There is one thing from my childhood that I remember with fond memories, playing with my Hot Wheels cars. A friend and I would build cities and roads in a sandbox as young kids and drive around the Batmobile and other smaller cars. Milestone is currently developing the next best thing in car racing with Hot Wheels Unleashed. Let’s go over how this holds up against our childhood nostalgia trip.
First and foremost, Hot Wheels Unleashed is a racing game where your tracks are mere toys and the world around you is your plaything. There are areas that have loops and turns where the car maintains a link to the track by magnetic plates. Should you leave the track there are tons of places to explore but the more time off the track the lower your placement in the races. There are a lot of different cars to use and many of them are unlocked for the preview. Common cars are the easiest to use while the higher rarity cars take a little bit of getting used to on these race tracks. There will be over sixty cars available to drive as well as over forty tracks to challenge yourself on. For the preview, we were able to run around on nine tracks with twenty-eight cars.
When it comes to game modes Hot Wheels will have a career mode (Hot Wheels City Rumble), quick race, time attack, multiplayer offline split-screen, and multiplayer online for up to twelve players. This is a good amount of content for a racing title but for the purpose of this preview we were granted access to quick races and offline split-screen mode. Needless to say, my son and I had a blast racing against some challenging AI racers. While the AI is currently still undergoing updates I would say they are pretty well on their way to a challenging game for players. The modes are just enough for me to want to play this more and more with my son and against people online also.
Graphically, Hot Wheels Unleashed is a master-class on-track design, car appeal, and an overall layout for every place you race. I mentioned before falling off the track to explore. Well, sometimes the tracks detour you through places like air vents so that you can try to get a shortcut advantage. If you don’t care about the race you can roam anywhere that the track allows you to. There are plenty of places where there are no rails preventing you from leaving the main race. While it is not beneficial to leave the course, it does show a lot for the world-building capabilities of Milestone. Everything looks like it had extreme care taken to make the best possible models and track pieces possible for the best immersion into the world.
All in all, there are a lot of good things to say about Hot Wheels Unleashed. It’s off to a promising start and I can’t wait to see the full version with all of the vehicles and tracks it will offer players when it is released on September 30, 2021.
Hot Wheels Unleashed is available for preorder in both physical and digital editions for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Note: Our copy was previewed on Steam with a code provided by PR.