Game Title: Fast RMX
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Download: 838 MB
Availability: Digital Download (North America, Europe, Japan)
Battery Life: 2.5 – 3.5 Hours
Supported Modes: TV, Tabletop, Handheld
Handheld gamers have had a bit of a drought on racing games for several years now. The PS Vita started off strong with games like Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Wipeout 2048, and Table Top Racing, but proper racers are few and very far between. The Nintendo 3DS has a couple but really none that took off as great games. So racing on the go has been in a big rut.
When the Nintendo Switch launched, it only had a single racer to its name, but one that looked quite interesting. While racing fans are still waiting the Switch version of Redout from Nicalis, they have a Wii U turned Switch game to play through and enjoy. Once called Fast Racing Neo, here is my review of Fast RMX for the Nintendo Switch!
Due to this game having no story, this section shall remain blank.
Fast RMX is what I would call an arcade-style racing game in the style of F-Zero or Wipeout. Like Wipeout, you travel through set race-tracks in an anti-gravity vehicle at high speeds to dominate your opponents and win a race. Imagine it like Wipeout without weapons and with more elements to the Boost Pad mechanic.
As I mentioned above, this is a remake of Fast Racing Neo from the Wii U. As such, this version of the game includes all of the original game’s tracks, all of its DLC, and 6 brand-new courses for this version, which brings the total track number to 30. So, for $5 more than the original version, you’re getting a lot more content.
When you go into the game, you have a few different game modes you can access. Championship is the game’s campaign, where you can access all of the different tournaments built into the game. Multiplayer lets you do local or online Multiplayer against other racers. Hero Mode lets you race with an Energy Shield that can be lowered. The better you race, the more energy you’ll have to survive the race. There’s also newly-added mode called Time Attack that lets you race by yourself for High Score Times against Developer Scores.
In whatever mode you do jump into, you pick a race, pick a racing vehicle, and you go at it. Like Wipeout, every racer has different stats, including top speed, acceleration, and handling. As you win tournaments, you will unlock new vehicles to use in the races to come as well as the other game modes. But you need to win tournaments in order to unlock them.
Playing through Tournaments takes you through 3 separate races on 3 race tracks. For each race, you gain points based on what position you end with. Your points at the end of the tournament dictates what final position and reward you get. That way, you can still get 1st in the tournament even if your races aren’t all perfect.
This is good because of how the races go. In each race, you’re going through environments filled with jumps and colored boost pads. When you hit a boost pad, you get a speed boost but you must be the same color as the pad to obtain the boost./ You can manually switch between colors to be able to catch each boost and that is critical for winning. Not only will you nearly come to a dead stop if you miss a boost pad, but boosting fills up your Boost Gauge to be able to slow down other racers.
The Boost Gauge is like Nitrous in other racers. You can fill it and use it for a massive speed boost. If a vehicle in Boost Mode hits around, the hit vehicle will be temporarily disabled. The other vehicles can do the same to you, so you’ve got to be careful at all times. This adds to the level of skill you need in the game.
The big thing to note is that this game is FAST. The pacing of the game is almost intimidating at first. If you remember the pacing of the Wipeout games, imagine it like that x2. When you’re just hitting the boost pads, it’s fast, but once you use your manual Boost, it gets crazy fast that requires lightning-quick reflexes to get around corners without wrecking.
On top of that is the biggest gripe the game suffers from: Rubber Banding. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Rubber Banding is a gameplay element meant to make sure the game always has a challenge, no matter how good you are. After you memorize a race track and get an early lead, the AI will compensate by getting a huge lead on catching up with you. Sometimes, they will even teleport in front of you to automatically regain the lead and cause you to have to use skill all over again.
Normal Rubber Banding is thrown in to create constant skill requirements for racing games, but the teleporting nonsense happens constantly and gives the AI an extremely unfair advantage against you. This makes playing the game extremely frustrating, whether you’re a racing expert or a racing newbie.
As far as time goes, a perfect run of the game could be done in a few hours, but thanks to the rubber banding, it will go far beyond that. It took me that long just to cover the first couple tournaments, which is only about 20% of the total race tracks, and that’s not even counting Hero Mode and the Time Trial. If you do want to get everything done, it’s gonna take quite some time.
The game is pretty simple to control, and do note that the game supports single joy-con play for local multiplayer or just single player if that’s your preferred control style. Note that the game also supports both button controls and motion controls, which is very similar to the PS Vita Motion Controls in Wipeout 2048.
Moving is simple enough. The Left Analog Stick is used to move left and right around while you’re racing, but this can also be used with the ZL and ZR buttons. Adding these onto motion controls, you to have 3 total movement methods to find a preference. You also have the R shoulder button you can press to use your manual Boost.
Accelerating is done with the A button and braking with the B button. Finally, the X button is used to change your phase. But note that the control scheme can be customized, so you can set it however you want.
Visually, the game is beautiful. From the environments, the shadows, the renders, and all of the non-racing effects in play, the game far exceeds the prettiness of the Wii U version. Every single track gives you a lot to appreciate, from flying through an Egyptian Sandstorm to going through an underwater tunnel beneath a massive whale that’s swimming for food.
Performance of the game fits that as well. The beautiful aspect is that this game is hard-coded to be locked to 60 fps at any and all times, whether you’re in TV mode or Handheld Mode. There have been some claims that the resolution will automatically lower itself a little bit if the fps is about to drop underneath 60 fps. So you’re guaranteed 60 fps no matter what you’re doing, no matter how many vehicles are on screen, etc.
This is a 3D Game, so I took that into consideration before doing battery tests. Here are the results I got, from 100% to 0%:
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 30 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 46 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 03 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 20 minutes
Considering it is such a graphical game, you’ll get around 2 and half to almost 3 and a half hours out of the battery. This is one of the games on the list of “eats up battery like crazy” with Zelda and Snake Pass. Then again, I don’t see many people playing it for that long without getting upset at the rubber banding, outside of the Time Trial Mode.
In conclusion, Fast RMX lives very much up to its name of Fast. Although there's a clearly unfair level of Rubber Banding that makes playing the game frustrating at times, it's an intense and fun Wipeout-like experience to keep racing fans busy until the inevitable release of Redout.