Game Title: Beach Buggy Blitz
Review Format: Android, Nexus 7
Beach Buggy Blitz puts you behind the wheel of a hot-rod racing beach buggy as you drive as far and as fast as you can before time runs out in ‘time attack’ style gameplay. Spanning across multiple areas such as beaches, caves, swamps, volcanoes and icebergs your score in this cartoon racer is determined by how far you have driven and how many coins you have collected before the time runs out. Scattered along your route are checkpoints, which reward you with more time while obstacles such as rocks, seagulls, boxes and trees attempt to slow you down. The time challenge mechanic works well in generating the excitement of a racing game in a casual and easy to play title, bringing back fond memories of arcade racers working on the same principal. Though the first stages can become repetitive (as your race always starts in one of two layouts in the Beach area) the dynamic ordering of zones and multiple layouts within zones create different races and challenges that give the game a huge amount of playability, especially when combined with the time attack challenge, power-ups and obstacles. Zones and layouts become progressively more difficult making it harder to reach checkpoints in time producing a fun and exciting challenge.
Earn It, Spend It
Lining your route are coins that can be collected and spent on upgrades, new cars, items and on increasing the power of boosters all of which help you race further and faster. Prices are well balanced with bigger and better items costing more and requiring more races, but the rewards being all the more sweet. Every upgrade makes a noticeable impact on your success and delivers a rewarding sense of progression and increase in pace the further into the game you get. Also lining your route are additional power-ups including speed boosts, bundles of coins and shields of indestructibility, which will be familiar to kart racer players. Paints, decals, drivers, extra lives and head starts are also for sale at varying prices. While coins can be collected by racing, you can also purchase packs from the in-game shop for real money and while this can be a turn-off for some players, earning and spending is well balanced and the game can be enjoyed completely free-to-play if you’re willing to put the time in out on the track.
Your Beach Buggy can be controlled in one of 3 ways, either by tilting your device like a steering wheel, touching sides of the screen or by touching arrows. If you have a game-pad to connect you can also use this. Options for steering sensitivity and camera tilt help to fine tune the controls while audio and graphics options allow you to customise how the game runs for your device. Buggy handling is fun and casual but requires its own skill to navigate some of the tighter turns and complex twisty routes. The handling, as with getting to know the various routes, is quick to learn but difficult to master and even with hours of gameplay you’ll find it challenging – a great combination for a pick up and play tablet title.
Graphically the game’s cartoon style, bright colouring, detailed animations and rich environments are a fantastically fun way to enjoy the game’s challenges. Cool water-on-the-camera-lens effects are a pleasant surprise the first time you see them and new areas and layouts provide variety to the visuals.
Beach Buggy Blitz serves up some of the best fun you can have on your Android device and has now proudly taken its place on Apple’s App Store. As an excellent achievement in casual racing game design and fun it deserves checking out and will give you a refreshing change from other racing games out there.