There's never been a great deal of racing games to go for the watercraft sim approach, and only Nintendo's Wave Race really seems to stand out for its accurate recreation of water and its respective physics. Well, UK-based Argonaut is looking to change all that with the release of this jet-ski racer, Carve. It's exclusive to Xbox, boasts a graphic artist's glossary of visual effects, and offers healthy support for online multiplayer - sounds promising.
The game offers the usual assortment of single and multiplayer modes, set across a total of 27 international locales, including the likes of Thailand, Amsterdam, Iceland, and the Grand Canyon. Authenticity of each environment is ensured by the fact that the dedicated team behind the game had to jet off to each location in order to fully research it - the poor souls!
A diverse array of comic-style characters is on offer, giving you the chance to step into the wetsuits of such jet skiers as rich boy Max, ice maiden Amiko, or a host of others including the likes of Adrienne, Oz, Nikolai, Elena, and Mizuki. Each of the characters boasts highly detailed animation right down to the individual finger bone, as well as some impressive AI that sees them pairing up in teams to add an extra competitive edge to the proceedings.
Being an Xbox exclusive, Carve gets to benefit from the host machine's much-vaunted power and as such, delivers some rather impressive water technology. Highly optimised Environment-Mapped Bump-Mapping (EMBM) technology provides the sparkle and reflections, whilst the game's physics leads to waves interacting in ways that deliver unique gameplay for every level and floating objects that react in a convincing manner.
As mentioned before, Carve has a respectable support for multiplayer gaming on offer, allowing you to take part both in four-way split screen races and, should you be hooked up to Xbox Live, eight-player online contests. Interestingly, there's also a team-based co-op mode available that allows you to hinder other riders while giving your partner a chance to be first across the line.
All in all, Carve has quite a lot on offer, whilst also looking pretty darn impressive too. There aren't a great deal of similar games knocking about - if this is something you've been looking for then it's well worth checking out.