FAST Racing League (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Adam Riley 12.05.2011 2

Review for FAST Racing League (Hands-On) on Wii

Following on from its string of great critical successes on Nintendo WiiWare, with Fun! Fun! Minigolf, Art of Balance and Jett Rocket all appealing to both fans and members of the media alike, veteran German developer, Shin’en Multimedia, has decided to turn its hand to the racing genre, having now tackled the sport, puzzle and platform fields. Cubed3 gets an early hands-on with FAST Racing League ahead of its European release on 27th May, 2011 to see if it fills the void left by the lack of F-Zero and Wipeout on Wii.

Shin’en does not let players merely jump straight into the action of FAST Racing League since there are a few differences between it and the majority of other racing titles on the market. Instead players must go through a short ride around a track in order to ‘Qualify’ for the main game. This basically involves accelerating to a certain speed, collecting some energy balls dotted around the course, switching between the White Phase and Black Phase, and then actually finding out what the purpose of the two colour phases are (since this is one of the main focuses of FAST Racing League).

In order to change between normal, black and white, in order to take full advantage of boosting strips, a simple tap of the D-pad is required, with the boost function also attributed to the down direction of that particular control method. General user-triggered dramatic speed increases result in energy levels dropping, however not in a manner such as in F-Zero where the vehicle’s shield depletes, but in a way that leads to pertinent phase changes being impossible when too much boost has been used. Not having the ability to switch phases can certainly result in catastrophe, with areas of track that have coloured strips above the race vehicle that drag it upwards and allow racing to continue along upside down for a short while to cross over gaps. Not the right colour? Then watch as you crash and burn. There are plenty of crashes in FAST, with falling off the side of courses being a (user) issue as well, yet thankfully play resumes quite swiftly following such an occurrence.

Screenshot for FAST Racing League (Hands-On) on Wii

Players need to pay careful attention to the coloured strips found around each course, since they come in black and white varieties, and there is a massive advantage when donning the right shade at the exact time. Should you remain in the craft’s neutral hue there is no velocity augmentation, whilst being the opposite tone leads to a major reduction in momentum…and being fast is something that FAST Racing League certainly does not lack in the slightest! Everything flies around at a break-neck pace, with stunning visuals throughout that are reminiscent of those in the gorgeous Jett Rocket and put numerous Third Party retail disc releases to shame. Shin'en Multimedia once again proves it is the king of compressing huge amounts of data and achieving stunning results.

Each of the vehicles appears to be named after fictional Japanese companies, such as Ibashira Ltd, Hiroyami Inc, and Tenshui Corp, and they all have a slightly different feel to ensure there is enough variety for players to actually want to switch between racing craft. The majority have a very ‘floaty’ feel, though, which may put certain people off at first. However, it does not take too long to acclimatise to, eventually allowing for crazy cornering to be pulled off in the absence of gliding using air-brakes, or skidding as in ground-based racers. Players can hold the Wii Remote on its side, á la Mario Kart Wii, and tilt it accordingly to zip around bends whilst retaining a considerable amount of speed as they roar around courses littered with all sort of obstacles and hazards, or they can opt for standard Wii Remote and Nunchuk or Classic Controller options. FAST Racing League truly is an exhilarating experience and set to become yet another massive hit for Shin’en on WiiWare.

Screenshot for FAST Racing League (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

In this preview edition of FAST Racing League only one of the leagues was available, giving access to four of the race courses, whilst the final edition will have three leagues and a total of twelve tracks, with the ability to save progress every step of the way. Additionally, ‘Challenges’ and ‘FAST Records’ will be optional in the final product. However, even just from the early hands-on it is clear that once again Shin’en is leading the way on Nintendo’s WiiWare platform, and clearly justifying why it has had some of the biggest hits on the download service. People want quality products for a good price, and Shin’en delivers time and time again.

Developer

Shin'en Multimedia

Publisher

Shin'en

Genre

Driving

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Looks to be a total rip-off of Wipeout. Doesn't mean it won't be good. Just means it's a rip-off.

Jett (guest) 13.05.2011#2

Well, Jett Rocket was an homage to 3D Mario adventures, with some Jak & Daxter / Ratchet & Clank mixed in.

Shin'en's very good at taking solid, already well-established ideas and making great game's from them.

This sounds good. How does it play in the other control methods? And multiplayer? Did you get chance to try them?

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