In an age where F-Zero and Wipeout aren't around much, it's promising to see a new futuristic racer. Considering Fast Racing Neo has some big shoes to fill, just how does it hold up to these classic racing series?
The makers of the enjoyable twin-stick shooter Nano Assault Neo have branched out into racing games. If you've ever played the previously mentioned futuristic racers then you already know what to expect. You control a hovercraft by steering, boosting, and holding the shoulder buttons to lean into turns. Also, an interesting new mechanic is the ability to switch between a blue and orange aura in order to take advantage of coloured patches. If your colour matches then you get a boost but a non-matching colour will result in your vehicle drastically slowing down. The controls are implemented intuitively and gameplay feels incredibly tight and responsive. This is great news seeing how the difficulty can get brutally challenging. Overall, Fast Racing Neo's gameplay makes it an absolute blast to play.
One area where Shin'en Multimedia always excels is presentation. Fast Racing Neo boasts visuals that are up there with the best looking PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games. The tracks are detailed and animated with such features as monstrous creatures getting in your way and falling rock hazards. What makes it go the extra mile are the mind-blowing blur and weather effects that give an overwhelming sense of speed. In my decades of gaming, I don't think I ever played a game that made me feel like I'm going this fast. To add a layer of adrenaline, an exhilarating electronic music soundtrack will definitely get your blood pumping. In the end, its impressive presentation blends perfectly with the satisfying gameplay to craft one must-download futuristic racing game.
Fast Racing Neo's single player portion consists of a Championship mode with four cups that can be played on three different difficulty settings. Each cup is broken up into four races making a total of 16 tracks. The fact that there are 16 tracks and each one is unique enough to set itself apart from the rest is just awesome. You can challenge these tracks separately in Time Attack mode, too. If you ever manage to reach Hypersonic difficulty then you'll unlock Hero mode where your boost gauge becomes a health meter. When it comes to multiplayer, you can enjoy local split-screen matches or take the race online. It's incredibly easy to set up and jump in to either of these multiplayer modes. However, you can't play with a mix of local and online players (like you can in Mario Kart 8) which is a missed opportunity. That being said, there's enough content here that this exclusion is easy to forgive.
Although Fast Racing Neo is one radical racer, it does have a couple of issues. I don't have a problem with difficult games but when the challenge comes off as unfair at times, I can't help but get frustrated. This occurs when your vehicle crashes which happens much more often than you'd think. Most of the time, crashing is undeniably your fault but sometimes it just doesn't make any sense. Once, I flew off a ramp and was soaring above the track. I lined up my vehicle to land safely yet for some reason it flashed in mid-air and I respawned well before the ramp. What the heck happened? Did I fly too close to the sun? Most racing games allow you to return to where you crashed or even a bit further down the track yet Fast Racing Neo tends to put you way back. You get some boost replenished but you can't use it often because you'll quickly crash again. Finally, the tracks require too much memorization in order to master. Knowing where every obstacle, tricky turn, and shortcut is becomes mandatory. Because of this, your raw skills are only part of the equation.
Fast Racing Neo is one incredible must-download game for anyone looking for a thrilling futuristic racer. It does have its shortcomings but the pure racing joy at breakneck speeds more than makes up for any of them.
- + Impressively tight and challenging gameplay
- + Incredible graphics with an intense sense of speed and awesome soundtrack
- + 16 unique and beautiful tracks
- - Local players can't join in online
- - It's easy to crash and the penalty for doing so can feel devastatingly unfair
- - Success relies too much on memorization