07th Apr2021

‘Future Aero Racing S Ultra’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Alain Elliott

As soon as you mention futuristic racer and video games a couple of franchises come straight to mind to many players. For some it will be Wipeout, which started out on Playstation but for those Nintendo lovers like myself, their minds will go straight to F-Zero. A franchise that hasn’t had a new game in over fifteen years but is still loved by millions and for me personally, F-Zero X has never been beaten. So, Future Aero Racing S Ultra (aka FAR S Ultra) has a lot to live up to by just releasing on a Nintendo console.

FAR S Ultra, at least on the face of things, has a good amount of options to begin with. There are 5 cups of 3 races each and over 5 difficulty settings. So that’s 15 tracks altogether with different weather conditions, 10 different teams, 40 car skins, 30 challenges, and local multi-player for up to 4 players. There’s plenty going on! The controls are basic though with accelerate, break, drift and boost (when you’ve earned it).

Each cup is only opened up by finishing in the top 3 of the one before it. This might not sound too difficult and while I wouldn’t say I was an expert gamer by any margin, I would say I was decent enough and even the easiest difficulty setting here is very difficult. To the point that each cup becomes a bit of a grind as you just repeat the races again and again trying to memorise each bend before it arrives and hoping there’s a bit of luck on your side.

The tracks themselves feel different enough from each other but there might be one too many long straights (including many boost pads) with a sudden 90-degree turn. These have to be timed to perfection to stop your car from exploding on the spot. You can’t actually completely crash out, there’s more of a Mario Kart-style stop in play as your car takes a bit of time to ‘come back to life’ with your power gauge. The gauge goes down with each collision but always goes back up after you start up again. Collisions are often frustrating. Sometimes a head-on hit wipes you out instantly, sometimes it makes little difference. An opponent can boost when directly behind (as can you to an opponent) and it will wipe you out too. The sides of the course all feel like brick walls when you hit them too, whether they are trees, gravel, buildings or anything else.

The weather conditions only seem to add something graphically and while the rain for instance, looks pretty cool, the sandstorm just hurts your eyes and you have to almost guess where the next bend is coming or judge it using the small map. The less said about the music the better because it is some awful dance music on repeat that gets stuck in your head and the voice that tells you to “be careful” or “good overtaking” is just as annoying and I turned both down very low in the options.

The graphics are a little basic, this wouldn’t look out of place on a Gamecube, so maybe putting more effort on the track would have helped rather than the lifeless attempt at backgrounds. The cars do look kind of cool though. There’s no story mode or anything like that, it’s all racing and unlocking new cars, tracks and racers – some of this is achieved by ‘drivers experience, points that you pick up in each race. The challenges are things like going a whole race without crashing,so they often just happen rather than really attempting them yourself.

It’s not that I didn’t get any joy from playing FAR S Ultra. It felt like a huge achievement any time I came first place and when I memorised a certain track and somehow managed to take each corner perfectly it does feel good. But even on that very first difficulty setting these things are hard. It all ends up feeling like a slog to get through and although time attack and multi-player will add some longevity, I can’t see myself going back to the game too often.

** 2/5

Future Aero Racing S Ultra (aka FAR S Ultra) is available on the Nintendo eShop now from Nurendsof / Zerouno Games.

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