Mantis Burn Racing is a top-down racing game developed and published by indie developers VooFoo Studios – Released as the first ever PS4 Pro title to support native 4K on PS4 Pro (The other being The Last of Us), Mantis Burn Racing has enjoyed moderate success on PS4, Xbox One and Steam; with the game coming quickly to Nintendo Switch in the coming weeks, we managed to hold an interview with Shaun Read, Creative Director of VooFoo Studios, and Sean Walsh, Marketing & PR Manager of VooFoo Studios – There we got our hands on the latest build of the Nintendo Switch version of Mantis Burn Racing that was shown to audiences at this year’s EGX in Birmingham!
First off, one thing to note that’s immediately apparent when playing the game for the first time is the amount of care and consideration that’s gone into building this title from the existing PS4, Xbox One and Steam versions; Sean Walsh noted to us that “We could’ve just ported the Steam version, lump it out as a buggy, badly optimised mess, and call it a day… But we didn’t want that; we didn’t want to compromise at all on the other system’s experiences” – The game fortunately matches this ideology, running smoothly just short of 60fps (Which VooFoo are aiming to get the game consistently running at before launch) at approximately 720p on Handheld Mode* and 1080p in Docked Mode* (* These aren’t accurate figures; more-so our observations during the interview).
The consideration and care for user experience is also greatly improved from the alternative home console and PC versions of the game, with the Switch version getting two exclusive viewing modes, being Horizon Stability* and Oppositional Splitscreen* (* Not the official names of these modes as the names are still to be decided as of time of writing). Horizon Stability offers up a feature that a lot of gamers have been asking for in Switch racing titles such as Fast RMX and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, where players can use motion controls to play the game in Handheld Mode whilst the game stabilises itself to your viewing angle; Oppositional Splitscreen works great for people facing opposite eachother, as the Nintendo Switch tablet divides itself vertically down the middle of the screen, showing one version of the screen pointing to the left and one pointing to the right, allowing two players to face eachother with less room for coherent screen cheating – As far as us guys at Respawning are aware, we believe these two viewing modes are a first for the Nintendo Switch – If this isn’t the case, then please let us know!
With the Nintendo Switch version of Mantis Burn Racing, players can use either a single Joycon, dual-Joycons, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, Motion Controls and of course the Joycon Wheel, with up to 4 player splitscreen and 8 player LAN and online play; the game features a lengthy 15-25 hour single player campaign, featuring 12 unique seasons, over 200,000 possible modification combinations for each unique car, all previously released DLC for other platforms bundled into the base price, and, most impressively, cross-play between PC and Xbox One – Shaun & Sean did mention that cross-play with PS4 players is possible, however they’re restrained by Sony’s own limitations on the matter, having nearly accidentally activated it once or twice during development!
Moving more onto the development side of things, Shaun & Sean noted that they didn’t have any excessive issues converting Mantis Burn Racing from the other platforms over to the Nintendo Switch, unlike other games made in engines such as Unity or Unreal Engine, Mantis Burn Racing was made in VooFoo Studio’s own home-made game engine, allowing them to literally lump off parts of their engine to save on performance, scaling and power efficiency, wanting to make the most out of the Switch not only on a user interaction standpoint, but also on a technical standpoint – They said that “Working with Nintendo has actually been really, really good; we’ve worked with them in the past on some 3DS titles, Wii U titles, etc, and they’ve been really helpful and interactive”, and say that “The community reception for the Nintendo Switch version of Mantis Burn Racing has been brilliant so far, with a lot of people being very welcoming and excited for the title – Moreso than any other platform we’ve released it on.”
Mantis Burn Racing, at time of writing, is anticipating release digitally on the Nintendo Switch eShop in the coming weeks, aiming for a price point of around £15.99.