HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewManic Mechanics Review

Manic Mechanics Review

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Just like the old saying goes, you’re waiting for one bus, then two come along at once. Well, I wasn’t exactly asking for another mechanic sim game, but nevertheless here comes my second one on the bounce, right after the rather enjoyable Speed Crew. Manic Mechanics once again looks to test your ability to repair as many vehicles as possible against the clock.

The action in Manic Mechanics takes place across Octane Isle, where the Master Mechanic in each of the six neighbourhoods lies in wait to test your mettle. There are a wide range of vehicles that will require your attention, from everyday cars and tractors to UFOs. 

Manic Mechanics review 1
Should you join the Manic Mechanics?

Each level presents an endless supply of machines which need seeing to, with a handy set of screens showing the parts which are required. Spares are provided via a conveyor belt, which you will need to pick up and take to the appropriate work station. Premium parts will also appear from time to time (handily signalled by a distinct sound) and these require no work, but instead are ready to be used immediately.

You’ll need to interact with each part differently, and fill the gauge bar to the green area before completing the repair. For example, tapping X and keeping the dial in the green area will ensure tyres are ready to be used again. Once this is complete, reattaching them to the vehicle will bag you the points, and clear the way for the next one. The easiest way to do this is to chuck the parts at the machine, as they will automatically attach themselves when they get so close. Dashing around the level is also crucial, and can increase your throw distance.

Things start off incredibly simple. In fact, I found that I needed the exact same parts each and every time for the first few levels. However, the gameplay slowly develops with the addition of the electrifying table, buffer and other tools that essentially add an extra step to the repair process. However, that’s about as difficult as it gets. New items are introduced but it doesn’t develop the gameplay, you can use the same processes as before. Certain automatic stations are brought into play, but this just makes things easier in all honesty.

Instead, it’s the layout of the levels in Manic Mechanics which can prove the most challenging. Portals, moving platforms and even water will make you stop and think, especially when you’re carrying electricity. This is where the Master Mechanic battles differ and offer a challenge, because there’s a lot more going on.

These encounters are effectively boss battles, where the head honcho will throw all sorts of hazards at you to try and stop you in your tracks. In a refreshing change of pace when it comes to these types of games, I had no major issues with the controls in Manic Mechanics. They work well overall, even in these situations. At times a whole manner of things were being thrown at me, but I never felt like the control setup struggled to keep up.

Manic Mechanics review 3
Electrifying?

Each level has three cogs up for grabs depending on how you fare, and a high score to beat which pushes you a little further. I managed to get maximum cogs on all levels with very little difficulty, mostly because there are very few (if any) spanners thrown into the works. This isn’t to say that Manic Mechanics isn’t fun, because it is. However, its varying biomes offer very little variation in the gameplay structure, bar one which does something noticeably different.

When you earn thirty cogs, a spooky area right at the start of the hub area will open up. This haunted region feels like DLC, because it’s markedly different from the rest of the game. This is simply because you can be turned into a ghost, which prevents you from repairing items, but still allows you to carry stuff around and avoid any interruptions. Certain items will also need to be cleansed of ectoplasm before they can be used, and trick or treat bags will occasionally appear on the conveyor belt that may help or hinder you. If changes of this ilk were constantly drip fed into Manic Mechanics, it would go some way to prevent the repetition that quickly creeps in.

The hub world is how you navigate, and is reminiscent of retro kart racers such as Diddy Kong Racing, where you can zip around the map travelling from level to level. Different characters have their own customised karts too which is nothing short of adorable. There is a smidge of exploration, in terms of honking your horn at, or boosting into certain things to unlock secrets, such as new characters to play as. There are lots of different folks you can choose from as it happens, but they are all cosmetically different, and don’t affect how you play the game. 

And Manic Mechanics looks typical of the genre, clearly aimed at all ages. The bold, bright key colours help you keep track of the action, especially when it all gets a bit hectic, and before each level starts you have the opportunity to study the setup and get your bearings. 

Manic Mechanics review 2
A range of vehicles

Solo gamers will find there’s enough to keep them busy for a few hours in Manic Mechanics, however as is the case with these type of games, there’s more to be had from playing with others. The campaign can be played with friends, or there’s a versus mode if you prefer to go toe to toe. You can also head online to link up with friends too by joining their game or hosting your own.

The drop in and out functionality for the main campaign is sleek (just make sure you’re signed in otherwise you won’t be able to join via the in game option) but the versus mode is the most fun. You can select from various levels, and go head to head for the high score. As well as nicking parts from each other, you can also chuck shock bombs to derail your opponent’s progress, as well as turn into metal and dash through them to knock them down. It’s simple enough, but a good laugh.

I should point out too, that at £19.99 Manic Mechanics feels a tad expensive. The main campaign will probably last you around four hours, so it really depends how much you’ll get out of multiplayer as to whether you want to part with your cash.

Couch co-op games such as this are ten-a-penny these days, however if you don’t mind an easy ride Manic Mechanics is an enjoyable repair ‘em up, at least whilst it lasts.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Tight controls
  • Looks attractive
  • Easy to pick up and play
Cons:
  • Simple, repetitive gameplay
  • Limited longevity
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, 4J Studios
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 7 March 2024 | £19.99
Darren Edwards
Darren Edwards
I have been playing games since a very early age, thanks to my Dad's encouragement. I've been an Xbox gamer since the very beginning, the Master Chief is to thank for that. I'm also a big Nintendo geek, and my other half is a PlayStation nut. I'll play pretty much anything in any genre (although FIFA and COD maybe pushing it).
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Tight controls</li> <li>Looks attractive</li> <li>Easy to pick up and play</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Simple, repetitive gameplay</li> <li>Limited longevity</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, 4J Studios</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 7 March 2024 | £19.99</li> </ul>Manic Mechanics Review
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