Futuristic racers are love, futuristic racers are life. Games like Wipeout, Star Wars Episode I Racer, and most importantly, F-Zero have graced us for many years, but sadly, we haven’t seen many of those games in recent years. We did get, however, a pretty good downloadable title for Wii U two years ago, called Fast Racing NEO, which turned out to be one of the most underrated gems in that console’s library.
Developer Shin’en has decided to up the ante a bit more with Nintendo’s new console, the Switch, and developed a (sort of) sequel for that game as part of the console’s launch lineup. Here’s Fast RMX.
Fast RMX is sort of a “definitive edition” of the Wii U game Fast Racing NEO, with much improved visuals, resolution, all DLC included, plus some new ships, tracks and cups. The gameplay is still the same: your ship controls like in Wipeout, in course which resemble F-Zero and, sometimes, Episode I Racer. You have two “phases”, orange and blue, and you gotta change to the respective phase when passing by a respectively colored zip in order to get a boost (or else you’ll actually slow down). You can also collect fuel throughout the course to increase your boost meter.
Races are all about memorizing the locations and colors of the zip lines, attempting to maintain top speed at all times. It’s a sad bummer than the game, as of mid-April, doesn’t feature a time attack mode in order for you to freely memorize the track layouts without needing to attempt a cup race, unfortunately.
Thankfully, given how varied and well-designed each course is, racing each one of them again and again won’t feel like much of a burden, at least for your eyes. .
Each cup is comprised of just three races. Beat a cup and you’ll unlock a new one, alongside a new ship for you to use. It sounds simple on paper, but don’t get fooled, this game is hard. The AI is very competitive and it means business, constantly attacking you with boost attacks, always taking advantage of long straights in order to use boosts, and always taking advantage of your ship falling down or being wrecked by an obstacle. Thankfully, unlike F-Zero, the main racing mode doesn’t feature ship health, so you can race crashing at walls and ships without an issue. After beating a cup in the main racing mode, you unlock the same cup in Hero Mode, which resembles F-Zero‘s ship health mechanic (as in, boosts gradually decrease your ship’s health).
The controls are pretty fast and responsive. The button layout is a little bit confusing at first, given the Switch’s lack of an analog trigger. Give it a few races and you’ll quickly get used to it, though.
RMX features a nice electronic soundtrack, comprised of many fast-paced songs which help to maintain the constant sense of speed throughout all the race. Sadly, while the soundtrack itself is pretty good, the sound effects department isn’t. Crashes don’t sound that impactful, while ships sound like they’re 1.0 liter engine cars, with a very noticeable and underwhelming engine sound.
Finally, as previously mentioned, this is one beautiful game. Fast RMX boasts incredible visuals, by far the best looking game in the Switch’s launch lineup. Be it docked or undocked, the game constantly runs at 60fps as well, so it’ll always maintain a magnificent sense of speed no matter how you decide to play it. It has some poor texturing in some level elements, but you’ll only notice them when you slow down your ship, which, frankly, won’t be very frequent.
All of this is packed into not even 1GB of content. Now that’s impressive!
Fast RMX is easily the best launch game for the Switch not involving a green elf dude holding a sword and gliding around. It may not be the F-Zero we’ve been waiting for since the Gamecube days, and it does have some flaws, but given the initial game lineup and its pretty good pricetag, it’s a must.