Beach Buggy Racing (Vector Unit Games) is the new indie Switch title on the block, and like most racers, it’s similar to Mario Kart. But it’s also quite different from Nintendo’s most popular racing franchise, and while playing for this review, we were often reminded not of Mario Kart, but of Crash Nitro Kart, with its quirky graphics, power-ups, mechanics, characters, karts, controls, and course designs. But Beach Buggy Racing really stands in a category of its own—and if you want to know how, keep reading!
The game starts with a brief tutorial that makes sure you’re feeling comfortable with the controls before you try your first race. You’ll also have to get used to the game’s gravity, which is much lighter than your typical racer and can send you crashing through helpful road signs. (Yes, you can break these signs—and if you do break them and loop around again for a second lap, they won’t be there to guide you!) So you should know that there’s a learning curve with this one, but it’s pretty easy to catch on with practice.
Beach Buggy Racing offers 5 different play modes—Split Screen, Quick Race, Championships, Daily Challenge, and Career—but we’ll focus here on Career Mode, the main mode of play. In this mode, you must play each available cup, and in the process earn enough stars to unlock the cup boss. Then, you’ll have to beat that cup boss to unlock them as a playable character. Each character has their own special ability, which can be used once per level.
Once you beat a cup, you’ll unlock a new one, and this will continue until you’ve beaten all 9 of the game’s cups. You should know that the cups become very challenging in the late-game, and some bosses will likely seem impossible to beat. But you can beat them—you just have to keep trying!
As you race, you’ll also collect coins, which let you buy and upgrade your karts. Available upgrades include acceleration, top speed, and handling, and these upgrades make it possible for you to beat the cup bosses, who are pretty tough to beat. Coins are very important to collect, and you’ll find yourself motivated to play levels again and again just to collect coins.
PROS & CONS
Beach Buggy Racing comes with a ton of pros: it’s unique and addictive, with tons to explore; its smooth 3D graphics are quite charming; it never gives you more than you can handle; and it’s great for a first racing game, especially when on-the-go or with your friends. For $10, it’s jam-packed with content and replayability. But there is one con, at least for now: Beach Buggy Racing crashes more often than it should. While playing for this review, the game closed on us 8 times over a period of 3.5 hours. But we should note that this really isn’t a huge issue, and the game seems to have some kind of auto-save system, because whenever it shut down while we were playing, it seemed to have saved our progress. All in all, we’re not sure what’s causing the crash issue, but we’re hopeful that an update will come along and fix it.
We had a blast playing Beach Buggy Racing, and it’s definitely worth the price; for all its explorable content, its replayability is off the charts. If you’ve had your fill of Mario Kart and are looking for a fresh new racer, give Beach Buggy Racing a try. We don’t think you’ll be sorry!
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick is a Super Mario Maker 2 enthusiast, but working with Nintendeal has fostered a love for tough-as-nails indies such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Cuphead. Sarah prefers sim games like Animal Crossing, Don’t Starve, and Stardew Valley, but she challenges herself by grinding Slay the Spire from time to time.