Written by Mike Pixley.
So you miss F-Zero? We all do. We miss Metroid too, but that doesn't mean there isn't excellent substitutes like Axiom Verge out there. So for you fans of fast paced Sci-Fi arcade racers we'd like to introduce you to Shin'en Multimedia's Fast RMX.
First off, when i hear that Shin'en is working on a project i get excited. These guys have put out some pretty solid arcade games in the past couple years on Nintendo's multiple platforms. Two of these (Nano Assault EX and Fast NEO racing) I've personally put quite a bit of time into and have thoroughly enjoyed. These guys know what they're doing so i expected Fast RMX to deliver the same results.
Right away you'll understand that some time and care has been put into this title. The opening screen looks beautiful, really showing off what the Nintendo Switch is capable of as far as graphical fidelity. You're then greeted to the game by the most Sega announcer you've heard since Jet Set Radio Future; really getting you ready for what you're about to experience.
Look and Feel:
Fast RMX is a clean, polished arcade racer capable of running at 1080p 60fps when docked, but looks just as gorgeous on the switch's built in screen for handheld mode. Techno music bumps as you make your game play selection from RMX's many modes including a lengthy single player campaign comprised of three difficulty circuits , 10 different cups, over 30 fully realized, fleshed out courses and 15 unlockable vehicles. There is also quite a few multiplayer options from online to local split-screen which makes use of all of your Nintendo Switch controller options. I've tested these extensively and can comfortably say the game feels just as good in tablet mode on split-screen with a single joycon as it does on single player with a 60" tv and the pro controller. Not only that but it fully utilizes the HD rumble features which just feel cool.
Gameplay is very fluid and simple here, as well as being extremely challenging. There's a reason the game is named Fast; that's exactly what it is, and extremely so. Starting a new stage for the first time is almost a guaranteed loss. Unexpected obstacles, jumps and stunning weather effects are bound to trip you up and the AI is completely unforgiving. Once you reach the back of the pack you're pretty much doomed and there's no restarting. I find that this balances out the cups as they're three tracks long, but you end up getting your replay value and time in this way, as well as get to learn the courses which will help once you've unlocked the higher difficulties or start playing online.
Online play is still being worked on from what i understand. Nintendo has always had a problem with this aspect of technology so lets all cross our fingers and hope they make a breakthrough on that end like they did with their latest hardware! Fast RMX is playable online... You will definitely get a match, but other players will be seen teleporting around quite a bit. There were multiple occasions where i finished a match in first only to find out that i was actually second, which can be annoying. However, online is just for fun at the moment, there is no rank from what i can tell so far. That being said, local multiplayer works great and is a real blast so there are positives to be found.
An additional mode "Hero Mode" was added in as a love letter to F-zero and uses familiar tropes and gameplay mechanics while upping the difficulty substantially.
How it Works:
The mechanics of this game are simple and easy to grasp for anyone looking to get into it. A button makes you go, L+R triggers help with turning, R bumper is boost. When using a single joycon you can trigger boost simply by pressing in your analog stick. There is a unique feature to the Fast games which is "phase changing," this is triggered by the X button. There are boost pads on the track that will send you flying forward if your phase matches the pad's color, or slow you to a halt if it does not. You have to rapidly change your phase in order to get the benefits from these obstacles. Experienced racers will enjoy the true challenge this game poses, however this may be a bit too much for beginners. Along with the difficulty, the speed and track design make for a wild twisting inverted experience that may confound those not used to games of this nature. So while simple enough to grasp, the experience itself may be just too much for non veteran players. That's not to say the learning curve is too steep, just that the initial difficulty may be a little too high.
A SOLID 7/10
It's a simple arcade style racer that plays tribute to a better game; while also maintaining it's own individuality to a degree. It has a high fidelity, runs smooth, and is one of the best looking handheld games i've ever played. This coupled with it's $20 (USD) price point makes it an easy choice for your new console. However, there is a point i reached where i now only pick it up from time to time just to have a bit of fun and then play something else. it makes for a good distraction and hits on some beloved nostalgia points as well, and you'll definitely want to play this with your friends when you can. It's just a good time. The online issues are a bummer, but will hopefully be fixed in the future. I'd like to see some character's in the game and maybe a story mode as well. Hero mode is fun but without a face to put your struggle to there is a bit of a disconnect. Characters are a huge part of the reason we love games like Mario Kart, F-Zero, and Diddy Kong Racing. Add those in and this could be a real stunner. Until then Fast RMX is a solid 7/10 experience, better than average but has room to grow for sure.