When reviewing the game last October, I honestly didn’t think a top down racing game would have me so torn. “Mantis Burn Racing isn’t the most exciting racing game you’ll ever play” I said in reference to the game’s minimalistic presentation, however once I waded through the slow loading times and uncharismatic menus, I found a rather fun arcade racing game with terrific handling and gorgeous visuals. Upon the announcements of not one, but 2 big DLC releases (with one of them costing absolutely nothing), I had rather high hopes for the game’s expansion, especially considering that the actual racing element was pretty spot on; let’s just see if it takes my mind off the game’s bland exterior. In this short article, I will be looking into Mantis Burn Racing’s first update, the free one I should add, entitled Snowbound.
To give you a quick recap, Mantis Burn Racing is a top down, arcade racing game from British studio VooFoo Studios, a band of guys and girls responsible for such table top classics as Pure Chess, Pure Pool and, you guessed it, Pure Hold’em. As well as featuring a fairly decent roster of tracks through cities, caves and sewer pipes, Mantis Burn Racing also features a pretty extensive career mode and garage full of cars to tackle it in. It may not be as action packed or bedazzling as other arcade racers such as Micro Machines, but what it lacks in presentation is more than made up for in its slick and highly satisfying handling and stunning graphics. In my original article, I awarded it a 5 (which upon reflection and revisiting it was perhaps a tad harsh), hence my eagerness to see how the game has been developed since release and how its players have been rewarded during that time, and in all honesty, it’s been improved substantially.
Serving as simply a free update, ‘Snowbound’ ploughs its way on to your PC and consoles in the form of 4 brand new snow themed tracks to tackle, as well as unlocking seasons 2 and 3 of the Veteran career mode, adding 34 new challenges to complete. Being a pessimist, cynic and just someone who has been deeply disappointed by hyped-up free updates in the past, I expected the snow themed tracks to simply be ones already unlocked with a blanket of snow placed on top, but I’m delighted to say that isn’t the case. Each of the 4 tracks (Crevasse, Silo, Research Base and Salvage), are unlike any other track VooFoo have already given you, with thick snow, sharp turns and large jumps added in just to make your race even more treacherous. It’s fair to say that these new tracks are still relatively familiar to what’s already on offer, you’ve got your token tunnels, caves and cliff edges, but they’re more than just cheap remakes, as the snow adds such a perilous and unrivalled level of difficulty to the game that the originality of each track is simply not important. For a player who felt he had mastered the game’s dusty trails and slick city streets, the snow now adds a completely new and unique level of difficulty that, thanks to the already realistic and fantastic handling on offer, can be felt right off the first drift. Veterans who were left pining for more challenges to conquer will no doubt be greatly appreciative of the gift VooFoo bestows of unlocking a further 2 seasons of race events to play through. In all honesty, the additional seasons are simply harder versions of races you’ve already completed, but with a great range of race stipulations on standby and the inclusion of the new snow tracks, you won’t care if you’ve played it before, you need to win and you need to be the best! For those that truly want to experience Mantis Burn Racing at its most punishing, why not combine the new snow tracks with the Elite class hovercrafts featured in the game’s second DLC pack.
Just forget for a second that this downloadable content will cost you nothing, and what you’ve got is a pretty hefty, greatly challenging and fantastic addition to an already solid racing game, that in just a few new tracks has improved it tenfold; the fact that it is free just shows how grateful, humble and genuine the guys at VooFoo are in the wake of the response to their latest title. Snowbound takes Mantis Burn Racing to a whole new level, and whereas fans will have even more reason to get bogged down in the latest challenges and tracks, newcomers have got absolutely no reason to not give this game a go. To reiterate my first review, yes Mantis Burn Racing still may not be the most exciting game you’ll ever play, but that’s just in its presentation, as the actually racing side of things is second to none.