Nintendo Switch’s launch lineup has the majority of its genre bases covered. Party game? Check, 1-2 Switch. Japanese RPG? Check, I am Setsuna. Open world blockbuster? Check, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
However, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe coming at the end of April, the racing genre void was ready and available to be filled. In steps Fast RMX, a F-Zero inspired racing game that will undoubtedly scratch an itch for everyone looking to smoke their friends along crazy, gravity defying tracks. Offering a satisfying gameplay twist to the arcade racing sub-genre, Fast RMX is greater than the sum of it’s parts while also being a stop gap to more polished games in the future.
I’ve always been partial to often-obscure racing games, and Fast RMX is no exception. Neither a kart racer like Mario Kart nor a more traditional arcade racer like Ridge Racer, Fast RMX is almost a modern representation of the F-Zero franchise. The game sports heavy electronica, futuristic themed tracks, and break-neck speeds. Developer Shin’en Multimedia is no stranger to either this style or genre — they’ve previously worked on fast paced, futuristic racers like (the aptly named) Fast Racing League and Fast Racing Neo for Wii and Wii U, respectively.
Right off the bat, Fast RMX plays pristinely as an arcade racer — while you lose the realism of real cars and racing physics, the games control’s are tight, responsive and fair. After playing a track or two, I had a full understanding of what the game expected of me during jumps and tight corners.
The Fast series main-stay is the phase-switch, a feature that makes a return in Fast RMX. Essentially, each of the 30 tracks will have neon blue and orange sections of track: ramps, tractor beams, and boost mads all make the appearance. At any time, players are able to change the phase color of their car by pressing the “X” button on the Joy-Con (or the respective top button if played in single Joy-Con settings).
The feature is dynamic, adding a layer of strategy above the normal boosting. Players need to memorize the tracks or keep an eye in the distance to see what the next vantage point will be for their phase. While it is less “fun” than attack/defense items found in typical kart racing games, it does give the game flavor beyond rudimentary arcade racers.
Fast RMX offers a ton of variety, yet everything about the game feels homogeneous. For instance, although the game features 15 vehicles with a variety if different stats, they all felt the same. Occasionally I would notice another ship driving faster than mind, but everything seemed so balanced and thematically the same that I never felt the need to jump outside of the first ship.
Additionally, Fast RMX features roughly 30 courses that range from spectacular to dull — all lifted from Fast Racing Neo’s catalgo with exception of 6 new ones. While I never had a bad time in each levels, it was clear that more work had been put into making the tracks visually impressive than play well. Tracks will feature obscure obstacles and no-win perils that even the computer players have problems navigating.
With that said, the tracks’ settings and concepts are all varied and original. Sporting similar anti-gravity elements that Mario Kart 8 displayed, no two maps feel the same. Some will have you navigating the rain-forest during a storm, others will have you speeding along a cylindrical avoiding aliens.
Visually, the game won’t hold up to Forza Horizon or other modern racing games, but there does seem to be a rich visual upgrade from the game’s Wii U predecessor. Sporting 1080p and 60 frames per second action, Fast RMX is clearly more of a multiplayer standout than a visual showcase. With that said, the environmental effects did tend to catch me off-guard and I wouldn’t take issue calling Fast RMX the best looking portable racer I’ve ever seen. It’s undoubtedly one of the best looking titles on Nintendo Switch, as well.
Fast RMX features a load of different features — online multiplayer (that, for the record, doesn’t let you matchmake with friends currently), local multiplayer, single Joy-Con support, HD rumble, 10 championship cups, three speed settings for difficulty and challenge modes. While time trial and friend matchmaking will come in a later update, they aren’t currently included. The game lacks any story or extensive gameplay options, making it feel like a pick-up-and-play game rather than one someone can get invested in.
As mentioned above, the music is standard fare above all else. With a mix of techno and electronica, the music tends to fade into the background — each track is less memorable than the last.
Fast RMX isn’t the best looking arcade racer on the market, and it lacks the polish that other games bring to the equation. However its tight gameplay and impressive tech (for Nintendo Switch) elevates Fast RMX to something better than its individual parts. For those searching for recommendations, Fast RMX easily offers $20 worth of racing entertainment as you wait for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and is an easy buy to any fan of the genre.