Emma Withington gets hands on with Mantis Burn Racing on the Nintendo Switch…
Mantis Burn Racing fits the Nintendo Switch like a glove, as you instantaneously pick-up-and-play and zoom around the tracks with relative ease. Mantis Burn Racing has a broad appeal and naturally lends itself to the Switch audience with its focus on social, localised gaming – offering a bunch of ways to get the most out of the Switch, and your friends. Mantis Burn Racing’s social side contains 8 player online, local WI-Fi multiplayer for up to 8 players in the same room, and 4 player local split-screen; to be enjoyed on your TV, or via the neat table-top mode unique to the Switch. In ‘cross-table’ play, a mode I have not previously seen demonstrated, you and a buddy each take a Joy-Con and sit opposite each other in a literal head-to-head race at opposing ends of the Switch. An excellent boredom-buster for a long journey with a companion – it also gives your pal the chance to run away if you suffer from virtual road rage, they might not get away if they are sat beside you…I may be talking from experience. “A key consideration for us was understanding how we could take advantage of the Switch’s unique features and we’re really pleased to have added ‘cross-table’ play,” said Sean Walsh, Head of Marketing and PR at VooFoo Studios, “we’re also using the Switch’s motion controls to enable players to steer by tilting the switch to the left and right, with the horizon remaining fixed – which is a pretty fun and intuitive way to race.”
SEE ALSO: Video Game Review – Mantis Burn Racing
We had the chance to test out the Mantis Burn Racing DLC which was released earlier this year. How? Switch owners will be getting the definitive version of Mantis Burn Racing, featuring the full game and its DLC: “We see the Switch as the home of Mantis Burn Racing,” said Sean Walsh, “while Mantis Burn Racing has seen relative success on consoles and Steam, it sits really well on the Switch.” So not only will you get the 11 season career, which provides 20-25 hours worth of content, but the ‘Battle Cars’, ‘Elite Class’, and ‘Snowbound’ packs to boot.
SEE ALSO: First DLC packs available now for Mantis Burn Racing, watch the trailers here
As you race around on the visually pleasing snow-covered tracks, you can feel the traction differences and the need to control your car accordingly – it’s subtle things like this that make Mantis Burn Racing, as a top-down racer, feel advanced. While it hearkens back to the classic Micro Machines template, it carries a smooth, modern touch – particularly in physics and environmental design – and reminded me of racers such as Motorstorm, which also had its very own top-down racer: Motorstorm RC. Let’s not forget the ‘Elite Class’ which brings three WipEout-esque hover vehicles, and its own stand-alone career to test your mettle.
‘Battle Cars’ were brought in due to popular demand: “The focus was to make Mantis Burn Racing a proper top down racer without any gimmicks,” Said Shaun Read, Creative Director, “but the idea of a battle mode was one of the main things fans were asking for, so we decided to put it in as an extension of the game, rather than dominating the top-down racer at its core.” Even with ‘Battle Cars’ sitting to sate your Mario Kart desires, it is a much more tactical brawler. There are no pick-ups scattered around the track (aside from repair pads), your on-board machine guns activate after the first checkpoint and overheat after long bursts. Mines come in to play after the first lap and you are given three to use per consecutive lap, so use them wisely. While this may not sound as enticing – the carnage is real, and is barrels of fun – even when you all end up in a Michael Bay situation!
Being PlayStation 4 Pro’s first native 4K title running at 60fps, the main challenge involved porting the build into the Switch and retaining as much visual fidelity as possible. “Mantis Burn Racing was built using our own game and physics engine, so we spent a lot of time transferring this architecture to Switch, which is a pretty big task,” explained Sean Walsh, “We’ve also spent a lot of time optimising the frame rate and learning what can be done to squeeze every bit of power out of the Switch. We have now got the game running at 60fps, which, for such a graphically intense game, is very pleasing.” From experiencing the game on the Switch’s 6.2 inch screen and on what was roughly a 5o inch TV, Mantis Burn Racing remains crisp, didn’t make a jarring transition between the two, and played well on both. That being said, I favoured the handheld while playing Mantis Burn Racing, being able to look down at a top-down felt like the perfect way to play!
Mantis Burn Racing is set to be released on the Switch by the end of the year, and makes an excellent choice in expanding to the Nintendo console. The Switch market is not yet saturated with top-down racers, or crowded with game content, and so Mantis Burn Racing fits a nice gap in the market; while being absolutely full of features which suit to the Switch down to the ground. We look forward to checking out the full package, when it’s released!
Mantis Burn Racing is a visually stunning, action-packed top-down racing game that combines real-world ‘fun’ physics with intuitive controls in highly competitive ‘one-more-go’ style races that players of all ages and abilities can enjoy. Prove your race skills in 5 unique classes of vehicles over an extensive 11-season career with multiple challenges in fast, frenetic, bumper-to-bumper races where winning is everything!
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