Review: Mantis Burn Racing (Switch & Xbox One) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review: Mantis Burn Racing (Switch & Xbox One)

by Ty Shughart

The best insect-named racing game since Beetle Adventure Racing!

Mantis Burn Racing is the long-lost son from the noble lineage of top-down racing games like Micro Machines, Super Off-Road, Super Sprint, and also that one that had Duke Nukem in it. It’s an engaging and charming take on the time-honored genre of driving in circles, with an RC feel and extra drifting flavor.

Mantis Burn’s great grandfather

It’s easy to play. Gas, brake, and steer the car. You can get boosts by doing fancy stuff and filling a meter. Over the single-player career, players get upgrades and access to fancy new tiers of cars. Each tier has three cars of its own: a lightweight with fast acceleration, a heavyweight with high top speed and barrier-busting action, and a balanced car. Interesting strategies arise based on vehicle choice due to shortcuts and smacking into other players, so do check out the multiple-car events.

MBR’s raddest feature is cross-platform play. It’s cross-platform as fuck. Switch, XBox One, and PC all play with each other and share a universal leaderboard. As for actually connecting to friends on other platforms, well, just try to join a lobby at the same time. MBR hasn’t quite caught up with League of Legends’ player base yet so it’s pretty easy to find each other. The netplay is solid, with a funny little caveat; the netplay can desync a bit and misreport the positions of opponents. And, for a good time, pick DLC content in the lobby and boot out the impoverished underclass players while shouting at them to get money.

An artist’s rendition of a Switch player enjoying cross-play with his XBox friends

If you wanna go big and get the DLC, there are slippery snow courses, hover-cars, and also rad deathrace modes with guns and mines, which are fun by default. My therapist says I shouldn’t play any more games with guns, but fuck him, right?

On the topic of things people will need therapy for, the engine sound of the first car in the game sounds like a combination of white noise and scalded dogs. It’s bad. It’s the worst. The other cars are fine, but for some reason, that one goddamn car does a perfect impression of broken speakers set to play I LOVE IT WHEN MY BONES TURN INTO PISS AND I CAN'T STOP SCREAMING.MP4.

Mantis Burn Racing is simple and instantly fun, even if there’s a paragraph right above this dedicated to how god-awful one sound effect is. Cross-platform play is real, except for our Sony friends. Come play the racing game with the weird name!

Final Score:
The Switch Take - James

Whereas Ty has been playing on Xbone, I have been playing the Switch version, docked, undocked, online, offline, it all works great and there are no real differences between versions. The cross-play feature really is a stroke of genius, allowing players from different walks of life play together, and it just works without much hassle.
My only gripe concerns the UI’s text size, the devs seem to have not scaled the on-screen text correctly, so what is reasonably readable when playing portably, becomes tiny and completely squint-worthy on the TV.
I second all of Ty’s comments about the game, and whereas it may take itself a lot more seriously than arcadey games like Micro Machines it really is a lot of fun.

Final score: 7.5 / 10

(Review codes for both versions provided by the publisher)

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