How to Play Better – Riff Racer

How to Play Better – Riff Racer 1 -
How to Play Better – Riff Racer 1 -

This is a no frills guide on how to improve your scores outside of improving your “driving” skill at the game.

Change your controls

The first thing you want to do is go into Settings – Controls.
Set your speed control to manual.
Take this time to adjust any other control changes, such as mapping accelerate to a comfortable key or button.
Playing with manual speed control allows you to move your car further ahead on the track.
This does not put you into the next speed/score zone, but it does mean you stay in the higher multiplier for longer when boosted. This is especially noticeable when drifting because your car can go ahead of the line without any speed boost.
Another benefit of this is that hitting barriers doesn’t push you as far back. You can hit 2 barriers back to back and not fall behind the line if you are at the front already.
There are no drawbacks to selecting this. Just that you have to hold the accelerate key the entire time.

Always drift

Drifting is one of the best ways to get points in this game.
It is almost always better to go for a drift (even a 2 or 3 beat) than to go out of your way to pick up boost cubes (or whatever they are called). Yes you get some points for picking them up, but the primary function is to give you boost. The cubes appear in groups of 4 and you need 10 of them to boost. There will always be more cubes on jumps, straights, and loops to collect. The points gained from drifting outweigh the slight benefit of a fraction of a boost.
I won’t get into score calculation numbers here (because I don’t know them off hand) but trust me.
While chaining drifts together or going for really long drifts your car can go past the line and enter the high score zone on its own. This allows your drift score to get the high multiplier which is what you wan’t from boost anyways.
Drifting tips
Long drifts get you more points, but don’t be afraid to chain smaller drifts together to avoid bumping the wall and losing it all. I end up doing this a lot.
Hit your drift button/key a little bit before you need to start your turn. This allows the drift counter to start a little bit earlier. You will hear the drift sound start to play after you hit the button/key even before you start to turn.
Slightly advanced tips
Use your boost while drifting to extend your drift past corners that would otherwise cause you to end your drift. I do this when there is a bit of a straight in the track or if I’ve messed up my line by going inward too far. This is a little hard to explain properly without a video so I’ll just say to give it a try and you’ll probably get the hang of it…
You can softly drift around slight curves. It takes a light touch but this always gets you a bunch of points. In a similar vein, drifting right before loops is good too, but it can throw you off.

When to use boost?

There are a few things that will influence what makes a good time to boost and I will cover each one of them
A major thing to address is the fact that using a boost gives you points. The ground boost, boost pick ups, and hitting the button all give you points. This means it is worth going for the boost icons even if it will cause you to bump a wall and get no benefit from the multiplier (as long as you don’t fall of the track or fall too far behind).
The other thing that it means is that you get more points for boosting while you are already boosted.
There are sections of songs that just drop your car a decent distance, these put you ahead of the line for a short time, and can be a good time to use boost.
Boost chaining
The principle behind this is to either gain a sense of timing when your boost will wear out or a keen reaction to the line appearing behind your car before you cross it.
For the latter it is important to watch the edges of the track for the raised bit because you can see that part first.
Other things to keep in mind are the ghost you are racing, if you know they aren’t in boost you can see them before the line. Near the end of a loop you will run out of boost, this is a good way to get a feeling for the timing.
Prepare for points
Boost chaining is good, but it isn’t always the best way to get points. Keep you eyes peeled for incoming sources of points: jumps, ramps, drifts, and boost cubes primarily.
Being ahead of the line while gaining points from other sources allows the multiplier to really do it’s job.
The text at the top of this section isn’t entirely wrong in certain context. If you see 2 jumps with cubes on them up ahead it might not be a bad idea to spend a boost for a small benefit. You will build up another one in no time!
If you can see the end of the track just use it don’t lose it.

When not to boost

I almost didn’t include this section, because I don’t want to state a bunch of obvious stuff but I’ll keep it short.
Don’t boost when there is nothing in front of you. You might want to use it later when the multiplier can actually apply to something other than idle point increase.
Don’t boost unless you can stay on the ground for the whole boost. You don’t gain speed in the air and the game does not account for you doing this and it is easy to just biff into the ground, land after a jump and fall off the track, or hit a barrier. This will also just make your boost not last as long.
Don’t boost if you think you might fall off the track. This sounds like a dumb one to bring up but it is important. Sometimes the game will force you off a jump you can’t make. Boost won’t help mostly, it is better to save it for when you get put back on the track.

General advice

Pick your favorite car
They all handle slightly differently and are different shapes (obviously).
Picking a single car makes it easier to get used to pushing the limits of your drifts by knowing when you will hit the wall or how “close” you can get to barriers without hitting them.
You can drift in the air?
If you are landing from a jump onto a corner you can start your drift in the air to position your car into a better landing angle.
Consistency over point potential
This can be applied to a couple areas but mostly when going for trick ramps. It is often better to go for a normal jump when things are chaotic, I’m talking fast songs where there are only 2 lanes and a bunch of bumps or something like that. Or even when you are just jumping right before a corner.
When there are sections of barriers it is often better to play it safe than go for boost cubes.


Thanks for reading. The sections are listed in order of most to least important, it is very possible that I left some stuff out.
I would have liked to have seen a guide like this when I first started plying the game, so I wrote one.
Hope you found it helpful.

Written by Cinnamaldehyde

I hope you enjoy the How to Play Better – Riff Racer guide. This is all for now! If you have something to add to this guide or forget to add some information, please let us know via comment! We check each comment manually!

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