Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Pick your driver and buggy and race on (mostly at first) tropical themed tracks in this kart racer sequel.  It’s available on most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

If you’ve played a kart racer before, you’ll know what you’re getting into here.  First pick a driver, and each one has a special ability you can activate twice per race.  You’ll unlock more drivers as you complete challenges.  Same thing with the beach buggies, which is what you choose next.  The tracks are tropical themed at first, centered around beaches and jungles.  But later on you’ll see more varied tracks like ice and outer space.  Like other kart racers, on the tracks you can pick up weapons that’ll help you gain the lead.  Some you can pick up include boosts, shields, rockets, and more.  In this sequel you can pick up two items at once.

Adventure is the main mode of play.  Here you move around on an island map and each spot is a challenge.  Sometimes it’s a single race, but other times you must beat a certain time, race consecutive tracks in a cup, or other wacky challenges.  You’ll get up to three stars depending on how well you do.  In order to progress to other areas, you must have a certain amount of stars, so you’ll want to collect as many as you can.  Some areas on the map allow you to challenge another racer to unlock them for use, or you can meet a grease monkey to upgrade stats on your vehicles, or unlock a new weapon.

There is also a mode where you can race in cups on three to four consecutive tracks.  Or you can just tackle a single track with standard rules, time trials, and more.  Rounding out the modes is an online tournament where you take on pre-set challenges and can post best times and scores to a leaderboard.

I played and reviewed the original Beach Buggy Racing four years ago, and while I don’t remember much about it now, reading back on the review it seems I complained about it being too hard.  Well that’s not much of a problem here because you can choose three difficulty selections and it seems more playable.  Plus all drivers and tracks are unlocked from the get-go in every mode but Adventure.

Really the only problems I had with the sequel is that the play control is a little bit too loosey-goosey for my tastes, and the game looks way better in TV mode than it does in handheld mode.  While I can think of a few kart racers I would recommend over this, at least this game is an improvement over the original, and that’s a good thing.

Kid Factor:

Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Mild Fantasy Violence and Tobacco Reference.  Didn’t see anyone smoking here, but you can fire cartoony weapons, like rockets, at other racers.  And if you take a tumble your driver can fall out of their car and flop around for a bit.  But that’s about as violent as it gets.  Reading skill is helpful, but not necessary just to play.

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