This change of direction really works for them, they’ve designed a fun little racing game featuring various tracks and challenges. Like most racing games you can choose from a selection of cars, but first you must unlock them by completing races or challenges. I liked this aspect of the game, mainly because it felt more satisfying to earn better vehicles rather than have them all available from the start. This may have been helped by the fact the first car is practically arse on wheels and anything that came after would feel like an upgrade. You can also upgrade your cars’ stats; again you earn these by completing challenges. It’s refreshing to see a game like this make you earn your content, “oh you want to advance do you?” the game would say, “well back to the start and do it right this time…Faster!”.
There are a variety of tracks available to speed around, well, three to start with, the desert, the city and the harbour. There are more it’s just that they are all themed around those three main areas. I played Mantis Burn on the PS4 and it looks great, a lot of effort has been put in to the small details, be it, lights reflecting in windows or even people standing taking photos. One thing that stuck out for me where the dust clouds in the desert area, they look so detailed, you can tell a lot of effort went in to making this game look good.
The game-play itself is pretty straight forward, go faster than the other cars, racers haven’t really evolved beyond that. Each car feels slightly different to control, so the ability to navigate a track with a different car and unlock shortcuts does a lot to make racing around the same track feel new. For example, certain barriers can be broken down by larger, slower vehicles, but not the fast small ones, affording the larger ones an edge to compensate for the speed reduction. Of course these aren’t available on all tracks. But shut up, I’m trying to make a point here.
As I mentioned, you have the ability to level up your cars with upgrades for suspension, speed and boost and then use your currency to level up the car to improve performance. There are also weekly challenges to complete for which you’ll usually receive an upgrade, meaning if you complete challenges you can upgrade the car and it’ll make racing that bit easier. It’s an interesting idea, it means even if you’re not great at racing games you could grind and upgrade the car to make up for it.
I did have one or two issues with the game however, for example you’ll find between the three distinct vehicle types, they each have their own driving controls so switching between them can be a pain, especially if you’re used to a particular car. The environments can be troublesome as well if you hit a rock, tree or any other scenery you may as well restart the race because it’s pretty much impossible to win (although this could be because I’m not very good at the game).
Loading times can be a bit of a pain, it takes too long for a track to load and if this happens after you have restarted a race for the fifth time, I can tell you it won’t endear itself to many people (it certainly didn’t to me).
But all the issues I had with this game are by no means a deal breaker, the game is fun to play, it really feels like effort went in to make this a fun experience. And with the different vehicles, weekly challenges, online and local multiplayer there will always be new challenges and high scores to beat. There is plenty of content to keep you entertained for a long time, especially if you want to upgrade all the vehicles. All in all I recommend Mantis burn Racing, it’s taken a simple idea, made it look gorgeous and just damn fun to play.