opponents. You might expect some ramps and jumping on the Jetski, maybe pulling off some tricks. And you may even hope for some new Jetskis that can be unlocked and bought in the game. Well, the good news is that Aqua Moto Racing 3D has all of these expectations covered.
The main chunk of the game comes down to the Championship mode which also happens to allow the player to unlock courses for use in the Quick Race mode. But Championship sees some six different tournaments to work through, with three courses to be found in each.
The racing itself has the player bobbing along on the waves as they hurtle past flagged buoys that mark out the course. The buoys have to be passed either to the right or left, depending on the colour, making the courses more of a slalom than a straight up circuit race. Whilst this certainly adds a bit more challenge to the game, it can sometimes be quite difficult to actually spot the next buoy as the player zips along, especially when there are a cluster of other racers all trying to negotiate the same buoy. Fortunately there is an arrow that hovers at the top of the screen and points the way, which is of some help.
The water physics and the effect of riding a floating motorbike across waves at high speed is quite well recreated in the game. Different courses will have different levels of calmness to the sea, and some of the more violent waves will can cause problems for the player, especially when making tight turns. As the player progresses and the races become faster, the effect of the waves does become less.
Through the races, the player will find themselves picking up cash that can be used for upgrades down the line, and they will also have the chance to get some air from the conveniently placed ramps and even pull some tricks. The tricks are assigned to the directional button, and also appear as quick buttons on the lower 3DS screen when the player hits the ramp. The tricks come in different difficulties which require longer in the air according to how difficult the trick is.
These tricks, which are very easy to attempt using the touch screen, are also one of the ways to gain boost in the game. Filling the boost meter by successfully landing tricks or negotiating the buoys precisely will reward the player with a quick boost that is both very satisfying and essential later in the game when the opponents become more troublesome.
Visually, there is only so much that you can do with a Jetski racing game. There is a lot of water, and it looks fine on the handheld. The backdrops are also okay to look at, with some variation in looks depending on the location. Turning on the 3D effect doesn’t really do the game any favours sadly. The framerate drops and things just get a little too uncomfortable on the eyes.
A nice addition to the game, especially considering the lack of any online mode, is the download play, allowing the player to enjoy some Jetski-based fun with friends. It is nothing outstanding, but will provide some laughs.
At the end of the day, Aqua Moto Racing 3D does exactly what you would expect. It is a game in which the player races around on a Jetski. It is simple to pick up and play, and a surprising amount of fun. There is a fair amount to do in the game, but very little by way of variety. If Jetski racing is your thing, then give your Nintendo handheld some summer love by grabbing Aqua Moto Racing 3D.