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Nintendo Switch racing game Fast RMX is a great riff on F-Zero and Wipeout

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Fast as fast can be

Fast RMX

If you purchased a Nintendo Switch this weekend, odds are you’ve begun charting a path through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s beautiful. It’s thoughtful. It’s very, very long. Should you need a break from the bucolic, I recommend Fast RMX, a racing game that borrows shrewdly from Wipeout, F-Zero, and Hydro Thunder.

As the comparison suggests, Fast RMX is familiar. Flashy hovercrafts zip through gravity-defying tracks constructed ever-so-precariously atop cities, in asteroid belts, and through what remains of nature in its chrome-plated future. The game has a ‘90s teenager aesthetic, as if every locale was originally intended as the cover of a Trapper Keeper.

Fast RMX is, as the title suggest, fast. Tracks are built without brakes in mind. Orange and blue boost strips cover the pavement. To use the strips, the player must match their vehicle’s color (by tapping X) to the corresponding strip. For example, a blue vehicle on a blue boost strip adds speed, but an orange vehicle on a blue boost drains it. It’s a simple twist — a la Ikaruga — that adds just enough cognitive load to make Fast RMX more challenging than the typical racer.

The game doesn’t quite achieve the level polish as the games that inspired it. Some tracks have odd, angular layouts that can lead to unexpected crashes. And multiplayer seems to lack rubber-banding, a controversial design choice that can slow frontrunners and boost less-talented racers. Against top-level players, a race can feel insurmountable in the first lap.

But in other ways, the game matches its predecessors. It has 30 tracks and each feels quite different, many with unique environmental effects like rain storms, strong winds, and the aforementioned asteroids, which, let me tell you, can be a real pain in the tuchus. Single-player, local multiplayer, and online multiplayer are available, along with a Hero Mode, that builds shrewdly upon F-Zero. And the overall quality — the design, the stability — are excellent.

Perhaps the biggest differences then between Fast RMX and AAA racers are portability and price. At $19.99, it’s one of the cheapest launch games on the Switch eShop. Value-wise, it’s a steal compared to, say, Super Bomberman R, gallingly priced at $49.99. That the entire package works great on the go is the icing on the cake.

I hadn’t heard of developer Shin’en Multimedia before Fast RMX, but the studio has been producing well-received tie-ins, action, and racing games for over 15 years. In fact, RMX is the latest in a franchise that began with Fast Racing League on Wii and expanded with Fast Racing Neo on Wii U. I suspect RMX though could be the studio’s breakout title. Well-made and affordably priced, it’s the second best thing to play on your brand-new Zelda machine.