Vector unit has just announced the availability of Beach Buggy Blitz, a Tegra 3-optimized title that takes advantage of the chipset’s tremendous GPU for great graphics and physics. It’s a bit of a racing game whose focus isn’t on beating others, but on self competition.
You’re placed onto a mysterious island filled with giant crabs, shiny coins, and tons of refreshing-looking water. Your objective is to see how long you can drive around the island before time expires. Will this one be worth the download or should you get your arcade racing fix elsewhere? Read on for our review.
With this being a timed Tegra exclusive it’s safe to assume that a big focus for Vector Unit was the presentation. Lush 3D modeling and high quality textures is something we’d expected, and Beach Buggy Blitz doesn’t disappoint. It’s a visually satisfying game that’ll go toe to toe with any in the Google Play Store.
The game uses real time, dynamic shadows for your car to make you feel like you’re really watching a car traverse the sandy sides of this strange world.
A good amount of high quality foliage really gives it that island feel, racing waterfalls, a gorgeous sun, and dynamic light sources and smoke from a nearby volcano all come together to form a world that really looks as tropical as a beach should be.
Car and character models are simplistic in design but the are the most detailed models in the game. I would have preferred some depth between the ridges of the tires on the ATVs and perhaps some reflections, but that’s not a complaint that would keep me from buying this game. It’s Tegra 3 and it looks like it.
Beach Buggy Blitz lets you roll on with some fun surf-like music to get you into that beach feeling. The variety isn’t staggering, but considering you have the option of turning it off and playing something else in the background I’d say this isn’t much to worry about.
As for sound effects, the waves do roar onto the shore of the beach as you race past them. You can hear seagulls planning their next attack on someone’s unsuspecting head, the vehicle does sound like the variety it’s modeled after, and crashing into destructible objects give you that destructive satisfaction you’re listening for even if the crashing sounds are a bit over the top.
The game is very simple to play. It will automatically accelerate your vehicle and it’s up to you to steer and brake when you need to. You can either use tilt controls or the touch screen for steering.
I found myself not comfortable with the latter as it became too hectic trying to use the brake and steer at the same time. And I wasn’t comfortable with tilting at first, but a life-saving sensitivity setting will allow you to find a happy medium for youself.
The objective is to drive on the coast as long as you can without letting a mandatory timer expire. Littered throughout the map, which can change depending on how consistent you’re playing, are timer bonus checkpoints so you can keep your timer going, but one little mistake could be the difference between those few seconds you need to make it to the next one.
It’s especially important to stay on as long as you can so you have more opportunities to earn coins. Not unlike a coin-filled Mario game, this game allows you to collect the valuable gold pieces for use later on. Some line of coins are strategically placed on ramp jumps to force you to endure some high-flying action if you want to be rewarded.
The coins can be used to buy new vehicles, buy vehicle and track upgrades such as a speed boost or bubbles of coins worth 25, buy new characters, and even extra life if you need a second wind before the next checkpoint.
The true incentive comes in when you realize it’s going to take a ton of coins and time to get everything. If you’re a horrible driver like I am it will take you a bit of playing time to get to even the lowest unlocks, let alone their increasingly expensive upgrades. For people who aren’t quite patient you can buy coins using in-app purchases in a level of different quantities.
While you may not like the in-app purchase route, it’s imperative to note that you can do everything in this game without spending a dime — the trade off is just that it’s going to take a lot longer.
There’s no real story here: you have this buggy, you’re on this island, and your goal is to get coins and keep the timer alive. Even without a plot to pull you in the satisfaction of working toward upgrades and new cars and characters should be enough to keep people motivated to continue.
Life I said above, if you’re the type of gamer that is patient enough to unlock everything without using in-app purchases this game should keep you busy enough for a while. Even if you do choose to shell out for a few coins just to get you to that next car or upgrade you will have plenty to earn the old-fashioned way.
I must warn you, though — if you plan to buy this game and buy enough coins to unlock everything right away, you’re only cheating yourself. The game has just one level, albeit a very long and beautiful one.
The limited selection of game modes means you’re going to want to close your wallet and squeeze all the value you can out of grinding for coins on the island.
There is no multiplayer, but Vector Unit does use leaderboards through the Swarm service to help you compare your high score with your friends’. You can also work toward a ton of different achievements for that added value that is definitely needed to keep this game fresh.
Beach Buggy Blitz is an awesome title for what it is. The Tegra exclusive version is meant to show off the graphical prowess of the NVIDIA-made chipset inside, and it does take very good advantage of it. Even when I had the graphics quality set to the maximum level the framerate drop was so insignificant I barely noticed.
The driving mechanics work well for the most part, but if you’re as ambisinistrous as I am you’ll want to favor the motion controls over the touchscreen. And while I had no problem with the amount of things to unlock in the game I would have appreciated more variety. A couple of more levels and something more than a survival mode wouldn’t hurt.
The problem for most will come with in-app purchases. Unless you can get every coin and stay on the course as long as you want each time you play this is going to be a grind to get absolutely everything.
For the amount you pay you want to get as much out of it as you can, but not to the point where it’s so hard that it’s almost insulting that in-app purchases are offered as a quick handycap to get ahead. Perhaps I’m just a bad driver, but When I could only accrue 276 coins in an hour and a half and the cheapest upgrade comes in at 200 coins it’s a tad off-putting.
But at least you can’t say it’s required to purchase more content in order to go as far as you want in this game. That’s more than I can say for at least three games out there that abuse this system.
Vector Unit found a balance that works, and for that I applaud them. This studio has been one of the better ones when it comes to delivering great concoctions of gameplay, graphics, physics, and sound, and if you don’t mind the limitations I’ve listed I’d say Beach Buggy Blitz is definitely worth the free download. Yep, I just said “free.” Give it a try in the Google Play Store.
Tegra 3 Giveaway Tomorrow!
Were you unable to get in on the Nexus 7 giveaway we held a while back? Well, it’s your lucky day. Well… not yet. But tomorrow will be as we’ll be posting details on how to win one of three Tegra 3 devices that you’ll be wanting to get your hands on. There’s no way to know what exact time we’ll be posting the details, but just know that we’re definitely posting tomorrow so be sure to keep checking the site to make sure you’re able to enter!
[Update]: I should note that the contest will not be first come first serve, nor will it be a skills-based contest. There will be a time limit to enter, but as long as you enter within that limit you will have just as much of a chance as anyone else.