If you're pining for the summer, Beach Buggy Racing will give you a fix of sand, surf and seagull smashing.
A tried and tested racing format
It's a 3D racer that plays much like Angry Birds Go! or Sonic Racing Transformed, which themselves, of course, were heavily inspired by Super Mario Kart.
You whizz around a series of lavishly-crafted summery tracks collecting power-ups to help you finish before the rest, while dodging crabs and seagulls. There are tons of tracks, power-ups, and characters to unlock.
Scavenging for game currency in order to unlock all this stuff isn't as much of an issue as it is in other games. Gems can be earned by winning races, and these can be used to unlock power-ups; tickets (which you need to enter a race) can be won by gaining three stars on an event or by waiting for them to refill (which takes 30 seconds); you get coins for taking part in races, which can be used to boost up your car; and new levels can be unlocked by beating boss characters.
So, all in all you'll be able to keep playing for free without too much hassle, and you'll have a good game experience as well. Upgrade to premium and you'll get infinite tickets, and a split-screen multiplayer mode where you can race your buddies.
Slip and slide
The controls in Beach Buggy Racing are straightforward. Using the tilt controls you can steer your kart around the track. Apply the brakes by tapping the screen. Drive through a power-up symbol and you'll collect a random item, which you can then use by tapping the icon on the right of the screen. Each character has its own 'special move' which is activated by an icon to the left of the screen.
Mastering the controls is harder than it looks, though. Prepare to slide out of a lot on bends and fall off bridges and cliffs because the kart wobbles around a lot. Obstacles and weapons are hard to avoid, too, so you'll need a lot of practice to get good.
The overall presentation of Beach Buggy Racing is excellent. The crazy characters are well conceived and it really feels like each has its own personality. Backgrounds are lavishly designed and varied, and the bouncy surf soundtrack fits nicely with the cheery theme of the game.
There are some occasional issues with lag in Beach Buggy Racing. It's not enough to totally ruin the game but it does get annoying.
Sizzling summer fun
Beach Buggy Racing is a fun racing game for all the family to enjoy. It's a shame there's no multiplayer in the free version, but there's still plenty of thrills and spills to be had without paying a dime.