A type of game that I find a lot of enjoyment in is a good old kart racing game. Whether playing by myself or with others locally or online I’ve put many hours into various ones such as Mario Kart, Modnation Racers, Crash Team Racing, and many more. Developer Vector Unit released one back in 2014 called Beach Buggy Racing that I tried out briefly but didn’t get to into back then. Now they are back again with the follow up, Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure. Did this one hold my interest or should you look past it for another kart racing game?
Upon getting in the driver’s seat it didn’t take long for me to find that the team has made a lot of improvements to this sequel in terms of content and gameplay. Let’s start by talking about the modes on hand the most notable being the new Adventure mode the team has added. This mode has a lot of events to race through which you’ll pick from a node-based map. There are standard races, drift events, time trials, and more each of which rewards you with stars based on how well you do. Earn enough stars and you unlock more events to play. What’s also cool is that you can play through Adventure mode solo or with up to 4 players locally. When you get done with Adventure mode you can find more fun in the quick race, championship, and even make your own custom game modes. The custom rules let you change basic things like number of laps but also let you get weird by changing tire physics, whether to have power-ups and much more. You can easily get many more hours of enjoyment out of this just coming up with different ideas for rules.
The game doesn’t just have a lot when it comes to modes but also when it comes to who you’re racing as and what you’re driving. There are 40 different vehicles to control including beach buggies, monster trucks, moon buggies, and much more all of which you can customize. 14 drivers are here to pick from although you only start off with a couple. Each one also has their own special move so you can mess around and see who’s you like the best. Then there are the power-ups which any good kart racer needs to have but I think this one has too many. There are probably around 40 different ones ranging from homing attacks, speed boosts, slow down effects, and more. Something that can get annoying in games like this is if the CPU opponents start barraging you with power-ups and that for sure happened to me quite a bit when I was leading the race. That said there are several difficulties included to choose from so if you find yourself struggling maybe switch to a lower one.
The actual feel of the game feels pretty good although when you are asked to drift, I’ve certainly played better. That’s not to say that the drifting is bad here but it just doesn’t feel as responsive as what I would like. There are 20+ tracks to race on with a good amount of environmental variety including beaches, castles, and more. They aren’t the most memorable tracks in a kart racing game but they have good design and fun shortcuts to discover.
The visuals in the game are clean but don’t really stand out. The character design in particular wasn’t memorable to me and the visuals won’t stand up against some of the other heavy hitter kart racers on PlayStation 4. Performance is generally super smooth though which I really appreciated. For the trophy hunters out there you’ll find 27 trophies to earn in this game including a Platinum. There are some that require you to do a certain action during a race while others require you to unlock certain content or 100% certain modes.
While it isn’t perfect Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure is a fun, smooth kart racer that is jam packed with content. The asking price is more than fair as the Adventure mode alone will provide many hours of enjoyment while things like the custom rules will provide many more. The controls are really good and easy for anyone to pick up and play and there is a lot to unlock along the way. It’s a little unfortunate there is no online multiplayer and visually it won’t impress. If you got local friends though and are in the market for a new kart racer this is a really good choice.
*Beach Buggy Racing 2 is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 4 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.