(WiiWare)

Game Review

FAST - Racing League Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

FAST and furious

It's been a long time since the last F-Zero game. The last one to make its way to the West, F-Zero GP Legend, was released outside Japan in 2003, and we haven't heard a word from the series since, other than its character inclusions in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

While we wait for Nintendo to finally announce something, we're more than happy to play Shin'en's FAST - Racing League, which is quite similar in some regards, but also adds some special things of its own. Like F-Zero, you pilot one of six different flying vehicles, four of which must be unlocked, in an attempt to seize the gold in a bunch of racing leagues.

Each of the selectable vehicles handles a bit differently, some favouring acceleration over top speed for example, but in the end you'll usually want to go for the fastest one you can pick, as your opponents will never be too easy-going, even on the lowest difficulty.

The game's got three different leagues which have to be unlocked in order, each featuring four tracks, which take place in four different environments like your typical desert and snow worlds. There are three difficulties, with you starting out on the first, and you'll have to win all leagues on the lowest difficulty to unlock the next difficulty, where you'll have to win them again to unlock the hardest one.

Difficulties work a bit like the CC level in Mario Kart: not only will your opponents be better drivers, but the vehicles, including yours, will all be faster, requiring you to be a bit speedier reaction-wise. Like Excite Truck and Mario's Wii kart racer, you'll have to hold your Wii Remote sideways and tilt it to steer.

Aside from being able to defy gravity and fly upside-down, and being able to attack other racers, F-Zero didn't really have too many special elements, but in FAST you'll have to look out for a number of things during your races.

Probably the most important are long strips of black or white material, which look somewhat similar to the energy recovery strips from F-Zero. If you fly over these, you'll get a speed boost while you're over them, and they're also magnetic, so at times there will be one above you instead of below you, and you'll have to latch onto it in order to cross a pit.

Of course, there's a catch. At all times, your vehicle is coloured white or black, and it must be the matching colour in order to receive the boost and be magnetically attracted; if the colours don't match, you'll be slowed down instead. Luckily, you can change colours any time you want by pressing Up, but this costs one part of your bar with energy, This bar has ten parts total, and can be refilled by picking up spheres strewn around each course, which you should try your best to get, as missing them could cause you to be forced to take a plunge into a pit. You'll respawn where you fell with five free bar parts, but of course, you'll lose a lot of time.

There are also jump pads, which are colour coded just like the boost strips. Like the strips, they can also sometimes be in front of pits you need to cross, so don't think you can just ignore them. Another tidbit about the bar is that any time you have five or more parts of it filled, you can do a boost by pressing Down. It'll consume the required parts of the bar, however, so don't empty your entire bar right before you need to switch colours.

No video game racing track would be complete without some big walls to smash into, so don't worry, you can count on those as well. Big metal plates that make you crash on contact, no matter your speed, appear on just about every track, and a bunch of them also rotate around a pole to make your life just that little bit more difficult.

Once you're done with the main game — which can take a while, as the higher difficulties are pretty brutal — you won't be completely finished just yet. There are 21 challenges on offer, in which you complete small tasks like collecting items quickly, or simply reaching the exit in a short amount of time.

They're divided into three sets of seven, and will have to be unlocked by clearing the previous set. Interestingly, every single one of these challenges takes place on its own unique track instead of one of the existing ones, meaning that you could potentially argue that there are 36 tracks in the game total, counting the three tutorial courses.

Unfortunately, there is no online multiplayer, but the game does support 4-player local multiplayer, so you can play against your friends if you want to. It's all simply skill-based, so no cheap items that knock you from first to last place in an instant.

Graphically, the game is another masterpiece, which is no surprise coming from Shin'en, joining the studio's other games as one of the best-looking titles on WiiWare. The soundtrack is a bit more subdued but features some cool racing tunes. You can unlock a jukebox to listen to them anytime you want as well, though this is one of the later unlockables, so it might take a while.

Conclusion

FAST is another success for Shin'en. It's another amazing accomplishment for WiiWare graphic-wise, but like its previous games, it has the gameplay content to back it up. The three leagues, which you'll have to do thrice, will keep you busy for a while, and after that, there's still the challenges and potential multiplayer with friends. A new F-Zero can wait a bit longer — this will keep us entertained.

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User Comments (56)

ville10

#2

ville10 said:

Might want to mention that the game doesn't have to be controlled by turning the wiimote, classic controller and nunchuck is supported as well. Also, placing 3rd is enough to unlock the next difficulty.

Otherwise a great review, and a great game!

