There?s nothing quite like hitting a corner in a driving game and just nailing it, so that you know that you decelerated and punched the accelerator just at the right moment. That is the very feeling Mantis Burn Racing is built around, at least that?s what I felt when I discovered it at EGX.
Viewed from the top down, Mantis Burn Racing is an arcade racing game that requires the player to control various off-road vehicles along various tracks, all of which have little short-cuts that can be exploited in order to shave vital seconds from lap times and indeed to beat the other cars.
The tracks that are on a dirt track encourage drifting around corners, but this does come at a cost to speed and acceleration that I personally found difficult to manage while playing Mantis Burn Racing.
Once I did get my head around this a very old muscle memory kicked in from a time in the early 1990s when I used to play Skidmarks for countless hours on my Amiga. Skidmarks was an isometric-view racer, with cars drifting around corners but also slowing down as they did so. This aided me somewhat with Mantis Burn Racing as my racing began to improve while I drew upon this by now 25-year-old instincts that lurked in the back of my brain, laying dormant until this very moment. Thanks brain!
Despite Mantis Burn Racing being in early access and the developers only spending 12 months on it to date, it really plays exceptionally well.
The handling of the cars is fairly convincing, to the point where any mistakes made by the player are pretty much down to them. This is always a good test for any game, but especially for arcade racers that can falter if their basic physics do not at the very least echo the real world in some way. I?m not asking for Gran Turismo levels of simulation here, just none of the weird floaty nonsense that actually plagued the latter games of the Ridge Racer series quite badly.
Currently in early access for Windows PC, Mantis Burn Racing is headed for PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC in Q1 2017.