Game Reviews

Beach Buggy Blitz

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| Beach Buggy Blitz
Beach Buggy Blitz
| Beach Buggy Blitz

At first I thought running over seagulls and watching them bounce across the track was a fun pastime in Beach Buggy Blitz, but that was before I upgraded the strength of my hotrod-styled buggy and started to smash giant crabs off my bonnet.

Obviously, cracking crustacean shells isn't the sole point of this hybrid of Temple Run and Mario Kart 64, yet it's just one of the many of the simple, knockabout cartoony pleasures of Vector Unit's freemium endless-racer.

It might not be as serious, or graphically dazzling, as the developer's excellent Riptide GP, but it's hard to play five minutes of Beach Buggy Blitz and not end up grinning like an idiot.

Fun in the sun

While the screenshots imply there's some sort of race going on, thanks mainly to the presence of other drivers, the currently Tegra-exclusive game is actually more derivative of Canabalt than Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.

The object is always to keep driving along the rather lovely-looking randomly generated tracks for as long as possible by scraping through as many checkpoints as you can before the timer runs out.

You'll be lucky to last more than a minute on your first couple of goes, but once you start earning enough in-game credits - or buy a stack via, sensibly-priced, in-app purchases - to unlock some power-ups or a new set of faster wheels, then you'll start extending your time.

It's then that you realise the main purpose of Beach Buggy Blitz, aside from collecting rows of coins and jumping over gaps in bridges, is to actually explore as much of the tropical paradise setting as possible.

Thanks to the game's intuitive arcade-style steering, which can be either tilt or arrow controlled, you can spend a lot of time enjoying the sun-swept beaches, crumpling temples, and erupting volcanoes as you cruise by.

Sand in your tyres

Ultimately, though, it soon soon proves to be a rather limited experience.

Once you've seen most of the island and become frustrated that you can only use power-ups (like a giant magnet for attracting coins and a turbo boost) the moment you hit them, rather than when you need help the most, mild tedium starts to set in.

Then niggles about the unreliable frame-rate and lack of real driving challenge will start to hit home, too, putting the brakes on your earlier enthusiasm and meaning you'll soon be packing away your sunglasses and leaving the beach for good.

Beach Buggy Blitz

Temple Run reworked as an arcade driving game is a cracking formula for success, but once you run out of virtual sights to see you'll probably wish there was a real racer in there, too