30th Nov2017

‘Mantis Burn Racing’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Paul Metcalf

Mantis_Burn_Racing_Nintendo_Switch_2

When I first heard about Mantis Burn Racing and saw it was a top-down racer my thoughts went back to the old racers, like Super Off Road, Pole Position, et al. many of which had a fixed camera, and how much I disliked that style. Thankfully while that is one camera option for this game, it turned out I was going to be pleasantly surprised.

With Mantis Burn Racing the camera can be set to follow your car, which in itself can also be an odd experience but one that is much more playable. The reason I say odd is because Mantis Burn Racing has a focus on drifting and finding the best line to take some pretty extreme corners. This can lead to the camera veering wildly in all directions and if you lack concentration it can be quite dizzying.

Find the right level of concentration though, where you focus in front of your car to predict your correct angle of drift, and you are in your element. At first the default car you are given will lack speed and grip, but this is soon fixed with the use of the RPG-style levelling up (a trait of a number of more sim-based racers). Even if you lose a race or even multiple races, you’ll be gaining XP which unlocks new cars, unlocks new levels, and more importantly provides boosts for your vehicles. These come in the form of upgrades such as grip, engine and nitro boosts. These can be added to the car, and even stacked up to provide plenty of power for the races.

The idea of these upgrades, and the ability to purchase new cars is to promote longevity in the game. To keep progressing through the seasons you’ll need to be at sufficient levels and have enough cogs to move on. This leads you to go back to previous seasons to make sure you have maxed out each race. Coming first is one result you have, but there are also challenges such as drifting for a set number of meters, getting a lap time, and even taking shortcuts. With improved cars, moving back to these levels become much easier than previous attempts.

In terms of graphics, Mantis Burn Racing isn’t the kind of game that is going to push the Nintendo Switch. While the game does look graphically impressive, it’s still a top-down racer, with all the limitations that the genre provides. Though there is a real sense of speed and even the minute details, such as breaking a fence or kicking up dirt as you skid around the course, are rendered in crisp, crystal clarity.

With both local and online multiplayer available, there’s plenty of fun to be had with Mantis Burn Racing but it will be interesting to see just how much longevity there is in this game. There is a feeling of finality when all of the seasons in the game have been completed and while the tracks are interesting enough, there are only so many times you can race on them before they feel a little old and you find yourself driving on an almost automatic pilot, having memorised each and every twist and turn on each and every level. However the amount of game available from the offset and the sheer the amount of racing you can do, even in single player mode, makes this well worth asking price.

Mantis Burn Racing is a game that feels like a throwback to arcade style racing games of the past, while still looking like a current generation racer. Yes, it isn’t going to blow apart the world of racing and be a title that rejuvenates the top down racer, but does what it does well and is most of all FUN. If the game has already peaked your interest, trust me it is well worth investing in – especially if you have some friends to join in the [multiplayer] fun!

****½  4.5/5

Featuring 4-player local split-screen racing in both TV mode and Tabletop mode and online multiplayer options for up to 8 players, the Nintendo Switch version of Mantis Burn Racing – available on the eShop now – also includes the additional downloadable content packs, ‘Battle Cars’, ‘Elite’ Class vehicles and ‘Snowbound’ tracks.

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