There is no denying that the software lineup for the Nintendo Switch at launch is a little sparse. As a digital only racing title, Fast RMX serves as a semi-sequel to the Wii U title Fast Racing Neo. It’s been a couple of years since original release, and Shin’en has remastered the game, improving the visual fidelity, adding new tracks and keeping the game running at a smooth 60fps, outside of a couple of rare hiccups.
Fast RMX hopes to satisfy the cravings of arcade-style racing fans that have been clamoring for a new F-Zero. The game includes all of the tracks from the original game, including all of the previously released downloadable content. There are also six brand-new tracks that are exclusive to this version of the game spread across 10 cups in the single-player championship mode. It has already been confirmed that the developers plan to support the game post-launch, with additional content, along with a time attack mode and the ability to play online matches with your friends. There isn’t any narrative to the single-player game modes, so pick your favorite of the fifteen futuristic racing vehicles and attempt to claim first place.
Even when playing on the novice difficulty, the championship can be quite difficult. A single wrong move or slowing down can see any lead you have over the AI opponent drivers shrink considerably. At one point, I managed to lead a race into the final two turns and just briefly scrapped my vehicular across the wall, and the AI quickly capitalized. It wasn’t even a neck and neck race either, as there was a considerable gap between myself and the two ships behind me. Not to mention, the AI will always hit the boost off the starting line in every race. At least the game is visually striking, with each track covering a wide selection of environments, from asteroid asteroids to tropical sunsets and everything in between.
After unlocking new tracks by placing in the top three in each of the different events, you can test your skills in Hero mode. Here, you’ll have a single life to try and capture first place, where a single crash will end your chance of winning. Typically, you’ll be gathering energy to power your boost in Fast RMX, however, in Hero mode, it powers your shield as well. At this point, you must balance your need for using the boost and protecting your ship at the same time.
As you race, you’ll come across blue and orange pads that act as an instant boost, and you must hit all of them if you want any chance of winning, especially on the higher difficulties. Making things interesting, your polarity must match the proper color of the boost pad. Having a blue polarity while you fly over an orange boost pad will reduce your speed immediately and typically will cost you the race.
Fast RMX supports four-player local split-screen multiplayer, as well as up to eight-player online racing. Online multiplayer is quite limited right now, as you are matched into a random online game. Without an actual lobby system, you’ll most likely be connecting to a race already in progress, requiring you to wait until the race is finished. Between races, you can vote on the next track, but that’s the extent of the online experience. Shin'en is aiming to add online races with friends at a later point, hopefully when Nintendo expands the online system for the platform.
Fast RMX is a must-have racing game for those looking for an F-Zero racing experience or simply any racing game on the Nintendo Switch. Local split-screen multiplayer works better than I thought it would, and there are plenty of ships and tracks to choose from. The lukewarm online integration is to be expected on a platform where Nintendo has been quiet on the precise details of the upcoming online system that is coming later this year.
Note: The Fast RMX review is based on a digital Switch copy of the game, provided by the publisher.