Title image for Manic Mechanics showing mechanics repairing broken down cars.

Manic Mechanics Review

Game: Manic Mechanics
Genre: Party, Arcade, Multiplayer
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer | Publisher: 4J Studios
Age Rating: US Everyone | EU 3+
Price: US $24.99 | UK £19.99 | EU € 22,99
Release Date: July 13th, 2023

Review code used, with many thanks to The 4J Studios.

Manic Mechanics is the first game which 4J Studios have both developed and published. It’s a co-op game to play with friends on the couch, via a local network or online. However, you can play solo without the need to control multiple characters. I tested the couch option for this review, playing solo and multiplayer.

Will it be a pit stop worthy of a Formula 1 team, or will I be calling the breakdown truck?

Get Ready to Repair!

Manic Mechanic city landscape, with a road weaving between buildings leading to the next level.
Hub World

Octane Isle is the setting for Manic Mechanics. There are five distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own Master Mechanic. They will test your repairing skills over four levels and then challenge you directly on the fifth.

The first neighbourhood is Betty’s Scrapyard, and although you can drive straight into the first level, you can visit the tourist information (aka tutorial). The tutorial doesn’t explain all the different mini-games you’ll encounter. However, it certainly gives the basics and explains them one step at a time.

Inside a garage with the function of each workbench being displayed.
Overview of workbench functions.

As you start each level, you see where each workbench is and what function it has. You then have four minutes to repair as many vehicles as you can. You grab a broken part from the conveyor belt and take it to the workbench to fix or paint. Occasionally, fixed premium parts will appear on the conveyor belt, and you get bonus points for using these to repair a vehicle.

At the scrapyard repair area, with a mechanic playing the inflating a tyre mini-game.
Mash the button to inflate the tyre.

Each workbench contains a mini-game to fix the part. It could be mashing or holding a button as the mini-game dial reaches the green area. Stop before, and you won’t make any progress. There’s a really helpful ‘station assist’ function, which removes the skill from the mini-game. The part is fixed by simply holding down a button.

You and your team need to gain a target number of points to gain a cog to progress to the next level. Only once in the 25 levels did we fail to score enough points on our first attempt. Generally, we gained 2 or 3 cogs first try. The number of points needed for each cog varies according to the number of players.

There’s Danger in the Garage

Inside a garage, with a water area buzzing from electricity, and the mechanics falling over.
Who took the battery into the water?

As you progress through the different neighbourhoods, you encounter different challenges. In Ohmar’s Arcade, you charge and use batteries to make electric motors. There’s an assembly line to manage and lava to avoid in Otto’s Industries. Water floods into the garage at Verne’s Aquapark, making it difficult to get around and throwing the battery across the water was tricky but necessary to stop getting electrocuted.

At Roz's Ranch, with a UFO approaching one of the mechanics.
Watch out for the tractor beam!

Finally in Roz’s Ranch, there are cows, sheep and UFOs to avoid. It’s frustrating being chased around by the UFO, inevitably getting sucked up and then shooting out the silver pipe (on the right of the photo) a few seconds later.

Manic Mechanics Achievements

Inside a garage with a pop-up box saying “Achievement Unlocked. Photo Finish. Repair a vehicle with 1 second left on the clock”.
Another achievement unlocked!

You know I like achievements, and it’s great to find 45 of them to aim for in Manic Mechanics. Most are completed in the process of gaining three cogs for each level, but a handful needs specific focus, like respawning ten times in a single level. Some of the achievements are easier with multiple players (and indeed need a friend), and others are easier playing solo.

In addition to achievements, there are 18 characters to unlock. Again, most unlock as you play, but a few need special actions within the hub world, like honking the horn at five dogs in Betty’s Scrapyard. One of the downfalls of multiplayer is that only the lead character can activate these special actions in the hub world.


The controls are well-explained and appear on screen, although using the target (R) and throw (B) combination is a little awkward, especially in handheld mode. There is no touchscreen functionality, but the game autosaves after each level.

It’s possible to alter the volume and language within the options menu. You can also swap over A/B and Y/X. In addition, there are a few accessibility options, as well as the station assist function; you can alter the font size, game UI scale and hint duration. The music was enjoyable and varied, with hints of New Romantic and Country depending on the level.

During all the gameplay in both solo and multiplayer, in docked and handheld, we didn’t encounter any judders or crashes. The loading time between levels is a little long, although on-screen hints and reminders pass the time. It would be useful if there was a replay option during the level, not just at the end. It would also be helpful if the on-screen dialogue was reduced when using replay, as it’s tedious to click through it.

Sometimes having three mechanics was too many, and we would get in each other’s way. As a result, my third player opted out for several levels as it wasn’t enjoyable. We also found that some of the parts were similar in colour and size, making it difficult to distinguish.

It took around 5 hours to complete all 25 levels, although we did replay some of the earlier (more enjoyable levels) to beat the Master Mechanic score. Another 5 hours and we’d completed all the achievements.


Manic Mechanics is motor mayhem in every sense. In each neighbourhood, there are different vehicles and different challenges. Sometimes the levels were really enjoyable with a feel-good factor. At other points, they were too frustrating, and it took willpower to battle through. It’s a bit soulless for one to play, but it is definitely better with friends.

Final Verdict: I Like it I like it

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