FAST Racing Neo (Wii U) Review

By Shanker Varma 06.01.2016 4

Review for FAST Racing Neo on Wii U

Futuristic racers have been missing from the gaming world for a long time but Shin'en Multimedia has ventured back into this area with a fantastic new game, FAST Racing Neo. The developer has captured an exhilarating sense of speed and created a challenging, but very enjoyable, racing experience. The question is, has is surpassed the excellence of its predecessor, FAST Racing League and how does the final game compare to the impressive early demo Cubed3 tried.

The arcade style gameplay is clear throughout FAST Racing Neo but the game itself is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It is easy to think that the first of the four cups would be straightforward, especially on the lowest difficulty level, yet players will immediately find themselves fighting hard for the top spot on each track. The AI is unforgiving, and only gets tougher, but the experience is never unfair as each craft is very responsive in its handling, and so quick reactions and practice are the keys to success, as opposed to blind luck.

Screenshot for FAST Racing Neo on Wii U

Like other racers, Fast Racing Neo has boost pads on the surfaces of each of its courses but it has implemented these with an interesting mechanic. Each pad is coloured either blue or orange and speed-enthusiasts must ensure that their ships match the correct hue to use it. Failure to do so results in an abrupt drop of speed, so there is a big risk-reward element every time. This also applies to some jumps on parts of certain tracks and can lead to an intense racing experience, especially on the harder difficulty levels where it is mandatory to use them to keep up with the AI.

Each craft is equipped with its own boosting mechanism so that it's possible to get an extra burst of speed at practically any point. This is reliant on collecting coloured orbs that are scattered throughout, though, used to fill the boost meter. The freedom to go fast at any time is very temping but it must be used with responsibility. Crashing into one of the many obstacles drastically hampers speed levels and almost certainly spells defeat against the tougher AI further in.

Screenshot for FAST Racing Neo on Wii U

Championship mode is the main single-player option and is structured similarly to Mario Kart, with four cups, each consisting of four different raceways. There are also three speed classes, the lowest of which is designed to be the easiest but this is purely relative, as even the most seasoned gamer will find a challenge here. Placing at least third in the hardest speed class will then unlock Hero mode, which turns the boost gauge into a hybrid meter that measures both the boost power and shield level of the user's craft, much like in the classic F-Zero series. Hero mode takes place on the same 16 courses as Championship, but they are mirrored to truly offer more and justify its name. The single-player also consists of Time Attack, where new courses appear after completion in the Championship. This is a great place to learn the intricacies of each course while finishing a race in the best time possible.

Screenshot for FAST Racing Neo on Wii U

Multiplayer modes are always a welcomed addition to racers and Shin'en doesn't disappoint here as up to four people can play locally or one person can go online to join up to seven others from around the world. Online gaming is pleasingly lag-free and the experience is just as fast and frantic online as it is offline. Unfortunately, anything above two-player split-screen does lead to a noticeable drop in the resolution and, at times, the frame-rate but it still delivers an enjoyable experience.

The art design in FAST Racing Neo is fantastic and maintains a smooth experience at 60 frames per second, with minimal hints of slowdown, as mentioned. Sadly, the fluid gameplay comes at a cost, as the visuals are let down by a low resolution overall. It's easy to look past this when racing at blistering speeds during a race, but it becomes very apparent after, for example, hitting a barrier and taking the time to analyse the image on-screen. Nonetheless, the well-designed environments still draw players in thanks to wonderful settings, such as futuristic cities, alpine peaks, and expansive oceans that are complemented by features such as meteor showers, and even a cameo from beast of the Nanostray variety.

Screenshot for FAST Racing Neo on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

It has been far too long since a futuristic racer arrived on consoles and Shin'en Multimedia has done a fantastic job bringing the genre to the Wii U's eShop. FAST Racing Neo isn't a great game merely because the genre is lacking, it actually stands out on its own merits as a fantastic racer and a must buy for anyone who has been waiting years for a new game from the F-Zero or WipEout mould.

Developer

Shin'en

Publisher

Shin'en

Genre

Driving

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Comments

The screenshots look sorta like Star Wars Episode I Racer, which was definitely one of my favorite N64 games. Is that an apt comparison? I have the remake/sequel/whatever-it-is on PS4 of SWE1R, but it didn't really do it for me. :/

Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?

I can't say I've played that, but FAST is a real speed demon. Even after weeks of practice I bounce around off the walls, but slowing down isn't really an option as the AI rebounds at times, meaning you've just got to put your pedal to the metal and hone your skills as much as possible. That sensation when finally pipping an opponent to the post is amazing!

The soundtrack's sublime as well, with some very cool trance/dance themes pumping throughout. I know what Shanker means about the visuals - there are bits that are amazing, but others where it's obvious the team's done a trade-off to keep the speed high and the file size low (less than 600MB, I think!), but the textures that look rough are ones that normally wouldn't be noticed when zipping along. What DID strike me is the grainy filter effect employed... Shanker, have you noticed that in some races?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

The biggest thing for Star Wars Episode I: Racer was its sense of speed. The vehicles in it do look a bit like the vehicles in FAST above, but Episode I Racer had an excellent sense of speed for the N64. It's definitely worth a look if you've never played it. They sound like pretty similar games, really, except that E1Racer didn't have Rubberband AI. In the harder races, though, even using Turbo at every possible opportunity wouldn't guarantee a win, and so much as touching a wall at 700+ would guarantee an explosion, which cost a lot of time. It was really awesome, and a ton of fun. Buying repair droids, parts from the junkyard and shop to upgrade your pod racer... It was really great fun.

I'm kinda sad now. I miss it. Smilie

Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?

I do vaguely recall the positive reviews at the time. Wasn't there another racer that followed it, but didn't live up to the same expectations? Also, who developed it? Paradigm jumps out at me, but my memory of those days is hazier than expected Smilie

EDIT: Not Paradigm...but there was a sequel...but it wasn't poorly received. Okay, spotty memory, definitely! Smilie

( Edited 06.01.2016 21:30 by Adam Riley )

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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