FAST RMX was a lovely surprise for the launch of the Switch, and one that this reviewer was very excited for. With a number in our team having played FAST Racing NEO to death on the Wii U, we were intrigued by Shin'en's promises of 1080p and 60fps performance. But could it live up to these expectations? There's only one way to find out.
Straight away you should be gobsmacked when downloading this game simply because of how small it is. Clocking in at a paltry 900MB it's amazing that so much could be packed into such a small parcel of data, and you'll be able to fit it snugly onto your Switch console's internal memory if you've not yet sprung for a micro SD card. Upon loading the game it's also clear that the console's new guts have helped this game come along from the original, in various ways.
Let's start with the smaller stuff. Loading times are appropriate to the game's title, the menus have been stripped back to a more minimalist design, and the whole thing feels like it's been streamlined. There's also a boatload of additional content including the DLC pack that was released for the Wii U version last year. The variety in vehicles is larger than ever, but individual vehicles don't have that many characteristics that set them out from the crowd. Having said that there is a new statistic listed referencing the vehicles' boost capability, although it's not clear whether this is a new feature or just one that was previously hidden.
There are also many smaller tweaks to the main gameplay. Championship mode now has only three courses per cup, making them easier to complete in short sessions, and in a similar vein boost orbs now seem to be a bit bigger and less picky - or at the very least have larger hitboxes - again making the game easier. However this is offset by the fact that the AI is greatly improved. 'Rubber-banding' is all but gone, but the computer players are far more savvy to the ways of the racecourse. If you get a good lead you can keep it fairly hassle-free, but getting there is harder than it's ever been. And if you're keen on the legendary Hero Mode - in which your boost gauge is related to your health F-Zero-style - but you're not so keen on the blistering speeds stripping your eyelids off, you can now play this mode in all three speed settings, which is a nice addition.
The six new courses in the game are an obvious highlight to this version, and to say they're more stunning than ever is an understatement. A personal highlight is Tepaneca Vale, which not only takes place during a thunderstorm but also at night. The water droplets and shimmering lighting is something that can only be experienced in person; compressed video can't begin to do it justice, so looking up footage online isn't going to satisfy your HD raindrop needs.
Speaking of HD, something that has been thrown around a lot is the claim that this game runs at 1080p at 60 frames per second at all times. We were a bit dubious about the claims of 1080p, but upon close inspection - and turning off the Chromatic Aberration setting - we can safely say that that claim is absolutely true. In regards to the framerate we've noticed some minor slowdown in very particular instances, but this is so insubstantial and so rare that 99% of users either won't encounter it or even notice it if they do. This extends to the multiplayer as well, and four-player splitscreen keeps that glorious 60fps (with dynamic resolution helping make it possible).
If you so wish you can also take the race online, although at the time of writing there is no way to specifically play online with friends, only random matchmaking; it's rather bare, as a result. Thankfully a free update is reportedly on its way that introduces not only this feature but also a Time Attack mode, which with any luck will make this already stellar package even better.
In short FAST RMX is as good as the Wii U original and then some. Updated visuals, more tracks, more vehicles, it's an utterly outstanding launch title for the Switch. With the console's ability to allow multiplayer on the go rolled in, this is without doubt essential for racing fans with the new console.