If you grew up like me in the 90s, then you probably remember a little toy line called Micro Machines. That’s what I see while playing Mantis Burn Racing on the PlayStation 4. Speedy little cars drifting and turning on a set track while looking like and ant could sit in the driver’s seat. But as charming as Mantis Burn Racing is with its tiny automobiles, it lacks the excitement that would keep me coming back to race some more. Pair this up with am empty online mode, and you have a generic racing game that is lacking in horse power.
For any racing game, a good selection of cars is a solid starting point. Mantis Burning Racing has an assortment of cars divide among three classes. The Novice class vehicles look and drive like basic stock cars, while the Pro and Veteran class cars look sleeker, but are tougher to control in a race. There are color options to customize each car with, but anything else cosmetic beyond color schemes can’t be changed. In most races I opted for a car with balanced speed and handling, which faired out good more often than not.
Most of my time was spent in the Career Mode, where I raced on tracks for each car class and obtained upgrades for my vehicle. There’s a number of different track layouts you can race on with many twists, turns, and short cuts. However, every track in the game is visually boring with bland backgrounds and very little to pay any mind to.
This might be a good thing for those who are focused intently on the race at hand, but as I raced on the same tracks multiple times I couldn’t help but notice the dull backgrounds. There hardly is anything in the background environment to make each track more distinct than the other.
Graphics aside, a bigger issue lies in Mantis Burn Racing’s computer controlled A.I. opponents. Frequently while racing, the A.I. drivers in Career Mode and single races are either too dumb or impossibly skilled. This happens in races for all three car classes, regardless of how difficult any of the cars may be to drive. Obtaining the upgrades during Career Mode helps alleviate this a tiny bit, but not enough to make a significant difference during races.
Multiplayer is always a big part of racing games online and offline. Local play can be done with up to four players via split-screen, which can be fun when you have friends over. Online multiplayer is a different story however, because the online servers are empty.
On multiple occasions I tried joining a few online lobbies and was left disappointed when I could hardly find anyone to race with. I had only one instance where I matched up with more than one player in a single lobby, though it didn’t last long before everyone began leaving the lobby.
Mantis Burn Racing is a decent racing game that has some flaws. The online mode is very disappointing because not many people are playing the game online, which is a shame. The actual racing itself is the best part, but it’s overshadowed by the rest of the game’s shortcomings. For racing game enthusiast, or anyone looking for something that resembles Micro Machines, Mantis Burn Racing may provide some enjoyment.
This review was based on a digital review code for Mantis Burn Racing on the PlayStation 4, provided by VooFoo Studios.