Hot Wheels: Unleashed
Version tested: Xbox Series X
You may be forgiven for thinking Hot Wheels is solely aimed at kids but this arcade racer has shown from the start there is plenty here for all ages!
Fully licensed with some real iconic cars from all eras Hot Wheels Unleashed does a great job keeping its players wanting to come back for more. The sheer amount of content included here is really impressive, with loads of different toy cars to collect as well as a really varied track selection and that’s all without mentioning the very impressive track builder!
The cars are the real stars of the show here and all handle very differently with their own strengths and weaknesses. The main four stats are speed, braking power, acceleration, and handling. Choosing a car with really good handling isn’t always the best way to go as even though the stat is high the car will take some getting used to so don’t expect it to just be on rails around the tracks you will still need to master the art of drifting.
Drifting is another important part of racing in unleashed, not only is it needed a fair bit just to make it around the track it also fills up your boost gauge, keeping this topped up is essential to keep ahead of the pack. Boost gauges are also another thing to look out for when choosing a car as some vehicles have more boost than others so always bear this in mind when looking at the other stats.
Handling out on the tracks is very arcadey with like I mentioned before plenty of drifting and boosting, tracks are really well laid out and have things like speed strips to boost you along as well as a toy spider spitting webs on the track that will bring you to complete stop. AI isn’t the best but still gives enough of a challenge, the main challenge however is some of the actual track layouts, hitting ramps off-center will leave you flying off the track and needing to respawn before your race can resume.
Boosting at correct times is essential with this in mind as boosting while hitting a ramp and coming off it in the wrong place can really set your race back, same goes for the drifting as this can constantly have you missing a checkpoint if the drift gets a little out of control so there is a real degree of skill to make it round some of these very twisty, loop the loop tracks.
Quickly moving onto what is now very important in the next generation of consoles, visuals! I am really pleased to say on the Series X the game looks and performed fantastically! The detail in the cars and tracks was superb, the lighting effects were great and at times you could really feel like you were actually a really small race car going around a track in someone’s living room. The performance here was absolutely solid, no stutter or slowdowns anywhere just really solid and fast-paced racing!
My favourite part of the whole game has to be collecting all the different toy cars. There are multiple ways of doing this, winning races to work your way around the City Rumble board would sometimes lead to a tile giving away a blind box or winning races giving out coins to buy blind boxes. Just to elaborate a little the blind boxes are the game’s way of randomly rewarding you with another car to add to your ever-growing collection.
Cars collected can be viewed in the collection tab from the main menu and here you can really compare all the different ones you have got. It doesn’t end there though as duplicate cars can be sold here for money and parts. Money buys more things like blind boxes whereas the parts will allow you to upgrade your favorite cars adding a few more stats to improve them further, this also sometimes improves the status of the car moving from ranks of common, rare, and legendary to name a few.
Collecting cars isn’t the only thing to collect here either as you can design your own liveries and check out other players as well as the design of your basement. Changing items to different colours and layouts, just getting the room looking however you want it.
Back on the track, the last thing I want to give a quick mention to is the sound. Unleashed has the sound pretty spot on with plenty of different sound effects to please your ears as well as decent backing music and menu music.
Multiplayer mode isn’t something I did spend huge amounts of time on but the games I did play were more of a challenge, track builder is great here allowing friends to try out your mad and wacky creations. Content here is certainly something that isn’t lacking with plenty of different modes and things to do.
Hot Wheels Unleashed really surprised me with what a solid racer the game actually is, the arcade fun racing style keeps races entertaining and the tracks are superb with lots of twists, jumps, and loop the loops along the way to the finish. The blind box system to collect all of the game’s cars works really well, finding boxes out on the City Rumble map or buying them from coins earned always keeps things exciting wondering which car you will end up getting. Cars are the real star of the show and visually they have done a great job with all the detail, I also love the fact some cars can be upgraded meaning you can use some of your favourites even longer before wanting to change to a different car. Everything considered Hot Wheels Unleased is a fantastic game that came out of nowhere for me and I can honestly say I will be playing it for a fair while into the future especially as more content comes along the way.
8.9 / 10
Code was provided free of charge for my honest unbiased review.
Hot Wheels Unleashed
- Great visuals and performance on the Series X
- Impressive amount of content from the cars to the tracks
- City Rumble career mode is a great way to set out all the different races.
- Earn money to buy blind boxes to acquire all the different toy cars.
- AI could be a little better