There have been a lot of download game announcements for the Switch eShop in recent weeks, with Mantis Burn Racing being one in the pack; its developer VooFoo Studios may be familiar to some eShop veterans as it brought us Pure Chess on the Wii U and 3DS eShop. This latest project is a top-down racer with various single- and multiplayer options, and based upon recent social media posts the developer has aspirations to encourage more serious competitive play in the game.
Keen to learn more about what the Switch version will offer later this year we caught up with Sean Walsh, Marketing & PR Manager at VooFoo Studios; we asked about the included content, modes and - naturally - the performance we can expect on Nintendo's diminutive system.
For those unfamiliar with it, can you outline the key details around Mantis Burn Racing?
Mantis Burn Racing is a fun, top-down style racing game that combines real-world ‘fun’ physics with intuitive arcade racing in highly competitive, fast and frenetic races. There’s a huge selection of game modes in the game that challenge every aspect of your driving ability and allow for a quick five minute local race or hour long sessions in the 11-season long career mode. The game’s multiplayer options include 4-player local split-screen racing, a local Wi-Fi multiplayer mode and online options for up to 8 players, making it a highly social and fun game that is a great fit for Nintendo Switch gamers, on the move or at home.
At what point was the decision made to bring Mantis Burn Racing to the Nintendo Switch?
We want Mantis Burn Racing to be available to as many gamers as possible, on as many different consoles as possible, so we knew we wanted to bring it to the Nintendo Switch pretty much as soon as the console was announced. More importantly, it’s one of the most exciting consoles to be released in recent years with a unique feature set that is such a great fit for our top-down style racing game. Just like the Switch, Mantis Burn Racing is built around multiplayer and social play. For that reason we believe our game will really appeal to Switch owners looking for a fun racing challenge, whether playing on their own or against friends.
Starting with the Career mode, can you talk about the progression through the campaign? Can players anticipate quite a lengthy career experience?
With all of the DLC packs released to date included in the Nintendo Switch version of the game, I can safely say that Switch players are getting a really extensive career experience! Standard careers are set across three difficulty levels, Rookie, Pro and Veteran, each comprising of three seasons. Add to that a stand-alone career for our super-fast ‘Elite’ hover vehicles and another for the destructive ‘Battle Cars’, and that’s over 160 events with 3 mini-challenges for each. To fully complete the campaign will take players around twenty to twenty-five hours; so there’s a lot of depth and replay-ability in the game.
As the Switch edition includes all of the DLC, can you tell us how that's introduced and how it fits into the game? For example are the 'Snowbound' tracks worked into the Career mode?
The ice and snow-themed ‘Snowbound’ tracks integrate into the campaign after Veteran Season 1, but can be played both locally and multiplayer from the start. As mentioned, ‘Elite’ class vehicles and’ Battle Cars’ have their own stand-alone careers that are also available straight away, and can also be used on all tracks in all event types. ‘Battle Cars’ also introduce their own events in ‘King of the Track’, ‘Survival’ and ‘Accumulator Rumble’.
In terms of the local multiplayer, can you break down how many players are supported in each option?
We will be supporting up to four players on a single system in local split-screen races, which is so much fun. We will also be supporting local wireless play, allowing up to eight players to race each other in the same room without the need for an internet connection.
Can you outline the setup and options for jumping into online races?
We use a very simple Lobby system that allows players as much or as little control over the racing as they desire. Hosting a lobby provides the player with a host of options from the obvious, such as track and car selection, to more fine grained choices such as the use of upgrades or to race with a level field. If you’re happy to go with the flow, just join another player's lobby and get racing within a couple of button presses.
Does this support single Joy-Con play?
It does. Controls have been re-mapped to match standard controls as closely as possible.
Is HD Rumble supported?
Mantis Burn Racing supports HD Rumble and there are noticeable improvements over standard, it really adds to the racing experience. It’s widely agreed in the VooFoo office that Switch rumble is by far and away the best haptic feedback of any console.
How has the development process worked out on Nintendo Switch, in terms of challenges and unique considerations when working on the system?
The game was built using our own propriety game and physics engine and we’ve spent a lot of time porting this architecture to Switch, which is quite a big undertaking, as well as optimising the framerate. Of course there have been challenges, but we’re really pleased with how the game plays on Switch. As a new console, we’ve had to get to grips with new possibilities to ensure we are making best use of the Switch’s unique features. We’re really pleased to have implemented ‘cross-table’ play, which enables players to go head-to-head in 2-player local split screen races using individual Joy-Cons at opposite sides of the Switch. Players can also steer by tilting the Switch to the left and right in handheld mode, which offers a fun, intuitive way to race.
Can you confirm the resolution and frame rate across docked, portable and split-screen modes?
The game defaults to try and run at 60fps in all modes. However, if players prefer a consistent frame rate there is an option to lock it to 30fps and split-screen modes will always default to 30fps. In terms of resolution, we decided the best experience was achieved by offering a better frame rate and slightly dropping the resolution, which isn’t really noticeable.
You have multiple titles coming to the Switch; what are the biggest factors attracting you to the system?
As I mentioned earlier, we want our games to be on as many platforms as possible. We want to reach out to more and more gamers and the Switch gives us a great opportunity to do that whilst offering new, unique ways to experience our games. Of course, the Switch is going from strength to strength, which certainly makes it attractive to developers, and with Nintendo’s support for ‘Nindies’ we’re really excited that the Switch can become a lead platform for us.
Do you have a final pitch for the game that you'd like to share with our readers?
We really feel Mantis Burn Racing is a fantastic fit for the Nintendo Switch. The game has been built around addictive ‘one-more-go’ style social gameplay and a highly competitive multiplayer experience, both of which translate fantastically well to the Switch. The game looks and plays great on Switch and the reaction we’ve had to the announcement, across social media and when talking to gamers at shows like EGX, has been nothing short of amazing. There’s nothing like it currently on Switch and we’ve worked hard to give Nintendo players the chance to play the best version of the game, we can’t wait to bring classic top-down racing back to a Nintendo console!
We'd like to thank Sean Walsh for his time.