GAME NAME: Fast Racing NEO
PLATFORM(S): Nintendo Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): December 10th, 2015
When looking at Shin’en’s latest Wii U title Fast Racing NEO there is no denying that the game resembles and tries to recreate the fast-paced excitement that racing fans get when they would play the F-Zero franchise from Nintendo. While visually it has many similarities, Fast Racing NEO does plenty of things different and well enough to distinguish itself as not only a great racing title, but one of the eShop’s best titles of the year. It definitely will fill the void that Nintendo has left in the futuristic racing genre.
As with most racing titles, there isn’t a “story” mode but rather a Championship mode where you will race through various futuristic landscapes that look out of a Star Wars or Star Trek movie. The Championship mode has the tracks bundled in 4 per cup a la the tradition Mario Kart formula. Hell, if it isn’t broken why fix a known successful formula. As the cups progress, the game gets faster and tougher to stay on the tracks. There was one area of a later track that I swear I crashed and burned on at least 6 times before moving forward. As you learn the tracks they become easier because you can anticipate whats around the bends, but with the lack of a mini map, repetition is the best course of learning. There is also a time trial mode as well as the unlockable Hero mode. In Hero mode the game becomes more like F-Zero in that your boost meter becomes more of a shield meter and we all know what happens when the shields drop to nothing…BOOM!
The controls and gameplay have a slightly different feel then other futuristic racers that I have played. The turning dynamics feel a little loose and will take you a little bit to get use to. The boost auge is filled by collecting little pellets that are littered throughout the track. You can also use boost strips by matching the color of the boost strip to your flame. If you hit the boost strip with the opposite color you will be slowed instead. Everything feels natural and the track design uses these elements perfectly through out each cup. One negative I found through my play sessios was that if you crashed later on in a race you pretty much had no chance to catch back up to the leaders of the pack. A first place finish usually required a flawless run. I experienced that it would take me almost two full laps to catch back up if I crashed early in the race. This seems like a very unforgiving feature, especially to less skilled gamers which may make casual players steer clear of the franchise.
Fast Racing NEO also boasts an online mode to go along with the single player modes. In the races that I played online everything felt seamless and I didn’t experience any lag. So now that someone besides Nintendo has put a futuristic racer online, there is no excuse why the Big N can’t give us the F-Zero we have all been longing for.
Graphically there doesn’t seem like there isn’t anything Shin’en can’t do. When I reviewed their title Art of Balance, I was floored with their art work and graphics for a puzzle game. Fast Racing Neo looks even better then Shin’en’s previous efforts and even rivals some of the best looking titles that I’ve seen come across my Wii U! The soundtrack is exactly what you would expect, lots of futuristic techno electronic music. The announcer sounds awesome and the sound effects of the vehicles sound killer as well.
In an off year for Nintendo title both first party and third party, Fast Racing NEO stands out of the pack as one of the few bright spots. It rivals a few indie games such as Affordable Space Adventures and Gunman Clive HD Collection as the top indie games released on the Nintendo Wii U. There is no reason if you own a Wii U not to pick up this game. If you are among the people clamoring for a new F-Zero this will help fill the void.