Fast RMX is a solid racer that offers a significant challenge.
For WiiU owners Fast RMX should be very familiar. For all intents and purposes, Fast RMX is to the WiiU’s Fast Racing Neo what the upcoming Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is to Mario Kart 8. Fast RMX includes all of the tracks, vehicles, and leagues from its predecessor, this includes the tracks that were added through DLC. RMX adds to this by adding six new tracks (bringing the total to 30) but counters that by dropping the time trial mode (for now).
When I checked out the original Fast Racing Neo at Gamescom a few years back I drew the comparison between the game and Nintendo’s own futuristic racer; F-Zero. At face value this makes sense, but having spent more time with the final product(s) the Fast games have more in common with a different big futuristic racing series, namely Wipeout. So, Nintendo fans looking to fill that F-Zero shaped hole in their lives might be disappointed. But that disappointment is purely caused by the wrong expectations and Wipeout fans will probably be similarly disappointed. The main reason for this is that Fast RMX carves its own path and is mostly successful in establishing its own identity.
The main differentiator Fast RMX employs is its phase-shifting mechanic. What this boils down to is that your vehicle it either in blue or orange phase and when that phase matches the similarly colored sections of the track you get a boost. Knowing where these sections are and what color is a big part of staying in front of the pack. The mechanic is used in various ways and is a nice touch. Ultimately, though, it isn’t enough of a hook to lift above either of the series I compared it to.
If anything, the name of the game is very accurately chosen. Fast RMX is, in fact, fast. It’s the kind of racing game that will keep you from blinking for waaaay too long. This game screams. All this speed is presented at a rock solid 60 frames per second (at 1080p). To complement the graphics is a loud techno-heavy soundtrack. The whole package really is a sensory workout. The gameplay’s speed is completed in the way the game’s menus works. Everything is very quick. Starting the game will have you on the track in seconds.
Fast RMX isn’t an easy game. This is mostly by design, but maybe not all intentionally. The game’s AI is quite capable and you need to know the tracks to be able to stay in front. To keep things interesting most tracks have jumps, alternate routes and obstacles to keep you on your toes. In most cases, this adds to the experience but it can (regularly) become frustrating. It happens too often that obstacles appear out of nowhere. This can either be because you couldn’t see them because of how the track is laid out or because a lot of the obstacles move around. In a game that can be very unforgiving this isn’t a situation you want to be in.
One of the things I always liked about F-Zero GX was how unpredictable it’s race results could be. I never had the idea there was a single opponent who was the one to beat. A driver who’d come in first on track one could finish 14th on the next etc. This always left you with the hope that you could still turn things around in the coming races. Fast RMX doesn’t really follow this (as so many other racers don’t). It’s usually one opponent that is out there in front, so there is little room for failure if you want to finish on top.
The game’s difficulty development is a tricky one. I found that the main difficulty development was handled through the cups and not the leagues. Each league is a higher speeds setting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean higher difficulty. I actually enjoyed the advanced supersonic league more than the beginner subsonic league when I unlocked it. Because of how unforgiving the game can be I did really miss a restart option in Championship mode. While going through the motions to completely restart a cup is very quick I still would have liked a restart option to start a cup over instantly. Other modes in the game have a retry option and I would like to have it in Championship mode too.
If championship mode isn’t enough of a challenge there is also “Hero Mode”. This consists of 30 tracks where you eed to finish first. If that isn’t enough, it also links your shields to you boost bar. So if you run out of boost energy you also run out of shield energy. If you mess up it’s back to the start. Hero Mode works great and offers even more of a challenge.
To round things off Fast RMX also has all the shiny multiplayer options you’d expect from the Switch: local multiplayer (yay!), online multiplayer and split screen. I only was able to try out split screen and online options and split screen worked great even when playing on the Switch’ screen. The framerate never dropped and there is enough room for two people to see the action. Online play is included even though Nintendo’s online service hasn’t launched yet. The online experience is a bit barebones as it lacks any form of lobby but essentially it works well.
Shin’en have already announced that Fast RMX will get some future (free) updates that will include a time attack mode (which is a welcome addition) and online friend support. This decision was probably made to make sure Fast RMX would be able to ship with the new console. While I usually dislike these tactics, I think this was a good call for both Shin’en and the Switch as a whole. The Switch’ launch lineup didn’t eaxtly excel in the quantity department but the games that did launch alongside the new console provide a varied and high-quality selection. Fast RMX is a big part of that. The current package is perfectly playable, offering the same experience as it did on the WiiU (with extra tracks). Fast Racing NEO released right around the time Xenoblade Chronicles X hit the WiiU which stole a lot of the spotlight away from Shin’en’s game, which was a real shame. Being included in the Switch’ launch lineup should give Fast RMX some well-deserved attention.
Fast RMX, like it’s predecessor, is a solid racing experience. It’s a relatively simple offering but that is to be expected from an indie title. You get several racing modes and that is pretty much it. The execution of this simple package is very solid, making the absence of bells and whistles hardly something to miss. While it will not fill the F-Zero shaped hole in your life it is a solid addition to the Switch’ library. Switch owners who are looking beyond Zelda should defintely check it out.