This is an entry for the A to Z Challenge (see the sidebar for more information).  These are just some of my initial impressions on the Steam, GOG, and other online games throughout the month.  It is not as much of a review as it is a summary of my feelings on the game.

Hydro Thunder is an XBLA title that puts you in a racing boat and asks you to compete with other racers.  Based on the popular arcade title (I can’t remember the last arcade or truck stop I visited that didn’t have Hydro Thunder), Hydro Thunder is similar to other stylized racers like SSX and Pod Racer.  The stages are filled with power-ups and speed boosts that help you through the stages, and winning races help you to unlock other boats to help you race faster.

At first I had trouble with this game.  The controls seemed strange, and the boat response wasn’t quite what I expected.  It wasn’t until I realized that I should pretend that I’m driving a pod in the old N64  Pod Racer that I started winning races.  One thing that pleased me about the game was that it didn’t require any silly trickiness to get through the races; this was purely about the race.  Also, unlike some of the crappier racers (I’m looking at you, Jet X2O), Hydro Thunder didn’t have the problem of excessive player runaway.

On the whole, Hydro Thunder is an enjoyable experience, and one that I recommend.

One warning: you need to be careful with the purchase confirmation screen.  For most games, the “A” button is not the one that you press to purchase the game; for Hydro Thunder, it is.  So if you are used to pressing the A button repeatedly to get through the screens after a race in the demo, be aware that it may lead you to accidentally purchase the game.  That’s what happened to me.  While I am ultimately happy with my decision, I was slightly annoyed at the time.