Just a note that I wrote this on Tuesday and scheduled it for Friday – I’ll be away on a mini-vacation for the next week. Stay tuned for some more Switch reviews and some nostalgia-inducing goodness, coming soon!
As another unrelated note, if you’re having fun on your Switch, add me as a friend!
Friend Code: SW-5543-1226-2329
Everyone who’s played games for years has a franchise or two they never got into, or in some way it simply managed to evade them. For me, that was the F-Zero franchise. It’s odd because I always liked racing games, be it by car, dirt bike, jet skis, or otherwise, but somehow rocket-propelled futuristic ship-cars blasting around at the speed of light never ended up on my television. For shame, Geddy, for shame!
It was just the other day when I was struck with lightning and as the gods reached down to spare me from an untimely death, they instead spoke to me and said “you need to download Fast RMX from the eShop and play it, lest the next strike kill ye.” What other choice did I have?
I needed a game that was a solid break from Breath of the Wild, as one of my worst fears about open-world games is the inevitable burnout from spending hours playing every day with little actual progression. Fast RMX definitely quenched the thirst for that break. The game retails for $20.00 so with reckless abandon I threw some funds on to my account and got to playing, and I’ve gotta say, this game is a blast.
A couple of words about the team that created this game that I found pretty interesting. Shin’en Multimedia have been Nintendo partners for some time, releasing games for consoles as far back as the Gameboy Advance, but the introduction into racing games is a relatively new endeavor. Fast RMX marks the third game in the racing series. It’s worth noting that Shin’en Multimedia is composed of members of the demoscene group Abyss, and if you’re unfamiliar at all with the demoscene, I highly recommend you go on a Wikipedia binge and learn all about it, because the work these groups create is pretty incredible. The general idea is to create a presentation with video and audio elements that complement each other, within some kind of hardware or software constraints. For example, producing these demos on older hardware or by limiting the demo file itself to a certain file size. In short, demoscene guys know audio and visual, and combining the two so brilliantly to create an in-your-face racing game seems like a no-brainer. Listen to a few of their demos and you’ll see what I mean.
On to the game itself, Fast RMX is an absolute adrenaline-fueled face melter that requires every ounce of focus to play. I don’t know what the average human reaction time is, but I’ll tell you, you’re going to need to do better than whatever that is to play this game effectively. I found myself with my back straight up, on the edge of my bed, eyes wide open, screaming at the TV within 10 minutes of launching it for the first time. Unless you have superhuman levels of a reaction time, you will struggle with this game at first.
While that may make it seem like it’s tough to get into, it’s actually very accessible. I was able to pull a few Firsts after a few warmup races. Divided into three difficulty modes, Novice mode takes it pretty easy on you, with the other races making a habit of slamming into each other or otherwise just driving off the track entirely. They can Boost you right out-of-the-way, but you can usually get right back in front of them.
Each track is littered with Boost powerups that add to your Boost gauge. Pressing R will enable this Boost and eat away at said gauge, as it propels you through the track at break-neck speed so fast so that you feel your eyes zap open. The vibration in the JoyCons adds to the experience and gives you the feeling of “oh shit, I’m completely out of control right now.” If you’ve ever lost control of a car while driving in less than ideal road conditions, I compare the feeling to that.
Also along each track are strips of speed boosters, to which the player can get a nice jolt of speed assuming they are currently in the correct “phase.” The phase is merely the color which is coming out of the back of the ship, either yellow or blue. Your phase can be swapped instantaneously by pressing X, and trying to time this switch to get a persistent boost can be frustrating at first, but become exhilarating once you learn the track and memorize where everything is. Constantly being in the correct phase is a key part to success in Fast RMX, as there are plenty of sections where your ship will get boosted up and over a ravine, otherwise you will blow up and respawn. You don’t want to do that, by the way.
Once you start to figure everything out with the boosters, I recommend getting used to the leaning controls. Much like drifting in Mario Kart games, leaning helps you make much sharper turns to avoid slamming into walls. It’s pretty much a necessity once the AI starts ramping up in difficulty, because you will need to boost far more often, and the only way to boost effectively without crashing into walls is by cutting through all the corners you can.
Alongside Championship Mode is Hero Mode, unlocked after completion of the first cup. In Hero Mode, inspiration is drawn from the original F-Zero to make the experience significantly more difficult. You share shield energy and boost energy in the same gauge (rather than having two separate gauges for each), and you cannot blow up at all. This makes the game insanely difficult and after a few feeble attempts, I promptly gave up and vowed to “get gud.”
Last night I decided to take the Switch for a maiden voyage in the way of some split-screen action. Fast RMX offers all configurations of multiplayer – online, local console connection, and single-console screen split. They really didn’t leave anything out here – near or far, if you have people who want to play with you, there’s a way to do it.
The JoyCons are a tad tiny to make effective use of the shoulder buttons, and as they play such a critical role in the controlling of your ship, this can get a little messy at times. It’s great fun to play with a buddy (or more, of course!) and the game wastes no time getting you into the action and selecting a game mode, which range from single track to traditional “cup” mode. I played with my sister, who beat me on her second-ever race. I couldn’t believe it, but she got first place. Granted we were playing Novice mode, but this is not the kind of game that you just pick up and are awesome at. Very impressive, I must say. The point of me telling you this is that though I describe it as tough on the senses and overall a difficult game, it’s accessible and you pick up on it quickly. Inexperienced gamers may be put off a bit by the blinding speed but the game works with you.
Online multiplayer was fast and snappy, and everyone on it seems to be world-class because I got dead last every single time. The connection takes about 45 seconds to a minute and places you in a waiting room, where you watch the current race taking place. Overall it’s pretty fast and you’re in the game in no time. With online play as well as single player and multiplayer, Fast RMX plays smooth as butter at an incredibly beautiful 60fps consistent. I played on a 55″ television and in bed on the Switch screen itself and both look wonderful. If you play on the console, I recommend using some nice headphones. It really makes the difference.
If you’ve got $20 burning a hole in your pocket like I did, and you enjoy fast-paced racing games, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. Then add me as a friend!
Have you played Fast RMX yet? Have any questions about it? Any other recommendations for the current Switch release lineup? Let me know in the comments!