Aqua GT Powerboat racing Review

Sleek, expensive machines scything through unforgiving, sloshy water at insane speeds. Difficult to cock it up as a game, you’d have thought…

Nice boat models, you see. And the water is sparkly
That old adage about ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all’ is crap.

If it held true, our review of Aqua GT would read like this:
Aqua GT has some quite good boat models, and the sparkly water effect is rather nice.

[imagine a vast swathe of empty space here, down to the bit at the bottom giving the rating as ‘Dud’]

So we’ll maybe save that particular adage for when we finally get sent a review copy of Black & White, and for now we’ll have to break out the hate. We do, after all, have around 500 words to fill here, and simply repeating the phrase ‘Aqua GT is shit’ over and over again just won’t cut it.

In which case… Aqua GT is shit. We’ve mentioned that already, but if we’re not allowed to repeat today’s mantra over and over, we at least want to quote it enough so that it sticks in your mind and you don’t, under any circumstances, pay money for it. Just once more, then: Aqua GT is shit.

We really ought to expand on that particular theme, but where do we start? Aqua GT is shockingly poor in almost every area, the two slight exceptions to said shockingness being the boat models and the sparkly water. Everything else is just bad. Even the front end, the last chance saloon in the town of creating some kind of pleasing sheen and fooling someone, anyone, into thinking that your game isn’t rubbish, is rubbish. It’s a bunch of mostly static screens, for pity’s sake. So why is it all so blocky? As we said, rubbish.

Still, it sets the tone for the rest of the game. As we mentioned way back in the mists of time, it would be tricky to cock up a powerboat racing game, but Aqua GT manages the task with aplomb. It thinks it’s being cool by enabling you to race around the cities of the world, but it doesn’t realise that the cities of the world all look pretty much the same, especially when viewed from water level, and doubly especially when they’re rendered in a quite entertainingly cack-handed way. M-SR on water, this ain’t.

And what’s with the rivers? Since when has the Thames looped around London rather than go straight through it? Ditto the Seine. And the Rhine. Realism isn’t on the menu here, as you’ll note from the over-simplistic handling, which enables fast-moving powerboats to turn almost on a sixpence without flipping out of the water, and the AI opponents that react to the slightest nudge by hitting the brakes and getting in your way.

There are but seven tracks, with a none-too-convincing attempt at adding variety by having high and low tides a few degrees of choppiness. A nice thought, but a futile one. Why?

Simple. Aqua GT fails to so much as engage your interest. We triumphed in a number of races with barely a blip on our excitement-meter. It’s dull, even when you’re in a neck-and-neck battle for first place and the top position in the league.

Which, come to think of it, is quite an achievement. Aqua GT makes the exciting, dangerous world of powerboat racing seem boring. It’s almost worth buying it to witness such an achievement.

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