A Game Review by Greg Dabkey
Game – Aqua Moto Racing 3D
Version – 3DS eShop
ESRB Rating: ‘E’ – Everyone
Release Date: 8/11/2013
Obtained – Courtesy of Zordix
Experience the thrill of high-powered watercraft, neck-breaking stunts and hitting some major air in the third dimension.
Gameplay & Controls
The player is timed and positioned against five other racers to beat the clock. The goal is to complete three laps first, while passing each buoy checkpoint. Each course has numerous ramps so it gives the player opportunity to perform a stunt. A successful stunt will increase the player’s boost meter and earn bonus cash. Another way to fill the boost gauge is to make perfect turns by turning as close to the buoy as possible. On particular ramps, there are well-placed boost tokens that will completely fill the meter automatically if acquired. Once the boost meter is full the player can get a quick burst of speed.
Along the way, there are bags of money either slightly off the course or along the widest part of a turn. The cash is used to buy the next wave runner from the shop. Each wave runner improves all stats and all racers use the same wave runner. The buoy checkpoints are scattered all over the course and it will show an arrow on which way to turn after passing the buoy. The confusing part is you think you should be on the opposite side of the buoy since the arrow is pointing where to go next. For example you see a buoy up ahead and the arrow points to the left, so in order to correctly pass the check point you need to be on the right side of the buoy. Going to the left of the buoy counts as a skip and the player is flagged for a missed checkpoint. On the third buoy missed, you are disqualified from the race. If you hit the buoy at any speed, you are thrown off of your jet ski and will automatically reset your character back instantaneously. However, if you got hit by other racers while making the turn, you could be facing the wrong direction causing you to miss the checkpoint. I found that the finish line does not count as a check point so if you purposely skip the last buoy, it won’t let you finish the race.
For a racing game, Aqua Moto Racing 3D has very simple controls. The player only needs to hold A to accelerate/speed up, use X to utilize boost, and use the circle pad for steering. Menu selections and stunts are executed on the touch screen. While I have no issues with the menu controls, the stunts on the touch screen hinder the gameplay significantly. So you either need to hold your stylus and need to release your grip of your console to tap the stunt you want, or you must use one of your fingers and touch the stunt you want to do. If the stunt is started too late, you will crash on impact without rewards. I was pretty frustrated with performing stunts as those could have easily been mapped to other buttons.
Visuals & Sound
The 3D effect used within the game is pretty cool and adds that extra water to the face type of feel making it more realistic. However, when the 3D is turned on, it seems like the frame rate suffers a bit making it more difficult to navigate and make those tight turns. The graphics look decent as you can see in the screenshot above. The courses seem pretty well designed, and the later courses really make the player go slow through the races to make the tight turns.
The music and sound are not very memorable. The only major thing I noticed here was the announcer reminding you that you did a good stunt. Since it was only a single saying, it can get old pretty quickly. The continuous motor hum also can start to get on the annoying side and seems to block out the music unless adjusted.
Final Score: 5 out of 10
The overall concept of the game is neat, racing on waves, making cash and doing stunts. However, with the difficult gameplay and controls it can be a rough experience for those looking to have a good time. While the player can still practice and adjust to the controls, it makes the initial experience less enjoyable as there was not a practice race to fully understand the boost meter and how it accumulates throughout the race. This game only supports download to play which makes it fun for local racing, but those who really want to heat up the competition are unable to challenge players around the world or at the very least see how their time stacks against other racers. I would only recommend this game if you have an interest in a stunt/racing type of game and enjoy wave runners. If you are looking for a more fun and/or enjoyable experience, then you should be looking at a different racing game or wait until a new wave racing game appears.
+ wide range of achievements
+ each new wave runner levels up all stats
+ cool stunts
+ detailed courses
- difficult stunt controls
- frustrating checkpoint limitations
- stunts need to be timed perfectly
- post-crash position not always pointed in proper direction