“Mantis Burn Racing isn’t the most exciting racing game you’ll ever play” is what I said when first reviewing this title almost 12 months ago. Though it wasn’t a bad game (the actual racing for instance was excellent), it was pretty minimalistic and the loading screens were painfully long, so I scored it a mediocre 5 out of 10. A few months later however, VooFoo Studios released 2 cheap and fantastic expansion packs that really made me re-examine the perhaps unfair judgement I gave the game at first glance. Now they’ve released a third expansion entitled ‘Battle Cars’ and I honestly find myself eating those words. Mantis Burn Racing is now by far one of the most exciting racing games I’ve ever played, and for just shy of £15, you can discover that too!
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 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 initially seem as action packed or bedazzling as other arcade racers, 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. The ‘Elite Pack’ gave accomplished drivers much more of a challenge with an extended and much more difficult career mode, whereas the amazing and free update ‘Snowbound’ gave drivers a bunch of tough snowy tracks that literally added a punishing new layer to your career. The third expansion, Battle Cars, explodes onto PC and console, and with it brings all new vehicles equipped with armour, mines and a devastating machine gun, all primed and ready to blow up your opponents and take first place! Just from the trailer I was blown away, so I was eager to see for myself how the Battle Cars contributed to the overall game, a game that I once described as dull. I’m not a huge fan of swearing, but sometimes there is a time and a place for it, like here for instance, as Battle Cars is f**king insane and I f**king love it!
Battle Cars features, well Battle Cars, 3 brand-new and highly destructive armoured vehicles ready to go grill first into each track and do whatever it takes to win. Similarly, to the likes of Micro Machines, your rapid-fire machine gun will tear up your opponents with ease, whilst the mines that drop behind you will stop your oncoming rivals with a satisfying kaboom! Your competitors too will also seek out the same results, so scattered around each track is a number of repair stations, where by driving over them will restore your car’s stability and endurance, essential for some of the most brutal new game modes that this update supplies. The vehicles not only look cool, but they each have their own unique handling and stats, meaning even the easiest of race tracks will need reassessing in these barbaric vehicles, adding a refreshing spice to even the blandest of track. Though there are no new tracks included in this update, a whole bunch of chaotic, explosive and hugely competitive race types have been added, and each of these will challenge you greatly, even on those tracks you knew like the back of your hand; If you thought the slippery snow-capped cliffsides were tough to navigate around, just wait until you’re avoiding rapid fire machine guns on them. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, Battle Cars also delivers a brand-new career extension of 26 new challenges, which for the first time are accessible regardless of how far you’ve progressed through the original. You may be cruising through the same dozen or so tracks in this new career, however never before have they been so diabolical and outrageously fun, especially considering the new Battle element has been applied to all your favourite race types.
This is the first expansion pack that has focused solely on game modes, and boy are they fun and treacherous to play. It’s fair to assume that there can’t be much variation when it comes to a racing title’s game modes, however what Battle Cars brings is 2 new and greatly unique race types as well as a much more chaotic update to an already existing one. Accumulator Rumble is a dangerous update to the pre-existing Accumulator mode where points are awarded for overtaking, jumping and drifting, however now points are also granted if you can blow up your rivals, and unfortunately the same goes for them. Survival is a new gut wrenching game mode that tasks you with being the last racer standing, by blowing up your opponents and ensuring you don’t lose your one and only life. Finally, the flag ship of the update, King of the Track, a race type that tasks you with blowing up the King, obtaining the crown and holding onto it for dear life, as each checkpoint you pass awards you with a point. All 3 of these game modes are tremendous fun and add a whole new level of difficulty and stress to the already challenging racing game, making this an essential purchase for both new and existing fans of the title. The one thing that does stop this from being a perfect expansion however is the AI, who since receiving weapons have suddenly become erratic and stupid. The Battle element has been applied to almost every pre-existing race type, and in most circumstances the best and quickest way to win is by blowing up anyone who comes close, however in some races that only require you to defeat the leader, it’s unnecessary and frustrating to be blown up in 7th place, serving no purpose to both you and the nob who blew you up. You could argue that I’m being a sore loser by bringing this up, but you’ll quickly understand what I mean when the AI in first place is 10 seconds in front because the losing AI is just obsessed with needlessly blowing each other up. The unfair, unbalanced AI aside, the new Battle element and new modes are outright bonkers and make this the most fun and exciting addition to the game thus far.
Retailing at just £1.99, this maniacal expansion really takes Mantis Burn Racing onto a whole new level, bringing with it that explosive excitement I so badly craved for when I first played this game in 2016. I recently reviewed Micro Machines: World Series, which was in all honesty a grave disappointment from a single player perspective, so if you’re looking for something similar, better and cheaper, then look no further than Mantis Burn Racing and all of its glorious DLC.
As we dont just cover the game and some DLC out of the blue, here is everything else including the original game review