Fast RMX might not be vastly different than its predecessor, Fast Racing NEO, but I’ll try to be as unique as possible. If you haven’t already, you can check out our coverage of Neo right here. Okay, here goes.
Fast RMX is a reflex driven futuristic racer. It’s a shameless love song to Nintendo’s own racing series,F-Zero. It’s also a perfect show piece for what the Nintendo Switch can do.* Fast RMX* is a beautiful example of hardware features and great software coming together to make something truly magnificent. It’s also 20 bucks, so you’re getting a damn good deal for something so swell.
What do I do?
RMX puts you in the driver’s seat of an ultra-fast, hover racer and pits you against a crew of others. Obviously, racing is nothing new, so you know what you’re getting. What makes RMX unique is the series’ signature mechanic of color changing. Throughout the race, you will fly over boost pads. Being in the flavor of either orange or blue, you need to make sure your own car is surrounded by the same colored aura before making contact. This is done by the simple press of a button, and is one of the most important parts of the race. If you’re matched up with the color of the boost pad, you will speed up and fly beyond the competition. If you’re the opposite color, you will slow down as a penalty. This mechanic takes the already high speed reflex testing to the next level and forces you to keep your attention on the track. Finally, as you race along the track, you will collect energy orbs. These orbs up fill a boost meter allowing you to Vin Diesel your way to the front of the pack with ease. Be careful though, as these orbs deplete quick.
An important thing to note is the creator’s decision to keep the camera close to the car not include any sort of rear camera. Doing this really amps up the sense of speed in the game and keeps every race tense. It also inhibits your ability to see the competition until the most pivotal moments. Without paying attention to your mini-map, you will have no real idea of your opponents proximity until they decide to leave you in their wake.
Take note of the buzz words I chose for those two paragraphs. Fast, Reflex, Tense. Every moment of this game does a picture perfect job of reflecting these characteristics.
I’d also like to take a minute to point out what I love most about the game:
First, is the soundtrack. As with NEO, they’ve totally knocked it out of the park with fast paced, electronica that compliment the atmosphere and feel of the game. As with NEO’s soundtrack, I’ve spent quite a bit of time listening to the youtube versions of the soundtrack while I do my work. It’s really great!
Second is point system. If you’ve ever played Mario Kart 8, you know just how frustrating it is to win first place in every race, just to be pummeled by a blue shell and lose the cup at the very end. Instead of this method, RMX awards points based on your placement in a race and decides your ending rank based on the accumulated value. This means that my third place finish in the final race might not negate my placement because I aced the first two races of the cup. It’s a fantastic way to make the game feel fair.
On the flipside though, I’m not a fan of the sense of rubber-banding the game gives you. There are very few instances where I feel like I’ve made considerable progress against the competition. I could be wrong, but it feels like my opponents are programmed to stay as close to me as possible, even if it means they’re breaking the laws of the game to do so. I understand that it attempts to maintain a degree of suspense throughout the race; but often times it just feels a bit cheap. Please remember, this single gripe with the game should NOT be enough to deter you from playing.
The most important thing to note with Fast RMX is how the series has transitioned to Switch. Nintendo told developer Shin’en the proverbial water was warm and Shin’en dived right in and made this game feel right at home on the console. Here’s why:
There are 10 circuits in the game, each with three tracks. Moving to a portable device, this allows for quick play sessions that still feel satisfying and complete. The game moves so fast that races never take more than a few minutes. As an adult with actual responsibilities, I really enjoy how the game lets me go just as fast as I came in. Bravo!
Graphics and Performance:
There’s no way around it, Switch just plain isn’t as powerful as the competition. There’s nothing wrong with that, and Fast RMX proves it. This game looks gorgeous from top to bottom. It doesn’t matter if it’s in Handheld mode or docked to your TV. RMX is going to hold a solid 60fps and look beautiful while doing so.
Admittedly, this is still the only Switch title I’ve played that utilizes the new Switch feature; but damn does it feel neat. As you rush around the tracks, making contact with walls, or flying over boost pads, your Joycon will rumble with a sensation that feels like the chassis of your racer is just echoing with vibration. It feels realistic and way more full than a typical rumble sensation. It is REALLY. FREAKING. DOPE.
F-Zero GX is still the most challenging racer I’ve ever played. It features a story mode that is incredibly difficult. It took me years to complete due to rage induced breaks. So how did I feel when I heard Shin’en was bringing that to RMX in the form of Hero Mode?
Hero Mode not only requires you to finish in first place to progress, it also combines your boost meter into a health bar. If your take enough bumps and drop it to the bottom? You’re toast. Bring on the challenge.
The ability to play multiplayer with a single set of joycons not only allows for easy, on the go, local multiplayer; it’s a fantastic way to be able to show off the game to people who might be new to the series. It maintains the same kind of performance as single player and gives the game the replayability factor that it didn’t necessarily need in the first place. The game does include online play, but there’s just something special about the bragging rights of beating the person on the couch next to you.
Honestly, there are plenty of naysayers in regards to the Switch’s launch line-up and how “lacking” it is. I don’t think any of them have played FAST RMX. It may be 20 bucks, but it packs a punch and some of the most fun I’ve had racing in a very long time. If you’re looking for a game that trades in Mario Kart’s party vibe for something a bit faster paced, Fast RMX won’t let you down.