Beach Buggy Racing (PlayStation 4) Review

By Tomson 04.10.2015

Review for Beach Buggy Racing on PlayStation 4

2014 saw the release of Vector Unit's new title Beach Buggy Racing. With cartoon style graphics and Hawaiian music, this punchy little racer knows how to have fun on the sandy beaches, the hidden volcanoes and dinosaur infested jungles! Ported for PS4, it returns and is ready to take on even the most experienced racer. Get ready!

Upon starting, the familiar feeling of Crash Team Racing and Mario Kart come flooding in when going through the menus, setting up the available characters and cars, then heading to the race track to burn rubber and smash opponents with an assortment of funky weaponry picked up via floating boxes within 12 competitive race tracks. There are more than enough playable characters to choose from, and each one has their own background story combined with a specific unique "power up" in addition to those found on the track. Don't be fooled by appearance; some of these characters pack a punch.

Every ability is different, including their skill factor, varying from tyre flames, which set the racers behind on fire, to carrot guns, which fire a multitude of carrots towards the unsuspecting foe up front, rendering them out of play for just long enough to be victorious. Racers, however, must take care unleashing this power during each race, as it is a one-time feature. Try to think of it as the little red button, and only press it when the time is right to put a final smack down on a troublesome opponent.

No character is more advantageous than another, though; it's just down to personal preference which one is chosen. The option of adding to the playable selection is achieved by completing each stage and defeating its boss found at the end of every course bundle. Bear in mind, victory against a boss provides a significant reward, but can only be undertaken once.

All vehicles, from buggies to monster trucks, are instantly available - no unlocking is needed - but their abilities in speed, handling and acceleration require serious investment in order to take on the more difficult stages as progression of the game takes place. Winning races earns money, and this can then be applied to upgrading performance and handling, as well as visual features, such as paint and vinyl. Similar to Mario Kart, there are power classes to progress to: 100HP, 200HP, 500HP and the monstrous 1000HP (which is available to try out during multiplayer). The great thing about these classes is that the feeling of the power increase can be seen and felt, adding to the overall experience and fun factor.

Screenshot for Beach Buggy Racing on PlayStation 4

It's a pleasure to look at, despite being a cartoon looking artefact. No effort by the viewer needs to be made to make out which route to take, or which bend is coming up next, and this is all down to making use of the PlayStation 4's graphics capability, leaving a crisp image and a high stable frame rate. Typically, playing on a beach, the soundtrack is Hawaiian styled, which fits in perfectly with other track types having their own music tunes, too.

There are some issues to keep in mind, though. One of them is the beginner stage of the game. Understandably, Beach Buggy Racing needs to help teach and show how to play to a reasonable standard to move on, but that's where the problem lies. The first six stages of the first map pack are far too easy (somewhat misleading), and then dives straight into a high difficulty setting for the second map pack. This might put casual gamers off as significant money needs to be spent upgrading to help make up the pace, unless each corner is taken perfectly in standard formation.

Also, whilst working to progress to 200HP and above, the game feels slow and stagnant, and the constant high rev sound effect sometimes drowns out the soundtrack and other effects. Of course, once the 1000HP setting has been bolted on, the last thing thought about is sound effects, as trying to keep all four wheels on the ground is a challenge!

Online play is also lacking here, too. The only the option of playing multiple opponents of up to four friends is via split screen. This may come as a downer for those wanting to play online, but fear not; the split screen mode has more than enough fire power to keep the fun going for hours.

Screenshot for Beach Buggy Racing on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Does Beach Buggy Racing deserve a place in the games library? Yes, it does. It may not be Crash or Mario, but then it doesn't need to be. It's fun and quirky, it's something that can be played at any occasion, and can be taken seriously, too. However, with its cartoon-like appearance and child's play game style, it may not be suited to those that are used to more hardcore simulators, such as Gran Turismo or GRID, but then again, it was never designed to compete with those titles and should not be considered hardcore. Think of it, then, as a party-piece - a satisfying little racer with tonnes of fun to be had.

Developer

Vector Unit

Publisher

Vector Unit

Genre

Driving

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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