I was lucky enough to attend a preview event for Mantis Burn Racing this last week. In case you haven’t been fortunate enough to give this one a whirl yet, it’s a sweet little top down racing game, with more dedication, hard work, and crazy physics crammed into it than you can imagine. Sound interesting? I got to play it for a little while and have a chat with the devs, and I can tell you now – I liked what I saw.
It’s interesting to see not only a top down camera angle for a racing game, but one that isn’t just set on a plain old track. It’s one of the first things that drew me to this game – there’s colour, there’s variety, and more customisation than you can shake a stick at. Car parts and paint jobs can be swapped out with various parts and such that you unlock as you play, and when you combine that with the three tiers of vehicle, there’s so much to choose from. The dune buggy is a nippy little car that lets you rocket around the track, but it’s prone to skidding and toppling over if you go too fast, which is exactly what I did (I never claimed to be much good at racing games), whereas some of the sturdier cars can withstand that a little more, but are a lot slower.
There’s clearly been a lot of thought put into this, and considering this is from the guys who made pool and chess games before (aka, nothing like a racer), this is seriously impressive. There are two main “stages,” if you will, a desert track, and New Shanghai, full of glitz, glamour, and city lights, and you’re not just pigeonholed into one. Some of the tracks will go through both areas, just to keep you on your toes.
There’s also a cool upgrade system for your cars – you start off with three slots to attach upgrades to, and can earn more as you go – this is unlimited, too. So that’s not only replay value, that’s a hell of a lot of fun, and promotes strategic building. You want to win a race? Study the track, study the terrain, and get building your perfect car.
It’s a really nice change to see a racing game that actually encourages a reward other than simply winning, and it’ll keep the players going for a long time. Then you’ve got the added boon of online and local multiplayer. I work in a game shop. I get people asking me for games with local multiplayer at least once a week, and it’s becoming nigh impossible to find something that doesn’t rely on you having an online account, and it’s a crying shame for those who want to play couch co-op. Mix that in with plans for free DLC and some bigger, paid additions to the game, I feel Mantis Burn Racing will go far.
While it’s not due out for a little while (apart from Steam, where it’s available on Early Access), I’d keep an eye out for this one. The devs are going to be at EGX next week, so I’d advise you all to wander on over and go and give the game a try. Hopefully, you’ll be better at the actual racing than I was…