Title: Mantis Burn Racing
Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Developer: VooFoo Studios
Official Site: https://voofoo.games/game/mantis-burn-racing/
Racing games have never really been my favorite genre. Chalk it up to the fact that I’ve never been a big car guy in general I suppose. Despite this, I found myself enjoying Mantis Burn Racing, even if it didn’t really reinvent the wheel.
Published and developed by Voofoo Studios, Mantis Burn Racing is a top-down racer that pits players against each other and computers, allowing them to play and choose through a variety of different tracks, cars, and abilities. Track settings will vary from cities to deserts to snowy landscapes, while cars come with specific specialties (traction, speed, power) that can be upgraded accordingly. To get those upgrades, players traverse Mantis Burn Racing’s lengthy Career Mode.
With the help of a nameless mechanic, the Career Mode guided me through single races, time trials, and multi-tiered events. At first, it is structured surprisingly well. The pace at which new cars and upgrades are unlocked work accordingly with the amount of skill I found myself developing with each passing race. The more I played Mantis Burn Racing though, the less progression continued and the more the repetition set in.
Over time tracks repeat themselves, as do the events. With such a long career mode, it makes sense that these issues occur. While the different race modes are introduced as a way to combat that issue, the core mechanics and objectives of the game remain the same. The only event that truly felt replayable where battle events.
Similar to Micro Machines and GTA: Online’s Tiny Racers Mode, battle events add a combat aspect to the game. In these events, vehicles are equipped with a machine gun and are given land mines after the first lap (three per lap). Battle events not only add variety, but help the underlying issue Mantis Burn Racing sometimes faces, where the first two cars hold too big of an advantage at the start of a race. Instead of being able to avoid the pile-up at the back, front cars now have to worry about the target on their backs.
Just like any other racing game, Mantis Burn Racing also benefits heavily from playing with friends or online. While multiplayer events can also suffer from some of the issues mentioned above, elite and battle events result in a hell of a lot of chaotic fun when playing online or split screen co-op. Outside of those two events though, it will really depend on who you are playing with to create a fun atmosphere though.
Speaking of atmosphere, one of Mantis Burn Racing’s biggest flaws comes down to the lack of energy the game exudes sound effect and music wise. Instead of loud cars, crashes, and a dynamic supporting soundtrack, I found myself listening to a podcast or music when I was playing the game instead. In game sounds were just quiet or lacking. When it comes down to it, the diegetic and non-diegetic really just don’t match up to the game’s nature. Which is a shame because the environments are damn pretty.
Despite the fact that the maps, and even the laps, would recycle to the point of tedium, the courses and their lighting was always enthralling. Drifting around city streets and carving through dimly lit caves never failed to impress me visually. Again though, playing the same map 30 times, with only one shortcut, will wear you down pretty fast.
The biggest strength for Mantis Burn Racing is that it takes aspects of past racing and top-down racing games and molds them into one game. But the game also fails to implement anything inventive or exciting with those mechanics, instead of playing it safe when it comes to gameplay. On top of that, the cars just don’t really seem to fast more often than not. While drifting can definitely be satisfying, it isn’t until hover cars are introduced in elite that things seem fast paced.
Verdict: Overall, Mantis Burn Racing is a fun, if not flawed, racing experience. Many will enjoy the game at first, but eventually, fall off due to repetition. Others will find nostalgia in the game’s similar racing mechanics, alongside being able to enjoy the mayhem of racing against friends. It is really a toss-up as to whether you’ll enjoy this top-down racer or not, but I certainly had fun with it.
Mantis Burn Racing Review
- Elite and battle modes
- Map visuals
- Combines racing genre aspects
- Lengthy Career Mode
- Map and car variety
- Larthargical audio
- Doesn't do anything new