Developer: VooFoo Studios
Publisher: VooFoo Studios
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Racing, Arcade, Party & Multiplayer
Release Date: 23rd of November, 2017 (EU & NA)
Coming under fire this time around, is none other than Mantis Burn Racing, the VooFoo Studios racing game that met with some very mixed reactions when it initially launched back in 2016. Well, it’s the end of 2017 (close enough anyway,) and Mantis Burn Racing is back, but just how does it compare? Honestly? Mantis Burn Racing has never felt better and no, it’s not because you can play it on the go, but because this time around, Mantis Burn Racing comes with all the DLC, (Elite Class and Battle Cars) and more importantly, its playstyle feels more natural on Switch, but we’ll get to that a little later.
First and foremost, Mantis Burn Racing is a top-down racer that is made up of octane physics arcade racing, with some RPG elements thrown into the mix that is simple to learn, but tricky to master thanks to tight turns, long windy tracks and an AI that wants to win at all costs. (To beat the best, one must literally be the best!) Then of course, there are the controls themselves. There’s the L Stick for steering, with motion controls supported via tilting the controls. ZR is used to accelerate, ZL to brake and drift round corners and A may be used for the Boost, which can only be used when the boost gauge has filled up after gaining enough EXP in a race, but there’s more to it than just that, because skill alone will not see you to victory.
It doesn’t matter if you are the world’s best racing expert, if your car isn’t up to scratch, so in addition to racing and having to learn the ins and outs of Mantis Burn Racing’s 12 tracks and the multiple race types that it has (we’ll get to them in time,) Mantis Burn Racing also features customisations and lots of them in the form of lots of vehicles of three different weight classes (light, medium and heavy) that can be brought and upgraded thanks to unlockable optimisations that can offer better traction and more. (This is the RPG like stuff I alluded to earlier.) As well as the 3 weight classes, there are also 5 separate classes as well, which consist of Rookie, Pro, Veteran, Elite and Battle.
You’ll want to pay attention to these classes as each one offers newer and better vehicles and the game’s entire main mode is centred around them, as Career mode will see you start out as a simple Rookie, looking to make something of a name for yourself and it is only by winning races, earning gears (gears can be earned via completing challenges on each of the playable events) and collecting the payday that comes with them, to purchase better vehicles and win each one of the game’s various Seasons. Even if you beat all the racing focused ones, then it’s time for battle! So long story short, if you’re looking for a racer with a main campaign you can really invest a lot of time into, then Mantis Burn Racing is the game for you, as it has many hours awaiting you and so much variety in the form of racing types like Race, Sprint, Time Travel, 5 Race League (5 races with one race straight after the other.) Accumulator, which is a race where being in first place doesn’t win you the race when you finish, but it does earn you more points thanks to the multiplier the position comes with and do your best to earn 10,000 points before anyone else can, but honestly, it’s the Battle modes that make Mantis Burn Racing really pop.
The Switch version may not have the high quality graphics like the Xbox One X version of Mantis Burn Racing does, and the racing can be more intense than its graphics would have you believe, but there is nothing quite like doing a Race in battle. All of a sudden, Mantis Burn Racing becomes Death Race the video game. (Death Race is a movie series that often centres around inmates engaging in racers with cars armed with weaponry that they must use to destroy their competition, to win the race and win their freedom, should they survive.) Depending on exactly what race type you decide to go with, Battle pretty sees you and whoever your player with (up to 4 players locally are supported with split-screen for all,) drive round a track in a car meant for Battles, get your weaponry armed and then take out whoever is in front of you, or behind thanks to mines.
For me, these death races are the best part of Mantis Burn Racing, as I greatly enjoyed them more than grinding for gears and winning races wherever possible, just to level up and get even more perks, but in all seriousness, the Battle modes are where all the real action happens and if you don’t feel like doing battles against friends, how about players on the other side of the globe thanks to an online mode? Even better than though, is you’ll never have to worry about trying to find a game as cross-platform play is supported, but if you’d rather just stick to playing with your fellow Switch owners, you can do just that by disabling cross-platform play. But if online and local play is not your bag, there is also local Wi-Fi multiplayer that supports up to 8 players with an individual Joy-Con Controller, being enough for each player.
With regards to just how does the game play exactly, on Switch it runs at 60fps most of the time when playing on your own, as local multiplayer with 2 player split-screen, see it performing somewhere between 30 and 60fps, which you won’t actually notice most of the time. When 3 or 4 players are playing though, it runs at 30fps and if after all this, you find yourself thinking Mantis Burn Racing doesn’t have enough content, there are also weekly events and online leaderboards, so if you’re the competitive sport, Mantis Burn Racing does have plenty of reasons as to why you should give it a go!
Mantis Burn Racing might not have the appearance, style and even gameplay that is offered by the ever popular Rocket League, but there’s really not that much difference between them as they’re both immensely enjoyable. There’s more to them then just driving and it really doesn’t matter if you’re playing locally or online, because however you play, good times will be had and even when you lose, you’ll still be a winner thanks to what you’ll earn in EXP and Gold. So if you haven’t got it yet, the Nintendo Switch offers one of the best Mantis Burn Racing experiences you can get, so what are you waiting for? The game isn’t going to buy itself!
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*Review Key Provided by VooFoo Studios
This post was written by Solid Jack