A technical marvel.
I have been a longtime fan of the futuristic racing genre. Wipeout, F-Zero, and even Quantum Redshift hold a special place in my heart. It has been a long time since a game has been worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as those classics though. Fast Racing NEO is a blistering adrenaline rush that is also a technical marvel. Not only because of the system it resides on, but because of its unbelievably small file size. Fans of futuristic racing would do well to not ignore this highly impressive title.
Fast Racing NEO is a pretty straightforward game. There are 16 tracks, plenty of vehicles to unlock, and several cups that range in speed and difficulty. The star of the show though has to be the tracks themselves. They range from standard circuits, to lightning storms, and even in space. Their design is simplistic, but it works. The focus is on speed, and developer Shin’en has nailed it. Races are intense with gorgeous vistas flying by and controls that are right on the mark.
Platforms: Wii U
Price I’d Pay: $14.99
There are so many obstacles in each course. From a giant mech spider, to falling rocks, there is always something going on. The speed makes it that much more exciting when racing on or offline. Smashing into something at that speed is a travesty, but when I managed to dodge it at just the right moment, it was exhilarating.
The racing also features a neat mechanic similar to Ikaruga. There are two types of boost pads, each with a distinct color. Players can switch colors at the press of a button, and if they hit the right color, a speed boost is activated. Hit the wrong color though and it slows them down. There are also gems scattered throughout the track that build up a manual speed boost. The strategy is necessary as the AI, and certainly other players, will be vying for the speed boosts.
Probably the most impressive thing though is that it never misses a beat. This game runs at 60 frames per second and never falters. It is insanely impressive running on the Wii U hardware. Even more impressive is that the game only weighs in at 590mb to download. The developers at Shin’en are nothing short of wizards, this game is technical sorcery.
The single player mode has players racing through a series of four races in each cup, with difficulty increasing in each one. This unlocks new vehicles and cups. Each new series beyond the initial one hosts the same tracks, just with more aggressive AI. Mastering the turns and tracks becomes imperative. This is no cakewalk for sure. Still, even when I lost, I was having a blast. The tracks are just so impressive to look at.
In addition to the single players there is also a split screen mode for up to four players and an online mode. Online tests were pretty stable before release, but I would be interested to see how they hold up once more players join the fray.
Much like their previous games, Fast Racing NEO also supports any controller configuration imaginable. I really enjoyed it with the Pro Controller, but it was just as responsive with the Gamepad.
There isn’t much else to say about the game, but I cannot recommend it enough. Fans of those types of racing games will be in awe of what Shin’en has accomplished here. I know it is cliché to say, but please give this team the rights to make a new F-Zero game. Fast Racing NEO is the closest and best thing to happen to the genre in years. This is one game not to sleep on.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.