Almost everyone loves a kart racing game that stems from some of the classics like Mario Kart and R.C. Pro Am. The thrill of crossing the finish line in 1st place after a well placed booby trap makes even the most humble player squeal with glee (especially if their opponent is sitting right next to them). Current generation systems are lacking a kart racer, but Vector Unit is offering up Beach Buggy Racing which is a sequel to their successful mobile game. Does this arcade racer have what it takes keep gamers behind the wheel or does it just spin its tires in the dirt?
As with any racing game, arcade or sim, gameplay is the most crucial component to hooking the player into pouring hour after hour ripping around the track. Luckily Beach Buggy Racing’s mechanics are solid and perform just as you’d expect from a game in this genre while running at a solid 60 frames per second. You’ll zip around 15 different off-road tracks each with their own aesthetic qualities and obstacles to avoid or smash through. Winning races awards you tokens that you can use to upgrade your vehicle to different horsepower classes or purchase new vehicles like a rally car, monster truck or moon rover. There are drivers which have special abilities, like an extra turbo boost or lines the race track with beach balls that bounce you off the course, that you can add to your team after you beat them in a one on one race.
Visuals are bright and flamboyant and the upbeat, but often repeated music portrays a very playful approach, but as you win more and more races you’ll find that things aren’t always what they seem. Special weapons and defenses are located throughout each track in little question mark bubbles that randomize what you get. Sometimes you luck out and get a bat rocket that seeks out the 1st place racer, other times you’ll get a box of chickens to leave on the track, or even an ice blaster that freezes opponents in a block of ice causing them to slide all over the place. While these remain good-humored in a mischievous way the difficulty of AI drivers ramps up as you conquer more and more races making it an arduous task to come in 1st place. It gives Beach Buggy Racing a nostalgic feel of games of yesteryear where the computer cheated and left you on the verge of Hulk smashing your controller.
The lack of any online multiplayer is a huge knock against any game that utilizes any form of versus nowadays and sadly Vector Unit didn’t include it. There is split screen racing with up to 4 players, but the days of split screening are few and far between for a majority of gamers. The career mode offers a ton of content and there are also daily challenges that offer nice coin rewards to keep players coming back for more.
Beach Buggy Racing does a lot of things right, but the AI difficulty and lack of online multiplayer make this a steep purchase for $10.00 USD/ $7.99. Still, there is plenty to be admired about this kart racing game if you don’t mind repeating races over and over and need to scratch that itch. Local multiplayer is a blast, but if you’re like me and love humiliating and destroying your children in a race you’ll run out of opponents to take on.
Review code supplied by Team Xbox