When you think of kart racers, obviously the first thing that comes to your mind is Mario Kart. It’s nearly unfair to try to compete with Nintendo’s juggernaut racing franchise by releasing other kart racers to its consoles, but a select few manage to rise above others. Case in point, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. Case in point, Diddy Kong Racing. Case in point, Lego Racers (remember that one? It was great!). Case in point, but in a slightly less impactful way, Vector Unit’s first title for the Nintendo Switch, Beach Buggy Racing.
Beach Buggy Racing, as the name implies, is a racing game. In which you drive buggies. By the beach. Don’t you worry, as the game is more fun than my terrible elevator pitch made it sound like. It was originally released a few years ago for mobile platforms, followed by the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One, consoles that are much more thirsty for kart racers than any Nintendo console besides the NES. If you’re into this genre, there are quite a handful of reasons why you should actually take a look at this title.
Initial impressions of Beach Buggy Racing weren’t exactly the greatest, given the game’s visuals and sound. They aren’t terrible, but they are very basic. The character design isn’t very impressive (most racers are just costumed variations of one type of character) and the soundtrack is very repetitive. When it comes to the visual aspect of the game, however, I have to point out that the framerate is always high and consistent, which helps to maintain a great sensation of speed throughout the entire game.
Even if the artistic aspect wasn’t that amazing, Beach Buggy Racing‘s gameplay and overall amount of content won me over.
Beach Buggy Racing‘s driving feels better than I thought it would. The game features nice physics, and cars aren’t that light and easy to make turns as other kart racers. After practicing a bit and learning to avoid the various obstacles in each race, you’ll start enjoying the controls. The main issue I had with it, once again, isn’t something that’s wrong with the game itself, but the console: the Switch’s lack of an analog trigger is once again noted in a racing game when accelerating and braking.
Another good feature is the amount of overall content the game boasts, something impressive for a little title a bit bigger than 100MB in size. The game features a lot of races, cups, vehicles, upgrades, power-ups and characters. Instead of pursuing the standard Mario Kart way of assembling tournaments, Beach Buggy Racing features a much more developed career mode of sorts, in which you’ll revisit stages quite often, sometimes in different styles other than just a typical lapped race. The difficulty spike also impressed me, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. The initial cup was stupidly easy, and actually made me fear the rest of the game was going to follow suit. Man, was I wrong. Once you enter the second cup, you’ll face harder opponents, which will actually provide a bit of a challenge to you. And it gets even more challenging the further you progress into the game, even if it begins to become almost unfair at times.
Beach Buggy Racing isn’t exactly a groundbreaking achievement in the kart racing genre, but it wasn’t even intending to be one. It’s a nice, affordable and enjoyable little title with a very decent amount of content, and surprisingly enough, a good level of challenge, even if at times the AI opponents are more unfair than a 150cc foe on Mario Kart. Granted, Beach Buggy Racing isn’t better than, say, Mario Kart 8, but if you’re one of the many people out there who still own this title for the Wii U, this is one of the best racing suggestions so far for the Switch, and a better kart racer than Cars 3, especially when it comes to bang for your buck.
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, Android/iOS
Copy of Beach Buggy Racing provided by publisher