Arriving on the Wii U eShop on December 11, Fast Racing Neo is a futuristic hovercar racer everyone is comparing to F-Zero, because everyone wants a new F-Zero. It's not quite that, but it scratches the same itch.
Back in 2011 Shin'en Multimedia released a game called Fast Racing League for WiiWare, a game I would have played if I'd cared at all about the Wii at that point. I love a good futuristic racer (Wipeout, F-Zero GX). Hell, I even love a not-so-good one (Extreme G, that one with the things). I find the feeling of unrealistic speed exhillarating, and I long for the stomach-drop that comes when the whole world becomes a blue.
Fast Racing Neo made my stomach drop quite a bit.
Like many of the recent attempts at reviving the racing sub-genre on mobile, this game puts a slight twist on the standard raving format. Throughout the tracks racers will encounter blue and orange speed pads and jumps. Pressing a button swaps the ship's magnetic field or something between orange and blue. Hitting the right pad while the right colour speeds things up considerably, while the wrong colour drags.
I've played through three groups of four races in the Novice Cup so far, with two more difficulty levels to go. Things are pretty spectacular from the get-go, with sharp turns and stomach-churning drops. It's all pretty tame until the third group of four tracks, where the rails are taken away and those without a good handle on their vehicles explode. A lot.
These fucking rocks.
Luckily there's a time attack that's good for practicing the game's 16 tracks, and something called Hero Mode which I've not unlocked yet. Plus there's online racing for up to eight players, and local for four. Not bad at all for a $22.49 ($NZ24.49) download.
Fast Racing Neo is nice to look at, but you'll be too busy trying not to die to notice. You'll barely have time to bemoan the fact that we've not gotten a new F-Zero game since 2004.
But you still will, because dammit.