This week Hot wheels unleashed is one of the best video games ever made with licensed toy cars. To be fair, that specific concept is not necessarily common in games, but the legendary game from Codemasters. Micro machines The series packs a lot of water for a certain type of arcade racing fanatic. It’s a decent company to land on.
However, while the beautifully modeled toy cars and cute surroundings may seem like the foundation for novice-friendly racing, that’s not the case here. In my week of testing the game before its release this week, I found that Hot wheels unleashed it feels like a Micro machines Skin on top of the modern, hardcore slant Trackmania Serie. That’s not bad, and I had a pretty good time with Released write about it in Ars as I think some people will really enjoy what’s going on here.
But you’ll have a better time with HWU going into it fully aware of its strange and complicated design decisions, along with objections about its economy of cars and tracks in the game.
Drive through meaty plastic straights
Hot wheels unleashed [PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox, PC]
HWU harks back to an older era of arcade racing by opening up with very few racetracks to choose from, and a must-play campaign to unlock much of the game’s content. Start with three randomly selected toy cars, divided between Hot Wheels facsimiles of real-life cars and the company’s own toys; the latter group ranges from sedans to race cars and Kitt from Knight rider to the dinosaurs with wheels. With each campaign level you beat, you unlock “coins” (which can be spent on new cars) and “gears” (which can upgrade existing cars).
Every race track in Released combines a predesigned room and a series of recognizable Hot Wheels plastic tracks, usually bright orange or blue. Imagine walking into someone’s garage, then routing a nearly infinite budget of plastic straights, curves, loops, and more throughout the space, while also occasionally using the geometry of that world (a table, a countertop) as part of a determined career. line. That is HWU.
Milestone developers, creators of the MotoGP series, I’ve stripped almost everything Mario Kartout of this colorful affair. Instead of picking up random weapons, bananas, or items, drivers are expected to rack up and spend a nitro-boost meter, which mostly grows when you swerve. Hit the brakes in the middle of a high-speed turn and you’ll be thrown into a skid that feels like an arcade, but not entirely unreal. It’s more Forza Horizon that Ridge racer or Mario Kart. The further you veer, the more your boost meter grows, although the race tracks include purple and green stripes that you can also traverse for free, instant boosts.
The result, on a pure driving level, is primarily a marvel. Skidding around an abnormally flexible curve of plastic track feels good, because it’s accompanied by a legitimate sense of speed, a clear formula for optimally deriving your specific car handling, and satisfaction. whoosh of tapping the boost button after a successful drift on a meaty straight. And Milestone has brought their years of racing game development to building their own incredible racetracks within the Hot Wheels universe, especially when the tracks alternate between plastic constructions and real-world environments.
Funny cars, serious physics
I can’t really say that I found anything stinky among the 40 built-in tracks, although their reliance on the same plastic builds and five frequently repurposed real-world scenes kills the tracks’ ability to stay in my mind as recognizable. favorites. Once again, I’m running around the hipster basement with a pool table, a “gamer’s” desk, and an assortment of plastic clues including nitro-filled wild twists and turns. Everything can start to blur.
Also, the physics model of “small cars going at high speeds on bent tracks” is possibly too realistic, at least in terms of cars going off the track at any moment and requiring “hold Y to restart”. ReleasedMomentum comes to a halt right now, and without a legitimate tutorial explaining “fun cars, serious physics,” leading to a rage-inducing learning experience. Some of the upside down moments include “electric” tracks that keep your car’s wheels planted, but that’s an exception. A good part of the game requires keeping an eye out for sudden elevation changes that could cause a car to roll off the track, should it accelerate at the wrong time. Worse, HWU allows players to rotate their car while flying in the air, so you can make useless and fun 360-degree turns while taking an expected jump over a fun and exciting space. But there is no way to modify the trajectory of your car in the air towards a preferred landing place, in case it takes off at the wrong angle.
HWU includes animated plastic beasts that are meant to add fun and goofiness to the slopes. A huge spider can shoot cobwebs that slow cars on the oncoming track, and a snake’s mouth can open and close like a door to its next destination. But the “hints” about these monsters are tragically missing from the release version of the game. The snake’s mouth doesn’t include a countdown or visual clue of when it will open or close, so the only safe option is to slam on the brakes when you see one, no matter what. Spider webs are generally instigated by computer-assisted traps, which means that they will generally land directly on your running path with very little time to swerve. These monsters, as currently coded, smash the fun every time they appear. Milestone, check them out.