While Nintendo has ignored the F-Zero racing franchise for the past few generations, another company has been busy filling that void. Shin’en Multimedia, a name that may Nintendo fans are familiar with, has been crafting its racing series since the Wii. First with Fast Racing League, then with Fast Racing Neo on the Wii U. Now, the launch of the Nintendo Switch at hand, they’ve released the third game in the series, Fast RMX
Does it measure up to their previous entry?
Game Name: Fast RMX Platform(s): Nintendo Switch Publisher(s): Shin’en Multimedia Developer(s): Shin’en Multimedia Release Date: March 3rd, 2017 Price: $19.99
It’s not F-Zero, but I’ll take it
When Shin’en Multimedia released Fast Racing NEO on the Wii U, I must have played that game more than any other title on the system. For quite some time, I was obsessed with being the best on every track and enjoyed having a futuristic racing title on a Nintendo console. Now that Fast RMX is available, I’ve been doing the same thing on Nintendo’s latest console; The Nintendo Switch.
Thankfully, not much has changed from then to now. It’s still plenty fast and has a huge assortment of vehicles and tracks. Most of all, it’s still a very fun futuristic racer and one that every Nintendo Switch owner should have in their catalog. That said, I know many are hoping that this game is similar to the F-Zero series, and to that, I have to say that it isn’t. The Fast Racing series is more akin to the Wipeout series, as opposed to the missing-in-action Nintendo racer
Fast RMX is easy to get into, and hard to master, but you’ll enjoy trying to do so. The controls are pretty basic as well. One button for acceleration, the left and right triggers allow you to lean into turns, another for handling the boost, and one for switching polarities. For those unfamiliar with the Fast Racing series, Shin’en has implemented a system that requires gamers to switch back and forth between two colors. Scattered around the tracks are several yellow and blue colored boost strips, which provide a boost of speed to propel you around the track, or in some cases, above it. If you don’t pay attention and change your vehicle to the same color as those strips, running across them can make you lose speed. This can make you lose your place during the race, or send you plummeting to your doom.
The controls are responsive and tight, which is a requirement for a game this fast. Never once did I experience any issues with the controls. There’s not really much to say other than they work really well. That said, the default control configuration just didn’t do it for me. I rather have my accelerate and breaking buttons handled by the triggers. Thankfully, you’re able to remap the buttons to suit your needs. For a better gaming experience, I highly recommend picking up the Nintendo Pro Controller for playing Fast RMX. That said, if you don’t already own one, finding one may be nearly impossible at the moment. I feel that it’s the best way to play the game. I simply didn’t enjoy using the Joy-Con and the cradle as much as I did with the Pro.
Watching Fast RMX in motion is simply amazing, especially coming from the Nintendo Switch. Now, that’s not meant to downplay the system, as I’m amazed at what Shin’en Multimedia has done with the title. Yet, on the other hand, I really shouldn’t, after playing Fast Racing NEO on the Wii U, which was one of my favorite games on the system. This time around, we’re presented with a full 720p (undocked), 1080p (docked) 60fps title, that goes full tilt with portraying a hyper-fast racing experience. What’s more impressive is that the game manages to maintain a consistent 60fps in either resolution.
The animated tracks, complete with their environmental obstacles, also make their return. Fast RMX, has plenty of things happening in the background of tracks and on them. From the giant robotic creatures, giant fans that push your car around the track, swinging portions of the track that will send you to your doom, and many other obstacles. There’s a lot of stuff happening, while you’re racing. Some of it may be a distraction if you don’t stay focused, which is something I learned the hard way.
While the Switch isn’t the most powerful system out there, it’s amazing what Shin’en Multimedia was able to accomplish on it. In this, I’d be doing a great injustice if I didn’t point out the Storm Coast track. You’ll race along a course that is undergoing a full-on thunderstorm. Rain and lightning hammer the track, and particle effects are simply impressive. You simply have to see that in action to appreciate it. As such, I’ve provided a video of that track in action, below.
