The sequel to Fast Racing League has pulled out all the stops. Fast Racing NEO brings you fast-paced racing action such as the likes of F-Zero and Wipeout. Fast Racing NEO is not really a name you’d expect for a title such as this especially since there are so many comparisons to this being a substitute to what should have been the next F-Zero. Nonetheless, the game has an amazing soundtrack which sounds like it’s been created for an arcade title. Stunning vehicle designs and well developed tracks that are both fun to race on but also beautiful enough to admire – that is if you’re able to slow down.
From the word “GO!!!” you discover that this fast-paced action racing game is going to require a bit of skill to navigate your way to victory in each championship. The game is split into three different difficulty levels namely Novice, Advanced and Expert. Each level allows you to take on a different “league” and within each league four different “cups”. In a certain aspect it reminded me of Mario Kart’s race cups, as in this case each cup has four races which you have to complete and finish within the top three to proceed to the next cup. Only once you’ve completed all four cups within that league will the next league be unlocked.
The controls are fairly easy to memorize but the game does have you using multiple buttons simultaneously. I especially found myself hitting the boost button and phase changer button at the same time. The phase changer button allows your vehicle to change the color from Orange to Blue or vice versa to match special strips laid out on each track. (Think of this as Ikaruga in racing form). If your vehicle matches the strip it gives you an instant boost, basically like hitting the NOS button. If however you tap the incorrect button matching the wrong colour your vehicle surges with a sort of electrical charge which seems to slow your vehicle down tremendously and slowing down is not an option. On certain tracks there are also boost pads laid out with the same colors that when activated elevate your vehicle up into the air as if it’s about to take off, though I found it to hinder the flow of the game mostly.
The track designs I truly found aesthetically pleasing and extremely challenging at times. Each track seems to be designed in it’s own specific location and element. From a space station, to the desert or even something that resembles a concrete jungle. There are also weather patterns on some of the tracks such as rain and ice . I have to be honest though, the only time you’ll truly appreciate the tracks scenery is if you slow down and in this game it’s highly unlikely that you’ll want to ever do that. With that said however, the track designs are quite amazing, leaving you stranded in the air in some instances and testing your reflexes as you’ll need to quickly try and re-route your vehicles path to get back onto the track. In most cases it’s usually these spots where the track breaks away and leaves you jumping from platform to platform that you’ll need to take the most care but the rest of the tracks pathway is all about boosting and trying to knock your opponent out of the way. There are a few traps here and there but nothing too major. The main challenge at the end of the day is navigating through these tracks at high speeds, be it narrow or wide and trying your utmost to not leave your vehicle knocking from wall-to-wall like a Pinball.
Moving onto the vehicles in Fast Racing Neo, I have to say that the developers must have focused quite a bit on it as the detailing on some of liveries is quite amazing. You’ll originally be given three vehicles to choose from but with each cup you finish you’ll receive another. There are ten in total. Each vehicle has it’s own characteristics such as weight, acceleration and top speed. So you’ll have to choose wisely to avoid any frustrations during the races.
All in all Fast Racing NEO is an amazing racing game with a good soundtrack and great vehicle and track design, but once your done with the three leagues the only thing you’ll have to go back to is perhaps the Time Attack mode, which will allow you to beat the developers times, as well as the online mode. Be warned – the online mode doesn’t have that many players even though the game was released over a month ago. This game however is a must for all F-Zero and Wipeout fans.
Check out the trailer below to give you more of an idea of what Fast Racing NEO is all about.