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PS4 Game Review
With the proliferation of games both premium and independent, across most platforms, new entries have to have particular signature moments to stand out from the crowd.
Mantis Burn Racing, from VooFoo studios (who previously developed Pure Pool, Pure Chess and Big Sky Infinity, amongst others), seems to be a bit of a departure. Mantis is a top down driving game, not a million miles away from Micromachines.
The developers have gone for a fairy traditional structure. You get your main career mode, which is introduced in the tutorial section. You progress from an amateur to the pro races with each season being further split into several races. A lot of the races have both a primary and secondary goals to achieve and through your wins you gain both XP, which unlocks better cars and upgrades, and Gear, which unlocks the final race. Effectively, it’s a RPG on wheels.
There are three classes of car to reflect your progress from amateur to professional, with each class allowing access to three different vehicles. On the plus side the career mode is surprisingly deep allowing players different ways of progressing. Likewise, VooFoo have tried to keep the game's ascetic based in the realish world, so you don’t get weapons or power-ups, just plain racing.
The game's controls are both intuitive and responsive; you’re going to need this on some of the lighter cars which have a tendency to throw their rear ends all over the track.
The lack of variation in the tracks is amply made up with the game having the ability to play in both local modes, with up to four players, split screen, as well as an online option. It’s here that the game shines and it starts to make a lot of sense why the career seemed a little sparse. I’m thinking that the developers primarily created the career mode just so you can practice, develop your skills and cars, before taking your prized possession online to get your arse handed to you by some snotty ten year old, but hey, them’s the breaks.
The game does have some limitations. The music isn’t that great, but that’s just a personal thing. I couldn’t get it to work with the PSVita, which was a shame for casual online gaming, the settings allow you to change the audio, graphics and display. You can also turn the vibration on or off, but no chance to change the button settings.
To be honest although there are some limitations VooFoo have produced a something here which is a partial homage to previous games but with enough of its own not to be a direct copy. Of course, much of the game's longevity will rely on an active online community.
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