Hot Wheels Unleashed Review – Mouthful Sized Arcade Racing Fun


I’m sure most of us have played with Mattel Hot Wheels as children or still playing and collecting them to this day. So it’s no surprise that someone decided that making an arcade racing game around the popular diecast toy series would be a good idea, not that we’ve never made other games around. from Hot Wheels in the past. After countless hours with Hot Wheels Unleashed, it’s a game that not only drove my childhood crazy, but it’s also a fun and challenging racing game.

Game name: Hot Wheels Unleashed
Platform (s): Xbox Series X (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
Publisher (s): Milestone Srl
Developer (s): Milestone Srl
Release Date: September 30, 2021
Price: $ 49.99

Unlike other arcade racing games, Hot Wheels Unleashed revolves around the series of toys and playsets released over the years. The entire play area takes place in the town known as Hot Wheels Rumble City. This is where you will choose from several activities such as racing, time attacks, as well as discovering secrets. And just like the main game preview, the individual races are also themed around the Hot Wheel toys that place you in 6 locations, with different variations of the tracks. There is enough of it here to satisfy most people. However, I got tired of running the playing track for endless times because the variations weren’t enough for me. There are also boss races, which I initially thought were like the late Ridge Racer; instead, they’re just tougher versions of races with more gimmicks, and the AI ​​seems to have it for you.

As the name suggests, you’ll be racing with these tongue-in-cheek Hot Wheel toys, and there’s plenty to do there. There are over 60 of them in the game, all from various points in Hot Wheel’s history. I started having fun because I owned a few, while others were cars that I always wanted but never had because my parents hated the fact that every once they turned around they would step on it and swear never to buy me another Hot Wheel toy. Of course, now they’re worth hundreds, if not thousands, that I won’t waste money on. Each car has unique characteristics; speed, braking power, acceleration, handling and boost (nitro). With over 60 cars in the game and the ability to upgrade them, the line between the unique is starting to blur. This is really just the best car for you, or wacky for that matter. I came back with bloated cars like the Motosaurus and destroyed the competition. Honestly, it doesn’t matter in the end.

Another aspect built into Hot Wheels Unleashed is how you earn various useful items outside of racing. There are two different currencies; gears and money. Gears can be used to upgrade your mini racers, while gold can be used to buy new cars from limited offers and blind boxes. Instead of winning cars as prizes for winning races, you will increase your collection by trying your luck with the blind boxes, which can provide you with a super awesome car or a dud. Although the limited offers are cars you can buy that change every four hours and are expensive. Other than that, you’ll earn other items that you can use in the basement, which is your personal bedroom that you’ll customize throughout the game and the track creator.

As well as the customization in Hot Wheels Unleashed, there’s a lot of it here. I already mentioned the basement, which I don’t want to spoil for you. Let’s say if you are designing your room or escape space, this is what the basement is. It’s a nice addition to the game, and while I’ve spent some time in it, it’s ultimately up to you to decide if you’ll spend time in it. Whether you do it or not has no impact on the game. Any cars you buy can also be upgraded to some extent. You have no control over what gets upgraded, and instead you have preset upgrades that will give your cars a little boost. These improvements also vary from car to car. Having said that, I did manage to upgrade a car that I picked up at the start and used it to complete the campaign, so maybe the upgrade system is a bit too much?

Visually, the game is easy on the eyes. The car models are fantastic, certainly better than they were in the preview. While they look great when riding the tracks, they look even better when they are stationary. For those who are familiar with Hot Wheels, you know the cars all look different due to the materials used, which are found in the game. Go back and take a look at the Motosaurs image I posted above. Do you see the metallic sparks shining through the car? It’s fantastic, and Hot Wheels fans will appreciate the work that has gone into making these cars as close to their physical counterparts as possible. The sounds, on the other hand, are average. They do the job, but I felt they could have been better. The music is a great example because the tunes are not memorable, and there are only three or four in the whole game. It is not good when you are on a longer run, and all the songs have shot at least once.

Then there’s the creator of the track, which I’m sorry to say I didn’t spend a lot of time on. It doesn’t sound easy to use, but then again, I’ve never been one for track makers. Still, I’ll take my chances once I’ve won everything there is to win. I’ll be sure to update the review once I do, but I won’t anchor anything because of it.

Multiplayer is better than expected, and I like that we can separate the super vehicles from the common vehicles, making sure the races are roughly equal. You can assign a vote for which track is selected and also enable / disable collisions. Unfortunately, it’s also peer-to-peer, so if someone is hosting a game and running with a bad connection, you’ll know. It was fun from the several sessions I played, but I had a bad experience because my signal was terrible. I imagine that once the game is accessible to everyone, the sessions will be better.

Hot Wheels Unleashed - starting positions

While I enjoy Hot Wheels Unleashed, there are a few things that have bothered me and need attention. Physics, for example, is not user friendly at all. There were times when I hit a turn too hard and landed on my back or was thrown in the air and lost the race. Hit a jump too far and ended up off the track, getting slapped by an AI controller racer and put in a state that looked like my car was having a seizure. Finally, the runners of the AI ​​controller suffer from the classic elastic. You could be in first position the whole race, then miss once, and all of a sudden you are in 4th place or worse.

Then there are the gimmicks in the stages, which I enjoyed, but when they finally cost me a faultless race on my part, that’s a problem. A large amount of RNG occurs during races which can quickly take you from first position to last place if you are not careful. There’s also the issue of some boosts found on the tracks causing you to lose the ability to turn, and some of them are placed just before a turn! These issues turned a race I enjoyed into an exercise in frustration, and I just wanted to be done then. Hope these issues will be resolved in future patches.

Review the disclosure statement: This copy of Hot Wheels Unleashed has been provided to us for review. For more information on how we rate video games and other media / technology, please see our Review Guidelines / Rating Policy for more information.

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Overall, Hot Wheels Unleashed is a fun arcade racing game that has a lot to offer, and unlike other arcade racing games, it has enough perks to keep you coming back. Even after the campaign is over there is still a lot to do like finding all the secrets, getting the best time on all the tracks, the basement and the track creator. Even though it wasn’t a Hot Wheels game, this title is a solid arcade racing game, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a not-too-serious racing game.


  • Lots of timeless Hot Wheels toys
  • Visuals are better than expected
  • Mini cars running around the tracks are fun

The inconvenients

  • Sounds could be better
  • AI is a killing machine
  • Need more variety of tracks

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