‘Mantis Burn’ does not sound appealing, I’ll be honest with you. That was my first reaction when I heard about it, and I believed it to possibly be a messy game. But on opening the game for the first time – and after the dull text introduction – you find that it is not messy. In fact, it’s actually very slick.
You start out in Career mode, with Rookie difficulty, which does the job of getting you started with the basics. You have three seasons as a Rookie, three seasons followed as a Pro, then three as a Veteran, before ending with a season each in Elite and Battle. This large campaign for you to compete in is very fun to play through – with such a large selection of events and races to compete in. This gives you plenty of content to play through.
As you progress, Mantis Burn incorporates a lot of events you can unlock. A mode titled Accumulator requires you to be in first place as long as possible to win. The driver in first place gets points the quickest, and the first driver to get to 10,000 points wins. Accumulator is fun and personally one of my favourite event modes in the game.
Hot Lap is a mode where you’re up against other racers competing for the very best lap time. So, it doesn’t matter if you have an off lap as long as you have the fastest lap. This mode is very fun, as you never know what is going to happen. Knockout is a mode where you can not be last when crossing the finish line, otherwise you’re out. It’s fun with 6-8 cars, but with 4 cars it becomes far too difficult. Time Trial’s are also scattered about, but these are not too enjoyable and I wish they were in a separate mode altogether.
Overtake is the most recent mode that I have come across – it places you against the Computer cars in overtaking as much traffic as you can. It seems like a fun mode and is a good idea, but, in the earlier parts of the game, sometimes you go several laps without overtaking any traffic. This can make this mode extremely dull. You can race your very best and don’t manage to win, based on the fact that you started in a less fortunate position than another racer. So to put it simple, it’s disappointing.
To make amends, at the end of each season, you play a League Competition. This puts you up against 7 different cars, in different vehicles, where you race between 3 and 5 races and compete to win the League. I found the League modes to be the best of the lot. These are really fun, and I was always determined to win all the races inside it.
With each new path (Rookie, Pro, Veteran etc.), you gain new vehicles. To start with, they’re all quite weak, and don’t look too nice either. Progressing gains you more vehicles with better speed, acceleration, and better looks. However, they’re all pretty much upgraded versions of each other; the light class cars look exactly the same albeit, as do the medium and large. This is disappointing, but at the end of the day, it’s the stats that really make a difference.
The game comes with a variety of courses as well. When I say a variety, I mean there are a lot of courses, but they all feel the same. Multiple stages just feel too identical which can make things dull. Maybe this was intentional, but I wish there was more effort in making unique courses.
Outside of Career Mode, which is most certainly the main hub of where everything goes on in the game, everything appears to fall quiet. Wireless mode requires another Switch console, Local requires a dual set of controllers, and then there is online play. At the time of writing, I decided to give online mode one more go before I gave up on it, after failing to find a lobby every single time. I finally found a lobby though, and when it did work, it worked smoothly. To be fair, I was impressed with how smoothly it ran. It’s a start, and with the small player base, it’s the most basic an online server can be…but it works! Even if it only works some of the time.
Another positive to take away from Mantis Burn is the Weekly Challenge. This sets you up with a task that you must complete. For example, I was given the task of racing around one of the tracks – Storm Drain – for three laps in the quickest time possible.
One little detail that they have implemented very well is the HD Rumble. Whenever you skid, you can feel every detail of it, or even when you knock in to something. It is a small detail, but it’s a nice touch. The graphics in the game are beautiful, and every little aspect of the courses look impressive – even the buildings look realistic.
My main issue with Mantis Burn Racing is the lack of content outside the Career mode. Half the icons on the Top Left don’t seem to have much meaning. Wireless and Local are pretty much the same thing, whereas the Online doesn’t work a lot of the time. Career is basically the only mode I could use.
Mantis Burn Racing is a strong racer, and a very impressive one at that. career mode really is excellent, with so many things to do inside it. There isn’t too much to do outside of career mode though. Mantis Burn Racing is a fun, enjoyable game that really excels in its single player, and if you enjoy the Racing genre, then you should consider adding this to your Switch library.