I do miss the days of inventive and fun racers as but instead we get those racing games more grounded and project aspects of realism with titles such as Forza. . But Mantis Burn racing sets to reclaim those aspects of a fun, inventive and creative racer. But does it take first place or fall behind?

When I booted up my Xbox One and started Mantis Burn Racing, I felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. If you’re like me you might remember the Micro Machines top down racer. It was very popular and of course has a cult following. But this concept has never been explored again and since then we’ve experienced the rush of intense, realistic racers. In my opinion, racers now days are very humdrum but that’s not to say they’re not made well.

Mantis Burn Racing feels like a refreshing change of pace as a top down, arcade style racer but ultimately it doesn’t live up to the level of wonder that Rocket League had.

As you expect from a traditional racer, there is no story but rather a campaign of endurance and challenges to excel players from the level of a Rookie to that of a Pro racer. Guided by a helpful mechanic, you’ll play through several seasons that measure your skills ranging from Rookie, Pro and Veteran. Each of these seven seasons are broken up into various racing events whether their standard races, timed events or something a little more creative like Knockout or Overtake. There are plenty of events to take part in, which is great for the following reason.

Each of these events/races also includes various optional challenges to complete that reward you with extra gears and XP. XP allows you to upgrade your car and enhance it for later racers, increasing your chances of success during the tougher events. While Gears on the other hand allow you to unlock further events and progress to the next season once you’ve collected enough. What I did like about Mantis Burn Racing was its flow, allowing you multiple paths to choose from in order to obtain gears. This gives players more variation of events to play and the chance to complete events their more comfortable with. Rather than forcing you on a linear course and play events you might not enjoy so much. Even if there’s only a handful of events to choose from.

Players will find Mantis Burn Racing an easy game to integrate with a simple learning curve that doesn’t feel patronising. It can be a game that’s meant to be enjoyed from a causal perspective or something a little more professional.

On a technical level, Mantis Burn Racing is fine. Overall however it felt slightly underwhelming in terms of dynamic features or just the impact of the racing. While there is a great deal to upgrade for your cars, there’s never anything that grips you during the actual races. The levels themselves are crafted well, with some neat touches to encourage risk taking and allow some dramatic tension to occur. Yet there are only two sets of scenery and this does get a little tedious to observe after a couple of hours. It’s either a dusty, rural dirt track layered industrial area or a generic looking city at night time. Events also felt a little restricted with very little feeling new compared to other racers.

Overall, Mantis Burn Racing is a simple, fun and enjoyable racer, great for those looking for a more causal experience. There’s nothing here to truly elevate it to the top rank of racers and lacks any compelling or dynamic elements to keep you invested for the long run. I felt this could’ve been the perfect design for an over the top, extremely weird racing experience which harbours more than the average, grounded racer.

Thankfully there’s DLC for Mantis Burn Racing which looks pretty awesome, adding in some great features and dynamics that players will enjoy. This is paid DLC however and we’ll be taking a look at that in a separate review.

++ Great arcade-style racer
+ Lengthy campaign with good variation
+ Easy to immerse for pro and causal players
- Lack of dynamic features in gameplay
- Limited in track atheistic
- More types of matches needed

An Xbox One copy of Mantis Burn Racing was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review