It’s not without its issues, as Fast RMX suffers from a lack of anti-aliasing. This, unfortunately, seems to be the trade-off for providing a solid 60fps experience. Many will either not see this or ignore this while zipping around the tracks. However, it’s when you’re sitting still is when this is immediately apparent. Jaggies are present everywhere; on the track and on the vehicles. It didn’t track from the overall presentation, but for the trained eye, it does get bothersome at times. It’s worth mentioning that the jaggies are less visible when you’re playing in docked mode. Finally, I know there are many gamers who aren’t a fan of chromatic aberration. Thankfully, Shin’en added the ability to toggle that on/off.
Music-wise, the game includes over 40 different uptempo scores. They’re decent and fit the overall atmosphere of the game, but they aren’t anything you’ll remember outside of the game. I’d imagine Shin’en Multimedia may have wanted to do more here, but wanted to keep the size of the game low. The sound effects also do what is required and are well done. The game does include a rather annoying announcer, who definitely overstays his welcome. Sadly, there is no way to turn him off.
Fast RMX contains several different levels of difficulty called leagues, which are available in the championship mode; Subsonic – novice, Supersonic – advanced, and Hypersonic – expert. You won’t be able to progress into the higher leagues until you’ve unlocked every track in the previous league first. In the higher difficulties, you’ll be greeted by more aggressive AI racers and higher-speed races. Coming in place during the championship mode will unlock new vehicles. All of these have their own unique stats, and fifteen available in total.
Unlike in Fast Racing NEO, which required you to beat a certain league to get access to the Hero Mode, it is present at the start of Fast RMX. For me, this is where the real challenge begins. Hero Mode requires you to be better than you were in the Championship mode. You’ll start out with a full boost bar, which acts like a health bar. Boosting will lower the bar amount, as will getting hit. You can still fill it up by collecting the boost orbs found on the track, however, once the boost bar is empty, you’re game is over. Additionally, falling off a course will also spell the end for you. An added challenge that will have gamers attempting to master every course without meeting their fate early.
The multiplayer portion of the game is simplistic and implemented well. You’re able to go online against random racers, local split-screen via 4 players or 8 players if you have another Nintendo Switch setup via a LAN. The local split-screen never skips a beat, though I only recommend this for those with larger TV screens. Anything on the smaller size of the spectrum will have a hard time seeing what’s going on. Still, it makes for a fun party game.
The online portion is seamless. You just jump into either a new game or an ongoing game, vote for the track you want, and then wait to see which track wins. Lag was never an issue, and after several hours of playing online, I didn’t experience any issues. Another nice touch is while you’re waiting to join a session, you’re able to watch the current race in progress.
Sadly, at the time of the review, two features that were present in Fast Racing NEO were absent. That being the time trials and the friend online modes. Time trials afforded you the chance to get familiar with the tracks, while you attempted to beat the record set for that track, while the online friend mode lets you race against your friends. As it stands right now, the online player mode only lets you race against random opponents. Both were omitted due to time constraints, as the game was a launch title for the Nintendo Switch. Thankfully, Shin’en Multimedia has stated that those two features will be patched into the game shortly.
*A copy of FAST RMX was provided by Shin’en Multimedia for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.*
While Fast RMX is the only game in town for Nintendo Switch owners, thankfully it’s a fantastic experience. Breakneck speed, responsive controls, plenty of tracks to race on and a vast list of vehicles. Toss in the added challenge of the higher end leagues and hero mode and you have a game you’ll play for a long time. Once Shin’en Multimedia adds in the time trial and online friend racing, Fast RMX will be the defacto racing title for the Nintendo Switch.
I can’t believe Shin’en Multimedia was able to cram all of this and at under 900MB. If you own a Nintendo Switch and don’t pick up this gem, you’re doing yourself a huge injustice.