Mantis Burn Racing is an Early Access game created by indie developer VooFoo Studios out of the UK. It has the potential to be a major player in the race scene. With all early access games, it has its bugs and limitations with what you can do currently.
If you like your Burnout and Need for Speed style racing, you will be angry with this game. It's trying an original yet familiar layout. The layout is a modified version of RC Pro-Am from the NES. The camera reminds me of a helicopter view. It is behind you, but it's high you can see your car and everyone else's car. You can also see exactly what is coming up on the track.
The game play is clear. Being that I play on an Xbox 360 game pad, it's simplistic controls. The shoulder triggers handle acceleration and brakes/reverse. If you're like me, you'll learn that pedal to the metal is not the way to go. You must let go of that trigger on turns. Drifting on turns is simple, especially on dirt roads. Simple doesn't mean successful.
Getting into the drift is as easy as holding the control stick. Then when the turn is over you'll find yourself skidding to straighten out or knocking into a wall. Damage to your car is non-existent. The only time your car resets is when you're turning on a cliff and you fall off the edge. So there is a learning curve that you will have to take into consideration while playing.
The game gives you one stock tuned racing car. It's yours to use as much as you want. However, there are two other cars to use. They are called loaners. It is stated that after you choose a loaner, you will not receive XP or in-game currency using that car. However, to clear a race where you would need an alternate vehicle, it works. As you race and successfully perform turns, your boost meter increases. It's like NOS or nitrous oxide in other racers.
When you turn, you can go all in and attempt to drift or tap the control stick until the road goes straight again. As I stated, sometimes you need an alternate vehicle. Once the radar shows you a straight away, hit boost. On my controller, it was the A button. It's short and replenishes during turns, it's not constant automatic accumulation like in Need for Speed.
While the controls are simple, turning is the hardest part of the game. I'll admit I'm not a racing god, but making a perfect turn is difficult. Maybe it's the car or the dirt road, but turning is key, and I had a hard time with some of more curved paths of the race. To ease the pain of turning, there are small yet noticeable shortcuts in most of the tracks I saw. They are quick and you might not notice them until you pass them. If you have multiple laps, try them; they can shave precious seconds off your time.
As far as the career goes, it's all text from your mechanic. I can see there are no cut scenes or voice over work. There are all the classic career staples like upgrades and different race types. You have your sprint races, time trails, and laps. In-game currency and XP points are there.
One thing that will make the game more fun for gamers is the online mode. Yes, you have local private races and the career mode, but most gamers love playing real people online. I didn't try it, but I can speculate that it's similar to a local race except some or all racers are real people. Some games I've played have you always online; this game gives you the option to receive invites to play online or turn them off.
The graphics are good. They are on par with current games. I've seen better, but these aren't licensed cars. For those of you who don't have an HD screen or your graphics card is lacking, fear not. In the options menu, you can change the graphics quality and other visual option like resolution and even shading. As long as you can get to the options menu, you're good. I'll admit, on my first run with maxed out graphics it froze. I have an Nvidia GeFroce GTX graphics card. However, it's almost two years old. So I went to Medium on all the options, and it didn't freeze next time. The courses are also very good. The environments are clear and concise, they all have proper shadows and lighting. I will say that the traffic most gamers are used to doesn't exist. These tracks are on closed roads.
As I stated earlier, this is an early access game. It has some glitches. Remember this is on my setup, and it's nearly two years old. The metropolis stage freezes during the countdown to start. Certain courses could freeze mid-race. I'm sure when the game is finalized and patched it'll be fine. The developers have made improvements since the initial first time it was early access, but it's still developmental at this point. Don't shy away from this game for glitches. If anyone remembers, Batman Arkham Origins was glitch-happy. After the patches, the game was amazing. In this gamers opinion, this has that same potential.
As is, the game is playable. It has its glitches but not completely broken. I'm keeping my copy until the patches start coming. I played it Early Access on Steam. It will be available for PS4 and Xbox One in its full version. The company VooFoo Studios does take feedback to fix any issue if you comment on it.