Fast RMX can be described as either Wipeout without weapons, or F-Zero without the insane number of opposition racers. Despite not hitting the same heights as either of those two franchises, it does something neither of them could: come in at price-point that might entice anyone.
For those who may have missed the Wii U, Fast RMX is essentially Fast Racing Neo Deluxe. With the 16 original tracks, the 8 DLC tracks, and 6 original tracks, you have 30 tracks to blast through over 10 cups, and at 3 different speed/difficulty settings. While you may be used to making your way calmly through Mario Kart’s 50cc mode, Fast RMX’s equivalent is fast, intense, and will require you master the tracks before perfecting each cup.
The main mechanic in the Fast series lies with the blue and yellow boost strips found across each track, and a face button on your controller that shifts your craft between each colour. Hit the yellow boost strip while your ship is in a yellow phase and the HD Rumble kicks into overdrive. On the flip-side, nothing slows a race down faster than hitting a boost strip using the incorrect phase. Mix these with small collectible orbs that increase the extra boost you have in your pocket, and you turn an already fast game into a blur of colours and shapes.
While the majority of the track names have a futuristic flavour (from Kuiper Belt to Caldera Post) there’s no hiding the fact that you’re driving through a future paradise version of Earth when tracks like Iceland, and Antarctica show up. Most of these environments zip past at such a speed that you won’t be taking in too much of the scenery, but the varied courses ensure that they each feel unique. While the majority are your stock standard future roads with railings to pinball off as you learn the ropes, later tracks see you driving on the outside of tubes, while others require you to steer and shunt your craft mid-air to ensure you land safely on a colour-boosted jump.
Learning the tracks is a must if you want to come out the other side of Fast RMX with nothing but wins on your plate, and the cups are a great place to put your skills to the test. Unfortunately though Time Attack mode from Fast Racing Neo is yet to implemented. Thankfully this, and online friend support, is coming soon thanks to an update. Both are sorely missed from the current version available to those looking for another launch title to add to their list, but it doesn’t stop you from jumping online against strangers or passing a JoyCon to a friend to enjoy some splitscreen action.
Shin'en have done everything possible to cut out any special frills while keeping a focus on presentation. Thanks to tiny load times, and a focus on selecting a cup and getting into a race, going from main menu to thousands of kilometres an hour down a course is a matter of seconds. Sure, there’s no customisation of your vehicles, and the game modes are incredibly limited right now, but this is the perfect demonstration of the pick-up-and-play experience that Nintendo is trying to sell with the Switch.
The game manages to retain its 60fps speed in multiplayer thanks to what looked like a drop in resolution. What did cause some confusion when playing local multiplayer with a single JoyCon was the slight change in controls. While clicking the analog stick to boost instead of tapping R (the default button when using a full controller) is more user-friendly, it was nice to see the option to change the control layout when jumping into the settings menu.
The one gripe that many might have is that the AI relies on rubber-banding as a means of increasing difficulty. Using a technique where your opponents may slow down for you if you’re not doing well, or go much faster than their vehicle is meant to if you’re out in front, can often cause some incredibly frustrating moments where a near perfect race is ruined moments from the finish line. While I didn’t experience this too much in my time with Fast RMX, it was obvious when I did. It only seemed to get more aggressive the further I progressed. The true racer will use the fake disadvantage to perfect their racing lines, hit every boost pad, and come out the other side unstoppable.
For $30 it’s hard to not recommend to those that have been waiting for a new Wipeout or F-Zero. It doesn’t have the polish or depth as either of those, but it looks fantastic, it’s fast and gets faster, and manages to be incredibly skilled at what it does.