NS Review – Fast RMX (Switch)
Preceding the upcoming Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there’s another Wii U racer enjoying the updated-release treatment for the Switch. Fast Racing Neo was a fantastic game created by small German developer Shin’en Multimedia. With Neo being one of the best indie Wii U exclusives, Shin’en has immediately boarded the Switch boat and thankfully completed Fast RMX in time for the console’s launch.
Fast RMX is a significant upgrade over Fast Racing Neo, featuring more courses, more vehicles, more cups, and more pixels. The boost in graphical and technical quality is noticeable from the start.
One department that hasn’t seen much improvement is the bare-bones presentation. There are no flashy opening movies. The menus and user interface don’t exhibit the charm found in many Nintendo titles. This is a title with a limited budget and once again, Shin’en has committed all their effort to where it matters: on the track.
Similar to the case of Neo with the Wii U, Shin’en has managed to get the best out of the console with RMX. The 60fps framerate is almost entirely consistent throughout, with an occasional drop only occurring when several vehicles crash at once, which is rare in itself. The likelihood is a grain higher while the Switch is out of the dock. Even more impressively, Fast RMX accommodates 4-player splitscreen while maintaining 60fps. This achievement can’t be understated; it’s a very rare feat that even triple-A Mario Kart 8 Deluxe doesn’t match.
All controller options are supported. The Pro Controller is recommended but not essential. A pair of Joy-Cons can be used as one controller or divided for two players with one Joy-Con each. Using a single Joy-Con is a little awkward; boosting doesn’t have its own button and is done by pressing the control stick instead.
The controls and mechanics are the same as Neo. Drivers can shift their vehicle between orange and blue to match the boost pads on a course. Boost orbs are also liberally scattered around the track. As was the case with the Wii U predecessor, RMX can be very unforgiving; a mismatched colour – let alone a crash – can ruin a perfect run and cost the player a vital first-place finish.
In truth, the challenging nature is encouraged. Anyone hoping to complete the game will drive each course many times, memorising the layouts, shortcuts, and hazards. A victory still feels incredibly satisfying, particularly at Hyper Sonic level.
Neo veterans will already be familiar with the majority of courses, however there are six brand new tracks to experience. The debut courses add plenty of aesthetic diversity to a roster that already offers a wide variation of locations and intensity.
Cameron Crest is a simple sky-based track surrounded by floating rocks. Hangar Games is (obviously) set around a series of hangars, and the blinding lighting makes certain jump pads difficult to see. Tapaneca Vale is set on a rainy night with alien ships providing opportunities to boost, complemented by an eerie dance music track. Drivers race through claustrophobic city tunnels in Neo Kyoto, and Waimea Coast is a lush location with large rocks sprouting from the surrounding ocean. Caldera Post is arguably the most treacherous and rightfully the final track: a long, winding desert course full of dangerous jumps, with red dust flying everywhere.
These new six are consolidated with Neo’s 24 tracks to offer ten cups, each containing three races rather than four. This results in quicker grand prix’s that can be finished within ten minutes, and the decision to have three-race cups could possibly have been based on the Switch’s portability. Either way, having three races rather than four is ideal for a fast racer like this. Loading times are almost completely absent, so you can re-enter a cup in a matter of seconds.
It’s unfortunate that Time Trial mode and the ability to join friends online is omitted on launch, but Shin’en have already announced that both are to come in a free update. The Time Trial targets on Neo were surprisingly tough to beat, making it even more challenging that Hero Mode; if the same difficulty comes to Fast RMX, the longevity for hardcore fans will increase even further.
Online mode is choppy; other cars were jittering as they raced but that may be down to either my own connection or theirs. In the end, it didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment. Joining an online game is an incredibly easy process as you’re thrown straight into a lobby.
With plenty of content and vastly improved performance, Fast RMX is a brilliant upgrade over Fast Racing Neo for the Switch. There is potential for a longer life with free updates and maybe even DLC if Shin’en want to create more courses, but a £16.99 is a fantastic price for the package.
Thanks to Shin’en Multimedia for providing a review copy for this article.