JayArr

#3

JayArr said:

That is sexiest looking WiiWare game I think I have ever seen. @_@

Shiryu

#5

Shiryu said:

I really hope this gets into a full blow retail product in the future. Would be a very nice 3DS purchase since Nintendo seems to have forgotten they once made F-Zero. Essential purchase, well done Shin'en!

outrun2sp

#6

outrun2sp said:

wow, this game looks amazing. Im a massive fzero gx fan and so proud that i unlocked the ax arcade tracks.

This game im buying tonight. 60fps fzero clone on wiiware. im in...........

Link79

#7

Link79 said:

@ outrun2sp
I never did unlock all the stuff in F-Zero GX. I might have to dig that game out and make another attempt at it. I'll probably be pulling my hair out though.
That game is insanely difficult but I still loved it.

Rathe

#9

Rathe said:

Great game, I'd give it the same score.

My one issue with the game is the extremely touchy handling with some of the lighter and faster vehicles (which, as Marcel stated, are almost necessary to use if you want to win). It isn't a terrible problem, but it makes the learning curve in the beginning a little more difficult.

Other than that, this game is another Shin'en masterpiece.

Sneaker13

#10

Sneaker13 said:

I can't seem to get the drifting or slicing or whatever it's called under control. It's not really needed in the first league, but after that, it's almost a neccesity (especially on ice levels). Great game. I'm more inclined to give it an 8,5/10, but still a great game.

Yosher

#11

Yosher said:

I am definetely picking this one up sometime soon! 1000 points for this game really seems like a steal.

outrun2sp

#12

outrun2sp said:

@7

Get to it. Its so worth it. For all the hard work, you get to unlock all of the tracks from the f zero ax arcade machine and the selectable pods. The graphics are actually a notch above the standard gx tracks.

F zero on gc matches the arcade machine and betters it in so many ways. Ive had my disk for f zero for years now and I hope that it will run in the project cafe machine. Also my miracle memory card that I darent wipe.

The only other game I can think of that does that is outrun 2006.

Link79

#15

Link79 said:

@ outrun2sp
I think I will try unlocking those F- zero AX tracks again. It always bothered me that I wussed out and never fully completed it.
It's one of the few games that tested my patience to the limit.
I'd really like to master it once and for all.

Kirk

#17

Kirk said:

I think this game just goes to show that most developers are/were absolutely taking the piss graphically on Wii; when you can get a game looking and running this good on a 40MB download service for the system.

bboy2970

#18

bboy2970 said:

I agree with this score. This is a fantastic Wiiware release and the best racer on the whole service (although that's not really saying much...). It has a lot more depth than I thought it would. If only it was able to have crammed online in there. Then it would have surely gotten a 10.

AVahne

#21

AVahne said:

Totally agree with the review and the score, this is an AWESOME game!

Omega

#22

Omega said:

This is the best looking WiiWare game that I don't buy. (Sorry, I don't like racing games.) But I save my money for the next big thing from Shin'en.

TheGreenSpiny

#24

TheGreenSpiny said:

I'm pretty damn impressed with this game. Simply the best racer (download or otherwise) on Wii period. The polarity shift is a cool idea that's implemented really well. The track designs are awesome. The game doesn't force you to play one way, you can use the Wii wheel or use a traditional analog stick. My only complaint is that the challenge tracks are not available to race on, as these courses are really cool. Oh, and the name sucks... You could have come up with something better than FAST, Shinen. It would help to sell the game if it had a cool title, lol.

castor

#26

castor said:

Must buy it as soon as possible! And I don't even need to get out of home to buy it lol (at the moment I'm lazy enough to say that). The coolest thing is that you can actually choose which controller to use... Masterpiece.

outrun2sp

#27

outrun2sp said:

WOW. I dont know where this game came from but it is hands down the best racer on Wii after F Zero GX. Utterly amazing suprise. This is better then at least 100 retail wii releases.

Im gonna be playing some serious time on this.

Imerion

#30

Imerion said:

Played this all day! I'd give it a 10/10 no doubt. The only WiiWare games I can think of that I have enjoyed more are World of Goo and Cave Story. (And it might change, depending on how fun FAST is in multiplayer.)
But then again, I really like futuristic racers. As many have mentioned, certainly the best in the genre available for Wii apart from F-Zero GX.
I really hope it sells well, so Shin'en will consider more WiiWare games. :)
Then again, will be really interesting to see what they can do on 3DS too.

Incognito_D

#33

Incognito_D said:

@Link79 I'm playing through GX again at the moment and it's not unlocking the AX tracks that's the biggest hurdle - it's beating the story mode stages on Very Hard to unlock the AX racers. Some of the events are impossibly hard!
Anyway, I think I'll pass on this. It looks decent - the graphics look amazing for Wii Ware! - but kind of clone-y so I'll stick with GX for my high speed fix.

