PAX Prime: First Impressions—Fast Racing NEO (Wii U)

Fast Racing NEO is a Wii U exclusive and the F-Zero dupe that folks have been waiting for while Nintendo decides what on earth they’re going to do with the F-Zero franchise (which is currently in limbo, despite the Mario Kart 8 track added in DLC?!).

Coming from Shinen Games this December, Fast Racing NEO is most easily described as a racing game with the most appeal to those for whom 200cc in Mario Kart 8 is too slow. Ah, we jest. But only a little. After all, the game runs at a constant 720p with 60FPS, and is really just a visual wonder to behold.

The art is fantastic and very futuristic, as you’d expect. The vehicles and tracks are appealing and eye-catching, if not a little distracting while you’re racing at top speed (or maybe that’s just me, since I kept crashing into all these great looking things and hence, noticing them). The aim of the game is the same as you’d expect with any racing game: Win first place.

It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s…not as intuitive as you’d expect for a racing game, and herein lies the problem. When we arrived at the demo station, there was no one there to show off the game. Faith picked up the controller and started playing—or at least tried to. Without anyone there and without a controls map (as there were at some other stations—after all, demo folks need breaks too, we get that), figuring out things like braking and boosting—for which you need to switch colors on your car to get the boost—was next to impossible. There was no available tutorial, and in fact the only way that we got playing properly was thanks to a young PAX attendee who’d played the game earlier and had actually learned the controls from someone else who’d been playing. So it seemed as though PAX attendees were figuring it out and passing on how the game worked, like some sort of secret demo club.

We want to like Fast Racing NEO and we think it has a place on the Wii U. However, without a comprehensive tutorial—especially for a game where you’re racing at such high speeds and with some unusual mechanics—it’s critical to demonstrate how the game works. Maybe in the final version we’ll see this (we can only hope) but right now it feels like a bit of a jumble.

Fast Racing NEO does have a variety of modes to play through—time attacks, online matches, championships, hero mode—so it does look like it’ll have some very good replayability. We’ll have to see if the “how to play” issue is addressed when the game releases this December 10th for $15USD on the Wii U eShop.

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Faith
Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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