Posted: March 7, 2014
Boat racing? Vector Unit? Count me in!
Vector Unit, the developer behind this game, are responsible for the very excellent XBLA game, Hydro Thunder Hurricane. If you're a boat racing fan, be sure to check that one out. It's on Windows 8 for PC and XBLA for Xbox 360, of course.
This was a mobile game, and you can tell in some places, but it's a very, very good PC port. It has everything you need. Plenty of graphics options, automatic controller/keyboard support, all that stuff.
The mobile stuff (optional auto-acceleration feature) is in there, but it's fine.
The graphics have been enhanced from the mobile version, and they look really good. If you haven't played the original version, then you'll be in for a treat. The art is fantastic, as in every VU game.
The music... It's beautiful! There are a couple of tracks I don't care for, but there are a few more I just absolutely adore.
VU, I want a soundtrack to buy!
It's kind of modern sounding. Not really dubstep, but close to it. I hate dubstep, though, so that's kind of odd. It's just really nice to listen to. For me, at least.
There are 12 tracks, and they all have a unique theme. Pretty to look at, but you don't have much time for that in this game.
It's extremely fast-paced. Stop for a second and you're going to lose.
There are a few shortcuts/alternate routes on (some of?) the tracks, but they're not the main point of the game. If that's what you love about boat racing/Hydro Thunder, then you won't really find much here.
But no, one of the main points of the game is to memorize and pull off cool stunts in the air to gain boost to go faster and beat your opponents. (In some cases, the clock is the opponent as well)
There is a TON of customization for your boats. Basic stuff like paint, upgrades, etc, but still, quite a bit of customization. So if you're into that, then I can assure you, it's on full display here.
The career mode is simple. You just play the various events, try to do your best, earn 1-3 stars per event, and use those stars to unlock further events to complete your career.
There's a time trial mode, and if you are a big nut for that kind of thing (like myself) then this game will offer endless replay value for you. Gotta keep trying to shave off a hundredth of a second here, another hundredth of a second there, and so on...
There's also split/screen multiplayer for up to 4 players! That's a fantastic feature that virtually no PC games have anymore. (I think) it only allows controllers in split/screen mode, though, so be prepared to gather up all your controllers, heh.
The online multiplayer is fun. I hope a lot of people end up buying this game, because we need to have more consistently full (6 player) matches! 1v1 can be fun but that's not how I want to play online boat racing. :(
Last, but not least, we have the controls...
They're OK. I'm used to games like Hydro Thunder, Split/Second, Burnout, and so on. The controls in this game aren't quite as... tight? responsive? as you're probably used to. You just have to hold down a bit longer than most games to get a tight turn. The track design plays OK with this kind of control, though, so it's pretty much all good. The main thing is just you, yourself, getting used to the controls. After you do that, they're fine.
Overall, I'd say 8.5/10. It's boat racing with a huge emphasis on tricks and boost, not too much else. Made originally for mobile devices, so it's not a very complex game with crazy twists and turns and huge variety, BUT it's still a very good game. Well made, fun to play for a while (especially if you like multiplayer or time trialing), and so on.
The game has a nice style and charm to it, but I'm a huge boat racing fan so I may be biased. You'll have to try it for yourself.
For $10 dollars ($7 during launch week) I consider it a steal, but that's just me.
I can't wait to see Vector Unit's next game! :)