Henmii

#34

Henmii said:

I could already have downloaded it, since I had a good feeling about it. But now I know for sure. I'll download it soon!

mikemac4344

#36

mikemac4344 said:

I finally joined just to leave a comment on this game. If you have played Jett Rocket, you'll recognize the graphical style. Even with the SD resolution, the screens pop out, are bright, and are really enjoyable., I commend Marcel for getting as far in the game as he has...I'm still stuck in the first league. I do wish "easy" mode were, well, easier. As another reader pointed out, Marcel missed that you could use the numchuck as the steering device which makes some of the controls a little more intuitive at the expense of some maybe a little precision while steering. Since I tend to go flying off the road anyway, that's not much of an issue. Shin'en continues to create really high-quality stuff for the WiiWare market and at 10 points, this one is a no-brainer.

mikemac4344

#37

mikemac4344 said:

Oh...PS: yes, "FAST" is a terrible name. How about an honest-to-goodness flight-simulator for the next game? Maybe that'd be a bit much in 40mb?

Traxx

#38

Traxx said:

Currently, I'm not that enthusiastic about this game. Tracks are too short, thus if you crash and have to witness the aweful long crash scene, you already lost. I dont mind playing perfectly in the higher leagues, but this started right from the beginning. Additionally, it's hard to figure out the right flow out of a track: sometimes, opponents can catch up pretty easiely, although you catch every opportunity to boost and keep up the speed. Moreover, there is no quick option to restart a race, making things worse.

Maybe I will have to play a bit longer, but I played enough racers to tell something is not right in FAST's gaming mechanics and dificulty - and I finished F-Zero GX 100%...

For the time being, 7/10.

wanderlustwarrior

#42

wanderlustwarrior said:

So just to be sure, no attacking other ships with multiple weapons? Cause that was why I always preferred Wipeout to F-Zero.

TheGreenSpiny

#43

TheGreenSpiny said:

@Traxx: You clearly didn't play F-Zero to 100%. Crash once in GX and game over, you have to restart the race. I've crashed in this game and still won the race. That is on easy mode. I haven't worked my way up and unlocked the higher difficulties.

@42: No weapons in this game just pure racing.

SwerdMurd

#44

SwerdMurd said:

i found this game a lot more fun than wipeout or mario kart...mostly cause attacking each other gets in the way of what i want to be doing--racing quickly with precision. F-Zero was just straight-up, difficult, insanely fast racing, and I wanna say I'd crossed the 200 hour mark by the time I beat Deathborn's story on Ch8 on Very Hard (after memorizing how to hit all the bombs on my first lap to gain speed).

This game isn't quite as technical as something like F-Zero, but the way they do the challenge is really cool. I personally liked the fact that I wasn't able to get above 3rd place the first time through the different track sets--on the easiest difficulty the first time!

A few weird issues, such as the wily variability of where you'll respawn when you fall off--sometimes you'll actually gain a bit of speed, other times you will drop from 1st to distant 8th. Still it's awesome...first Wiiware game in forever, and quite happy about it.

Traxx

#45

Traxx said:

@TheDarkness: Maybe you go back to GX for yourself and have a look how F-zero crash system actually works. Hint: its not the same system FAST is utilizing... and I think it's very rude telling I were a liar. So, no use argueing with you, good luck in life with that attitude.

Wolfenstein83

#46

Wolfenstein83 said:

I was waiting forever for this game to come out, and at long last I have played it.
I think if the game had online multiplayer, the score could have been a ten, but as it is, it's a pretty sweet racing game.
It gets really challenging, really fast, so be ready for that if you haven't got this yet.
I liked the dark and light boost pads, that was a neat idea, and the designs of the racers/ships are pretty slick, and remind me a little bit of Wipeout.
All in all, this should be a must have for race fans.
Oh, and did I mention the graphics are pretty amazing for a WiiWare game?

Riquerico

#49

Riquerico said:

Great review! I've always been a fan of F-Zero so this review made me buy this game, and I can only say do not regret it even a bit!

Incognito_D

#53

Incognito_D said:

after playing the demo, it's pretty much the ultimate F Zero GX clone, even in terms of little things like the way the camera pans around before the race. However, if Nintendo aren't going to give us a new F-Zero, then no harm in other developers copying it! I'm glad you can use the nunchuck as well because I found the motion controls a little too imprecise for this type of game

winter123

#54

winter123 said:

Those courses remind me of Xtreme G 3, I think was a launch title on Gamecube. Such an underrated game and series.

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