FAST RMX Review
For the purpose of transparency, this review was completed using a purchased copy of the game. The use of a purchased copy does not affect my judgement of this product.
When looking through the Switch eShop on day of release I came across FAST RMX. When checking out the screenshots provided on the information page, it instantly brought to mind two games I loved in F-Zero X from the N64, and Wipeout across many generations of Playstation. At first I resisted purchasing it, but, then I cracked – so was that the right decision?
Prior to this I had not heard of the FAST series, but after purchasing and doing a bit of research I was shocked to see that it was actually the third game in the series. Following releases on the Wii and Wii U – however, this explained why I’d not heard to the series, due to me owning very few Wii titles, and never owning a Wii U. Back the game in hand, if like me you were unaware of the series, I can say my initial thoughts from the screenshots matched what I was playing.
If you think back to both the F-Zero and Wipeout series, both games have delivered high-octane racing experiences – leaving you in charge of hovering ships racing a bolt-neck speeds. Meaning, with no new F-Zero games even being suggested at this early stage of the Switch life-cycle it’s been left to Shin’en to try to fill this void. Which I would say they have done a successful job, to the most part.
Gameplay wise it is what you would expect from this sort of racing game. But, Shin’en have continued to make the use of the main feature for the previous instalments (according to my research), and kept the phase shifting mechanic – basically this keeps your attention on the game and gives it that something little extra. Your phase it represented by a coloured trail behind you ship, which is either blue or orange and can be changed using the X button on default (I will discuss this later).
So, what’s the importance of the colour I hear you say? Throughout the track you will see a number a boost panels and jumps in each colour, meaning matching these is important to get the speed advantage, but miss-match them and it will slow you down, and you can even lose important jump distance. Which means you really do need pay attention throughout the whole track. As well as these boost pads your vehicle comes with its own boost – this is filled by collecting little orbs that are placed generously around the tracks, which can help you add even more a boost to your speed at important times.
Add these really high-octane speeds together with some amazing track designs. Which will throw at you gaps in the track you have to navigate, and obstacles every now and then – meaning you have to be careful with your boosts, as many times I boosted over a gap and hit the top of tunnels on the part after the gap. So, what all this does really is makes sure that the race never gets boring, as you have to be just as careful when you are in first place.
One thing that really shocked me when starting up FAST RMX was the visuals the game is putting out, its by far the best looking game I have played on the Switch, and I feel it is probably already pushing the most out of the hardware at this early stage. There are tracks with weather effects, and the one with rain really made my jaw drop, as the effect looks great. Another great thing they’ve managed even with solid visuals the game rarely drops below 60fps.
It’s not like they have paid attention to the vehicles and weather effect only, the environments are also well detailed, so this does not take away from the overall look. Shin’en could have made these less detailed if they wanted, given the blurred view of them you get racing at the high speeds – but big kudo’s to them for not.
I mentioned the X button on the default settings earlier, and mentioned I would discuss that later, and now is that time. The controls to me can be fiddly at times given the speed you are going on the game, but I found setting your own controls up in the menu makes it easier – maybe it was just me, but I’ll explain. Given the buttons on the controller on default you have your accelerate as A, and the aforementioned phase switch as X, I found in order to phase switch I had to take my thumb of the accelerate button. So, I changed the controls in the menu to have ZR (back right trigger) as my accelerate, and made the A button to Switch – this is how I personally found it working for me, but, it may not be the same for everyone.
But, the controls are responsive which is the main thing, and I think maybe with time with the default set-up it would most likely become usable – probably just me being picky. When playing in 2 player split screen with a single joy-con each I expected the controls to be even more fiddly, but to my surprise I actually preferred using it this way.
In FAST RMX you are given 30 tracks and 15 different vehicles – which you unlock as you progress through the Championship. For me this is a great amount of content to start with, before you start to look at what games modes are included
Speaking of game modes, FAST RMX comes with three modes Championship, Multi-player and Hero mode. In Championship you are given ten cups each with three tracks – and is your usual track racing competition, which has three difficulty levels. Multi-player has three options 2-4 slit-screen couch co-op, local multi-player and online. The time I spent playing it 2 player was great fun, and it didn’t cause any slow down having two playing at the same time. I have not tried to local multi-player, but, I have ventured online. In the races I have tried online I have had a lot of issues with the game lagging, it still runs perfectly on my screen, but the others jump about which can be off-putting, and sometimes I found myself finishing lower than my placement on my screen at the end.
To me the stand out game mode was Hero, this is maybe because its sort of nod to the F-Zero series. In this mode your turbo is also your shield, so if you over boost you’re in the danger of crashing and ending the race – however, collecting the orbs and going over the boost pads will fill this back up, so it’s all about the controlling that in order to win your races.
This is not the end of game modes either, as Shin’en have announced free content will be coming to FAST RMX, and one the bits of content will be a Time Attack mode – which for me is going to add even more longevity to the game as this will always give you something to go back and beat.
For £16.99 FAST RMX gives you a lot of content and reasons to play it, with it being a great pick and play game, you can take a break from say an open world game. But, I can say even with other launch titles like Zelda and Bomberman this is my most played game.
FAST RMX brings you a solid arcade style racer with a lot of content and gameplay time for a low price. The only slight issues with the game are the controls seem fiddly, and the online is a bit too unpredictable. But, this is a must own for any F-Zero and Wipeout fans out there.
Nintendo Switch Exclusive
Developer: Shin’en Multimedia
Article originally created for http://www.gamesbulletin.uk