Hydro Thunder Hurricane

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Hydro Thunder Hurricane Game Poster Image
Fantasy boat racer offers good, clean, high-speed fun.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

There is no mistaking the action for anything that could take place in the real world. Consequently, the high-octane shenanigans have an air of fantasy; there is no risk of kids attempting to simulate the game’s stunts. It also promotes social gaming among local players and friendly competition online.

Positive Role Models & Representations

With no characters to be seen, the role models in this game are essentially the players themselves. Players may take cues based on the actions of those against who they compete, racing cleanly or dirty accordingly.

Ease of Play

The controls are simple; players basically steer, hit the gas, and press the A-button for a speed boost and the X-button to jump. It also has a shallow learning curve. The courses start very easy and get progressively more difficult.


Boats explode, either by crashing into walls and rocks or by hitting red barrels. No driver injury is apparent.


One of the boats has the word “damn” in its title.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An in-game billboard advertises “beeritos.”

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a fantasy boat racing game. There is some violence -- boats explode -- but the drivers are never injured, and the high-speed aquatic action is so over-the-top that there is little risk of any players attempting to simulate it in the real world. Note that while the game does support online play, it does not offer any communication features, which means there is no opportunity for players to share personal information or be exposed to inappropriate behavior.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byGrunged October 26, 2010

It's all around fast paced excitement for youngsters of all ages.

you are wrong about the online communication aspect of the game. You stated; "Note that while the game does support online play, it does not offer any com... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 24, 2020

Tricky game, but when you get the hang of it, the game is extremely fun

I remember when I was like 5, I played this game, and had an extremely difficult time playing it. A couple of years later, I got the hang of the game, and loved... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 11, 2019

Is commen sense dumb ormsomething

I used 2 ply this whe i was 4 fun game not violent

What's it about?

A long overdue sequel to the original Hydro Thunder arcade game (which also appeared on Nintendo64), HYDRO THUNDER HURRICANE is the second entry in Microsoft’s 2010 Summer of Arcade series of downloadable games for Xbox 360. It’s essentially a fantasy boat racing game in which players maneuver extremely quick speedboats through over-the-top environments filled with ramps, huge waterfalls, exploding barrels, and sometimes even sea monsters. Venues include such imaginative settings as a frigid northern course watched over by a Norse god and a jungle track inhabited by a huge crocodile. Four single-player modes exist for players to work their way through, and between one and four players per Xbox can head online in quick one-off races against fields consisting of up to 16 players.

Is it any good?

This is a pretty straightforward boat racer, but it’s fun. Earning points through each of the four modes (and plenty more online) gradually unlocks all of the courses, boats, and competitions -- a good carrot to keep playing until the credits start to roll. And while it’s easy to jump in and win your first few races, things become a little more complex as you go along. Players will need to learn when to use “boost” to cut corners and how to deal with dynamic environmental obstacles, such as the giant water snake that appears in one track. They’ll also need to explore to find the best shortcuts and locate triggers that, say, create ramps or turn on wave generators. And then there are the secret collectible logos hidden around each track, which can be devilishly difficult to locate and grab while racing -- a good challenge for hardcore players. Pretty good value for a measly $15.

Online interaction: This game can be played online with a group of up to four players on each local screen. Neither voice nor text chat is supported, so there is little worry that players will be exposed to unseemly behavior from other players.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about racing games. Research shows that young players’ driving habits may be influenced by the sort of racing seen in realistic driving video games. Do you think that fantasy racing games that don’t feature cars pose the same risk?

  • Families can also discuss online gaming minus communication features. Would you rather play against humans with whom you cannot speak, or computer-controlled opponents? What is the difference between the two?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360
  • Price: $15
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Microsoft Studios
  • Release date: July 27, 2010
  • Genre: Racing
  • ESRB rating: E for Alcohol Reference, Mild Fantasy Violence
  • Last updated: August 30, 2016

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