Manic Mechanics review - charmingly chaotic

Wheely fun

characters surrounding a red car
(Image: © 4J Studios)

TechRadar Verdict

Manic Mechanics is the perfect game to sit down and play after a long day, that is, if you need an adrenaline boost. The couch co-op’s simple premise is equally exhilarating and frustrating, resulting in a game you just can’t put down.

Pros

  • +

    Enjoyable multiplayer

  • +

    Simple controls

  • +

    Engaging tasks

Cons

  • -

    Low replayability

  • -

    Dull story

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Review information

Platform reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Available on: Nintendo Switch
Release date: 13 July 2023 

At first glance, Manic Mechanics isn’t anything spectacular. The straightforward but chaotic couch co-op sends players driving through various garages full of vehicles in desperate need of parts. You and a team of up to four players must repair as many cars as possible in some of the most outrageous settings. 

Each garage has a unique layout that changes up team dynamics and workloads. There are also five different locations, each containing five levels with different themes and goals. This means you won’t just encounter cars in this fix-'em-up game; there are also submarines, trucks, and of course, an alien spaceship or two. 

Manic Mechanics isn’t unique in this premise. In fact, it’s very similar to one of my favorite couch co-ops, Overcooked. At first, this made me wary of the mechanical game as I thought it could be a copycat. However, I’m happy to say that this was not the case. 

While Manic Mechanics is similar to Overcooked in its couch co-op chaotic teamwork, there’s enough variety in levels, actions, and tools to distance itself from the other beloved game. With five different map sections unveiling various themes, there’s just enough to learn to keep you engaged but not too much that all the different tools and workstations feel overwhelming. This couch co-op is certainly messy, but it’s equally rewarding.  

Gear up

farm map with UFO flying over

(Image credit: 4J Studios)

You’ll need to familiarise yourself with a few different workstations and tools. Whether you’re pumping tires, charging batteries, or polishing engines, each job requires slightly different skills. Despite some slightly finicky controls, you’re rewarded with faster build times if you master each skill. So when push comes to shove, taking the time to learn the individual actions associated with each tool is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.  

Best Bit

Water map filled with vehicles and tentacles

(Image credit: 4J Studios)

Throwing a polished propeller from across the room, which lands perfectly on the last vehicle that needed fixing with two seconds to go, proving once and for all that I’m the cornerstone of my team.  

Thankfully, not everything is harder than it has to be. While it may seem childish, the color-coding of each workstation is a lifesaver. When you’re running around like a headless chicken color association helps cut down the decision-making time significantly. In turn, this allows you to streamline the building process, making each level infinitely more enjoyable. There were only a few instances that left a bad taste in my mouth thanks to a frustrating layout, but luckily I didn’t have to withstand these for too long as each garage is incredibly fast-paced.

However, just as soon as you think you have the builds down, Manic Mechanics throws yet another obstacle your way. There’s slippery engine oil, exploding batters, and stampeding cows which all can plague your workspace. In one instance, an alien spaceship chased me around the workshop, intently focused on abducting me away from my work. However, this UFO was no match for my throwing arm as just as soon it trapped me in a tractor beam, I launched a charged engine through the air and perfectly into the truck that desperately needed repairs.

Better with Friends 

players driving through the city

(Image credit: 4J Studios)

While Manic Mechanics is entertaining when you play solo, it really shines when you’re part of a team. There are only 25 levels, so the replayability isn’t fantastic; I easily completed everything in 3.5 hours. However, no garage is ever the same when you play with friends. 

The best part of couch co-ops such as this one is how you interact not only with each level but also with your teammates. With several parts always on the go, communication is vital. Before each round, there’s an opportunity to scope out the landscape, see where all the workstations are and make a battle plan. Luckily, after the first five levels, you’ll hopefully fall into good habits when working with friends. 

While this is undoubtedly a good solo game to pass the time if you’re at a loose end, I’d recommend getting a solid team together before diving into the chaotic oil-filled mess that is Manic Mechanics.  

revolving map covered in paint

(Image credit: 4J Studios)

Despite the lack of reasons to replay, Manic Mechanics is worth a go if you’re a fan of couch co-op or eagerly want something in the Overcooked vein without stepping foot into the kitchen. I immensely enjoyed driving through the different garages and experiencing the many controller-breaking, time-crunching highs and lows. 

My ADHD brain loved every second of completing the chaotic tasks that Manic Mechanics offered. Getting to hyper-fixate on several tasks at once is a rarity I truly relish. For this reason, the couch co-op may not be for everyone, especially not if you’re looking for a way to relax, but for those who need some adrenaline, throw your overhauls on and get stuck in. 

Accessibility settings

screenshot of accessibility settings

(Image credit: 4J Studios)

Manic Mechanics has limited accessibility for a Switch game. There’s an option to add subtitles and change their size, as well as selecting more time for each prompt so players can take more time to take in all the information.  

 How we reviewed

I played Manic Mechanics for around 7 hours on my Nintendo Switch OLED handheld and plugged into the TV. I completed all the levels with almost perfect ratings in 3.5 hours and managed to beat the developers’ high scores in the process. While loading times were slightly long, that was more a reflection of the Switch than the game itself. 

I also played it in co-op and solo mode to see how big a difference not having a team made to the enjoyability and ease of Manic Mechanics. While there wasn’t a massive difference, it has to be said that you get the most out of this in terms of entertainment when you play with someone else.  

If you're in search of even more team-bonding experiences, then check out our best co-op games and best online multiplayer Switch games

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 


Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.