Game Reviews

Beach Buggy Racing

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Beach Buggy Racing

The sequel to Beach Buggy Blitz is now upon us, and I am very excited indeed.

I loved the first game, and Vector Unit's other major series - Riptide GP - is a personal favourite from the App Store.

Over the next week I'll be putting the free to play racer through its paces and finding out whether or not that excitement is well placed.

Ready? Set? Go.

First impressions

Beach Buggy Racing's presentation is superb. The smooth framerate is a godsend for this kind of twitch-based racer, but it's no slouch when it comes to fidelity either.

Karts and characters are sharp, textures are clear, and some of the special effects are spectacular.

It's the music I love most though. The tribal beats thud along while you're racing, but when you're swiping through the uncluttered menus you're treated to some of the most chill hula music ever.

It reminds me, at times, of Kamakawiwo'ole's stuff, which is a very good thing.

The actual driving model is just as good as the graphics and sound, and there's a pleasantly floaty feel to it as well - a lot like the previous entry in the series.

Tilt, touch, and MFi controls are all supported, and though you can massively upgrade each kart, the starting setup doesn't feel slow or unresponsive.

I'm really enjoying Beach Buggy Racing at the moment then, and long may it continue.

Day 3: A question of trust

One of the core issues any game has to conquer for it to be a critical success is that it ensures that it instils a feeling of fairness amongst every player that takes on its various challenges. At the moment, Beach Buggy Racing isn't doing that.

I'm currently racing in a totally upgraded vehicle, with maximum stats for its current class, and yet I'm against opponents who have vastly more powerful rides than I do.

On a long straight I simply can't keep up, and consequently I'm finding it really tough to complete later stages and advance through the game.

Of course I could spend currency on a Grease Monkey to increase my performance, and since Beach Buggy Racing is a free to play release, I'm starting to think that the designers would really like me to do that.

I also can't keep bashing my head against the same challenge over and over until I luck out and win, as there's an energy system in play. If you get three stars in a race you do get another race for free, but that doesn't help when you're not getting close to the podium.

None of this feels fair, and that's a real shame.

Day 7: False start

After a week with the game, the pay-to-win of Beach Buggy Racing has crushed much of my desire to continue playing. That's a shame, because parts of the game are really well made, and I find myself wanting to like it more than I actually do.

The different karts do all feel unique, and having used a lot of them through the Daily Challenges I now really want to add them all to my garage.

Each driver's single-use special move increases diversity in the racing experience, and as I witness and use more of the power-ups I grow more impressed at the thought that has gone into these wacky weapons.

There's one which is a heavy spiked ball, and when launched at an opponent, it hangs onto the back of the vehicle, slowing the target down and causing their kart to oversteer.

But it also smashes into other nearby opponents too. It's a little bit evil, and a little bit genius.

But none of this is enough to evade the sinking feeling that you're not really welcome in Beach Buggy Racing unless you're prepared to stump up some cash.

If Beach Buggy Racing were more balanced it would come with a hearty recommendation, as much of the core gameplay here is very strong.

Heck I might go so far as to say that it would be the premier kart racer on mobile if it weren't F2P'd up the wazoo. But as it stands, it's a wasted opportunity, marred by IAP nonsense.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.

Beach Buggy Racing

A classic example of a quality game almost ruined by ham-fisted free-to-play elements. If you don't mind regularly splashing cash though, then the core game can be a lot of fun
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.