Saturday 10 December 2016

Fast Racing Neo review: Resurrection of a revered racer

Fast Racing Neo (Wii U); rating: 8/10; age: 3+

Published 05/01/2016 | 13:13

Fast Racing Neo: Aggressive opponents make for a challenging experience
Fast Racing Neo: Aggressive opponents make for a challenging experience

THE Formula One on-board camera delivers a frightening experience, conveying a dizzying sense of speed to the viewer as the cars barrel down straights and glide through corners. But it resembles a Sunday drive compared to the futuristic 1000kmh antics of Fast Racing Neo.

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A direct descendant of Nintendo classic F-Zero and Sony’s close relative WipEout, FRN installs you in a rocket-powered ship and thrusts you onto one of 16 rollercoaster tracks. Gently press the accelerator and you can almost feel your eyeballs blasted back into your head.

Fast Racing Neo: An interesting variety of serpentine tracks
Fast Racing Neo: An interesting variety of serpentine tracks

FRN doesn’t stray far from the formula of the criminally under-exploited F-Zero franchise. German developer Shinen has built a series of breath-taking serpentine courses that demand close control of your supersonic machine as it threshes under your thumbs.

The game lacks the satisfying weaponry of WipEout and the sheer variety of ships found in F-Zero.

However, Shinen introduces its own neat little wrinkle with the addition of colour-coded turbo strips that juice up your speed so long as you match your ship’s switchable livery to them. Fail, and you grind to a juddering pedestrian pace.

The aggressive opponents always keep you on your toes, nudging and bumping as they breathe down your neck. In fact, the challenge may prove frustratingly difficult for casual gamers. The twisty tracks don’t always play fair, with some awkward landings punished by a three-second reset and some trackside boundaries smashing your ship to pieces while others merely bounce you back on a racing line.

Fast Racing Neo: Not as good as F-Zero but an acceptable stopgap
Fast Racing Neo: Not as good as F-Zero but an acceptable stopgap

Whenever you falter, however, you can be sure to be relegated almost instantly to last place, a position from which it’s difficult to recover.

With split-screen local multiplayer and rock-solid online match-ups, FRN offers plenty of competitive action.

Its small budget means it can’t reach F-Zero’s glorious heights but at just €15 it’s a welcome diversion in a lean period of releases.

 

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