Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

Hot Wheels Unleashed Review (Switch)

Few licenses are better suited for video games than Hot Wheels. After all, when the entire brand revolves around collecting a wide variety of small cars and creating over-the-top trucks for them to compete, games that have successfully captured the essence of pure fun. It’s no exaggeration to say that none of them are on top of that.

Hot Wheels Unleashed is the latest attempt to digitize the toy series and is probably the best Hot Wheels game ever. That said, there’s something you’ll want a little more (at least at launch).

The main single player mode of the game is City Rumble. This is a series of races arranged on a large world map with multiple routes. Not surprisingly, the plan is to go through all the races by clearing all the races, earning stars and collecting rewards along the way.

These events are the standard fares expected for racing games. Quick race (must finish first) and time attack (must beat a certain time to get 1 star or shorten 2 stars by 2). With the exception of a few “boss battles,” which are longer races centered around big toys, these races aren’t really that diverse. There isn’t even a typical “eliminator” style race that most games add to make things a little confusing.

It’s fun enough, and depending on your skill level, it can take anything from 6-10 hours to complete. For example, you can set it to Easy if your child is playing or if you like a more relaxed ride. The reward is the same regardless. That said, there are no difficulty settings for time trials, and some of the more stringent restrictions can be difficult for beginners.

The purpose of completing all these races is to earn coins and gear. Coins can be used for new cars and gear can be used to upgrade cars already in the collection. Given that half of the fun of real Hot Wheels collects them, it’s no wonder that even if it’s a bit of loot, it’s also the most fun part of the game.

You can buy a car in two ways. The most common is to spend coins on the loot box “blind box” mentioned above. This will randomly provide one of the 68 cars in the game (the average car will obviously appear more often).

However, this is not a game that offers a new car every time. You can buy a blind box to get a copy of a car that is already in the collection. In these situations, you can sell them or “disassemble” them into gears to upgrade the original gears.

If you start thinking, “Wait a minute, this will make it harder to complete the whole set” … well, yes, frankly. However, there is at least some support in the Limited Offers section. In this section, we will randomly select 5 cars and lay them out so that you can buy a specific car (think of it as the Wii U / 3DS Smash Bros. Trophy Shop). Cars in the store are replaced every few hours. So with enough patience, you can finally get the last car you need.

It’s all working, but what about the actual race itself? Well, that’s really okay. The truck is a clever concept. Expect the iconic bright orange and blue plastic trucks to plummet everywhere, such as loop the loop or banked turn. Each truck also has a huge real-life background to make it clear that you are racing a toy car, as well as a Micro Machines game. However, unlike Micro Machines, these locales rarely get lost in the track itself. In other words, it usually acts as a mere eyeball, not a real obstacle.

There are quite a few trucks, but they are all grouped into five themes: underground, skateparks, college campuses, garages, and skyscrapers. That is, the layout can change very significantly, but the course itself will soon begin to look the same. We hope that future DLC packs will add some new environments to provide the coveted versatility.

The truck itself may take some time to get used to. Acceleration, steering and normal turns are perfectly fine, but drifting isn’t as intuitive as in other arcade racing games. Therefore, it will take some time to stop hitting the end of the turn. Understanding the success of drifting is essential as it powers up the turbo faster.

Speaking of turbo, the game’s boost feature is a clever way to add versatility to each car’s racing style. Some cars have a boost meter that ejects when you hold down the turbo button, while others have a set number of one-time boosts (similar to Mario Kart mushrooms). increase). Both can be recharged by drifting, but each requires a different strategy when used on a truck. In addition, different cars have different boost meter sizes or different numbers of boosts.

Without a car that is definitely the star of the show, things would be starting to get a little overwhelmed here (well, given that the game is named after them, you hope). The 68 cars offered at launch range from wise licensed vehicles like the ’55 Chevrolet and Fiat 500 to more ridiculous designs like the Motosaurus (the big Stegosaurus on the wheels) and the roller toaster.

Unlocking these cars is a real highlight of the game, and anyone who really loves Hot Wheels will be delighted to see some of the models chosen for this game. There are also plans to put more licensed cars on the line, but unfortunately these will be paid to the DLC (we guess because those licenses don’t pay for themselves).

As for the other modes of the game, we’re stuck here. The pre-release curse means we’re having a hard time finding regular online matches, but some of the things we managed to get are working. That said, there is currently only a “quick play” option, no ranking mode, etc. If you don’t upgrade, it can quickly become obsolete.

Perhaps more importantly, the game will also have a “first day” patch, but the Switch version doesn’t actually get it until October 4th (that is, like the fifth day patch). This patch contains “general and minor fixes” and “important updates” to the TrackBuilder tutorial.

Theoretically, once the patch is applied, players will create their own tracks using different pieces and larger “module” toys and share them online so others can participate in the race. You will be able to do it. With a DLC pack that provides more background and modules, this mode provides the life required for the game at this point and could become a Super Mario Maker for toy car racing. But I still don’t know.