Reviewed on: PS5
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release: 27th September 2021
Price: $69.95 - EB Games
Growing up, I loved playing with Hot Wheels, there was something magical about that bright orange track twisting and turning all over the lounge room floor. As a 30 something year old, sitting on the floor pushing little metal cars around a track is a little more suspect than it was as a 10 year old, however Hot Wheels Unleashed is the perfect solution. With all of the excitement and none of the tidy up of building your own tracks Hot Wheels Unleashed is the perfect way to experience that hit of nostalgia without looking a bit weird.
Now, the absolute first thing I want to mention here is just how amazing the car models are. They are pretty much exactly as I remember them growing up. The attention to detail that has been put into these is unreal and only serves to add to the level of familiarity and nostalgia you have with the game. There's a noticeable difference in materials, and an incredible variety of vehicles to choose from ranging from sports cars to the downright wacky hot dog car. All in all the choice and design of the cars is not only incredibly detailed but extremely fun too. The only thing I'm not a huge fan of here is the addition of loot boxes in the form of blind boxes that are able to be unlocked. In Milestones defence, these loot boxes only use in game currency to unlock, but in a game themed strongly towards children as well as adults, I don't think it's a great look. Another thing I don't like about these blind boxes is the randomness of which you unlock cars. There are 66 cars to unlock in total and each blind box is completely random. This takes away some of that drive to keep playing to unlock your car of choice, I personally like to grind away knowing that in x amount of coins time i will definitely unlock “the hot dog car” for example.
The racing itself is some of the most fun “arcade” style of gameplay I've played in years, it's a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, which is something we need a little more of these days. It's fast paced but not too difficult, it's full of loops, twists and turns as well as some of the best jumps in any racing game available. The track design is also an area where this game excels, I mean how much can you do with Hot wheels tracks? Well it turns out, quite a lot. While it's true the tracks are mostly made up of the iconic orange plastic, there's so much more to the tracks in Hot Wheels Unleashed. Aside from the incredible settings from around the house these tracks are built in, ranging from slaloming around dining chairs in the kitchen to flying past a sick looking gaming setup in a bedroom there's a lot of variety and character to these locations. On top of that the tracks themselves feature a multitude of different things, these include web shooting spiders to electric charged anti gravity sections of track making for an extremely varied experience every time.
As you zoom around the track you are able to drift your car around the corners which accumulates boost boost is a valuable tool in the higher difficulties a well timed boost can be the difference between winning and losing. I started on easy, as I usually do for the first race or 2 to get a handle on the controls. Easy is an understatement, I was able to take the front spot almost immediately and stay there the entire race, even when accidentally overshooting a jump and leaving the track. However I found it much more reasonable in the higher difficulties without ever really being “too hard”.