I knew absolutely nothing about gaming on the Android platform before Vector Unit sent me a build of its jet ski racer Riptide GP and a couple of devices to play it on. Now I want to know everything.

Shortly after I wrote up Hydro Thunder Go for the Windows Phone 7 as a gaming app of the day last month, the folks from developer Vector Unit contacted me to see if I had gotten a chance to try out Riptide GP for Android. I thought Hydro Thunder Go was a rather impressive little water racing game. Vector Unit figured they had something even better.

And they were right.

If the name Vector Unit sounds familiar, then you may have played the developers' previous title, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, a revamp of the arcade speedboat racing classic for Xbox Live Arcade. Needless to say, these developers know water racing right down to the wacky liquid physics, and they bring that knowledge to bear in Riptide GP.

The game reminds me of the Jet Moto series from the original PlayStation, with its high-flying jumps, brisk pace, and creative courses. It just looks and plays much better than Jet Moto ever did.

This is a console-quality racing game, no doubt about it. For $6.99 you score six tracks (12 with mirrored versions), multiple game modes, three difficulty levels, unlockable rides, and an experience that will make you forget you're playing a mobile game, at least once you get past all the tilting.

I had no idea the sort of juice these Tegra 2-powered devices could pump out. The age of console-quality Android gaming is upon us, and Riptide GP is one hell of a good start.

Riptide GP Rips Android Gamers a Console Quality Racer

Riptide GP [Android Market]