The ultimate top down racer hits the Switch. Mantis Burn Racing – The FingerGuns Review;
Mantis Burn Racing has hit everyone’s favourite console and quite frankly, it couldn’t have come at a moment too soon. After hunting down the game on Switch at this years EGX, wondering just how well it translated to the handheld style of play I came away hugely satisfied, awaiting the day I would finally be able to get it home and play it to my hearts content.
I’m glad to say I haven’t really changed my opinion since my hands on at EGX, Mantis Burn Racing is yet another solid port for the Switch and, as so many already have before it, has found its rightful home.
Back in my hands-on article I said precisely this;
So how does it play on Switch? Well, to my absolute delight it feels exactly like how I wanted it to feel. The cars feel weighty but with a strong sense of control, the visuals are as tight and crisp as they appear on my treasured PS4 version, the drifting is utterly wonderful and well, as ever, the best version of a game could just end up on Nintendo’s shiny new hybrid.
Now I’ve got the final release on my system I can stand by this with even greater assurance. If you’ve never played the game before, it’s available pretty much everywhere else and yet, as with most Switch ports, this is pretty much the ultimate version in the sense that all the great aspects of the game you remember from the console versions of MBR are here, only this time you can play them wherever the hell you like.
The game itself is your typical racer fare. You’ve got your Career – which I where I spend most of my time trying to unlock those elusive gears which will allow you to upgrade your cars -, Single Race and Online Race. Career is where you’ll probably want to jump into first as it allows you to get a feel for the game before you jump online and take on anyone in the world – literally, thanks to Cross-Platform Play across Xbox One and Steam platforms -, here the game starts simple enough, with a bunch of rookie races, time trials, knockouts and the like you can compete in to unlock the Gears you’ll need to upgrade your vehicles. There’s a bunch of upgrades including some very cool ones I won’t spoil for you here…(bang bang).
All races can be replayed if you want to improve your scores along with hitting the extra bonus challenges that you can complete for extra Gears during your races. I had a habit of missing one or two and it was simply a case of replaying the quick races/time trials to ensure I tick those off and before I knew it I was racking up Gears in no time at all. The extra challenges don’t boil down to much more than ‘take 1st place’ or ‘amazing drift’, but every now and then you’ll get ‘knock into sides 10 times’, which may sound counterproductive to your winning the race, but makes far more sense when you can double dip into the races to grab those gears you may have missed the first time around.
Mantis Burn Racing’s visual aesthetic is naturally top-down which focuses on your car all the way around the track and never lets you down. It’s permanently above your head which proves very handy as you’re tearing it around corners, the camera will immediately turn with you ensuring you don’t miss a beat and you can instantly see where you need to be going. With the game running at a solid 60fps – docked and undocked – MBR always looks terrific, and never slows you down. You’re never really moving particularly fast – at least it doesn’t feel that way – but you have great control over your vehicle thanks to VooFoo’s in house physics engine this game is built on. The game looks especially crisp in handheld mode, with little to no difference between docked and undocked that I could notice. It seems like a massive effort has gone into make this so and it’s paid off well. The game runs in 30fps in local multiplayer modes.
Online? I have no idea. I couldn’t get a game pre-release with anyone, so I’m going to jump back in this week and make sure this aspect of the game gets updated as soon as possible. Sadly I have nothing to report on how well this game works online or in Cross-Play just yet.
Mantis Burn Racing just naturally feels great on the Switch. It doesn’t get an awful lot wrong – the game most assuredly needs a bigger variety in track locations, they do tend to get a tad samey after playing them a few times over. Oh, and give me a bigger variety in background music and could I possibly mix up the look of my vehicles other than their colour? – that’s all I ask – with the single player offering hefty with a bunch of replay value and multiplayer offering up plenty of local laughs. It’s simple to pick up and tricky to master, though when you get a series of drifts one after the other you do feel like a racing God.
Be thankful Mantis Burn Racing made it to the Switch instead of Micro Machines World Series. The undisputed King of the top-down racer is back, and now it’s with you wherever you go.
Mantis Burn Racing is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch (reviewed) and Steam.
Developer: VooFoo Studios.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a review code from the publisher. For our full review policy, please go here.