While the Nintendo Switch launched with what many would consider to be a lackluster lineup of full retail games, it somewhat made up for this by having a diverse and solid line up of download only titles. Chief amongst these is Fast Racing RMX, a remixed version of the Wii U Fast Racing Neo which was itself a sequel to Fast Racing on the Wii. Full disclosure, this entry was my first exposure to the franchise. While the Fast Racing series always seemed interesting and I had heard nothing but good things about them, I could never quite find the time to fit them into my gaming schedule. Furthermore, I often felt that Nintendo fans may have been a bit lenient to the series in the past as they see it as a defacto F-Zero replacement. Was this really the case, though? Since RMX was a launch title for my shiny new Nintendo Switch this seemed as good of an opportunity as any to find out what this series was really all about.
So what’s this about?
Fast Racing RMX is all about, well, fast racing. The game is a futuristic arcade style racer that will naturally draw comparisons to F-Zero due largely to its position as a Nintendo exclusive. Personally, due to the feel and overall look of the game, it reminds me a tiny bit more of the PlayStation series Wipeout. Still, fast hovercar racing is fast hovercar racing and the F-Zero comparison is apt. The game uses a boost system that is dependent on a gauge that can be replenished by driving over orbs on the track. Managing your boost correctly is key to getting ahead in any race, but it is not Fast Racing’s only gimmick. See, you can change the “phase” your car is in at any point in the match by pressing the X button (or the corresponding button on the Joycon when held sideways). This changes the color of your car’s booster which will result in a speed boost or other positive effect if you race over strips matching that color in-game. This may sound complicated, but it is rather easy to do and intuitive in-game.
The game has a large number of tracks and cars (most of which have to be unlocked) but it does not have much in the way of modes or story. Your options are basically online or local multiplayer or arcade style racing in Championship or Hero mode. Both modes are similarly split up into 10 different cups consisting of three tracks each. This is a substantial boost in playable content to the Wii U version of the game of which this is a “remastered port,” as that game only had 16 tracks total. Championship mode is the more “standard” of the two modes, while Hero mode adds a few additional challenges. The most notable change is that your shield and boost now share the same bar and if your shield is expended then that particular race is over (as opposed to your vehicle being respawned on the track).
What does it do right?
First off, this game is a very pretty game. It might even be, as of now, the best game to use to showcase to friends the graphical capabilities of your Switch. The game runs smoothly and the tracks are all well designed and manage to each have a distinct look to them. Many also have nice background touches that make them particularly memorable (my favorite being “oh hey, a blue whale”). This game does come down largely to track memorization, especially as using your boost and phase shifting abilities effectively will rest largely upon knowing just what is ahead. Speaking of phase shifting, the actual mechanic is fun to use but the game does not lean on it as a selling point. Truth be told, the tracks are fun and fast enough by themselves that no such gimmick was needed. Luckily, it feels much more like it is an extension of the core mechanics and at no point did I feel as if it was “forced” into any of the tracks.
The multiplayer in this game is fun, both locally and online. I have used this game (along with Snipper Clips and Super Bomberman R, depending on the company) to engage people at work or out in the world with my Switch. The game controls surprisingly well by using just the left or right Joycon, and the split screen in tabletop mode, while not ideal, is much more playable than I would have thought. The online ran smoothly for the most part, with no major hiccups. It should be noted, however, that I did only play about an hour of this game online.
But is it Good?
Fast Racing RMX is, for the most part, very good at what it does. It’s a well-designed futuristic arcade racer with a good variety of stages, cars, and music. Still, It’s not perfect. The online options seemed weak to me as I saw no options other than to jump into a random match. There is also not much to the game beyond racing the same tracks over and over trying to get to better times. Really, though, with an arcade style racer with this many tracks does there have to be? This game is NOT F-Zero, and if we were to get a new game in that franchise I would imagine more modes and story would be included.
The final verdict
Fast Racing RMX is a fun racer. It is also a beautiful looking racer that you can take out and play with your friends whenever you have your Switch around….and it is only $20. Honestly, if this was a retail game priced about $50 or above I would likely only suggest this to fans of the sci-fi racing genre. For its current price, though? I would suggest this game to anyone looking for a quick pick up and play type of game in between Breath of the Wild sessions or to gamers wanting another fun multiplayer Switch experience.