Hell yeah love me some Hot Wheels. I mean who doesn’t. I used to keep a few in my pocket just to roll around work. Yeah work, not like school or nothing. Break Table 500 baby! Trying to ramp over ketchup packets and bank around the 5 hair pin turns of Mount Crumpled Bag. That’s why we never had fidget spinners. Who needs one when you got a tiny car. I honestly never much cared for cars, or racing for that matter. Not as a kid anyway. Still Hot Wheels just hit different. Specifically Hot Wheels not like Matchbox or any other brand. Well Micro Machines too, but I always considered them Hot Wheels as well. To bad all the old games kinda sucked. I mean they are playable sure, but not that fun. I still played the heck out of them because they have the greatest game design aspect ever, small thing in a normal place so it looks huge. Any game with that hits my shoebox instantly.

I mean Hot Wheels already dances on the side of wacky fun in it’s own product line so it’s ripe for imaginative video game settings and elements. Does Hot Wheels: Unleashed live up to that hype? Yeah pretty much it’s exactly what I wanted as a kid. The basic gist of the game is racing in Hot Wheels tracks in different locations and while earning random cars. To over simplify.

Hmm? Why am I going right into the car unlocking mechanics without showing a single bit if gameplay? So I guess you don’t want to know what is in this Blind Box then? You’d rather get to the review of the game play? Sure thing you pay the bills around here. First off I gotta say it’s far better than I was expecting. To it’s detriment at times. It’s a completely solid racer. Good weight and physics coupled with silly track elements when needed give it that arcade racer feel. Cruisin’, Burnout, Rad Racer, and well you know the types. Just ontop of that the driving and drifting is like entry level Gran Turismo or Drive Club. With story progression based on clearing objectives along a gameboard looking city map. Just it has me dead ended by time trial speed challenges. I never was to good at those, and I refuse to look up how to grind out upgrades or the race tokens to get more cars. So if I run out of things to do and get bored that’s on them.

So let’s talk look and feel shall we? It’s great. Like I mean just stunning visuals. The areas are large 3D spaces with several different tracks in each set up differently. So driving on a different course you might see an air vent you remember from a different race, pop off the track run down the vent and pop out over the track and plop down right on it. Never pulled that off in a race but in time trials and it was awesome. Change the decorations in your house? It shows up in any stages set in your rooms. Oh and the track editor is fantastic, but the car editor is the best. Body type, material, color, stickers, tires, rims, and everything. You can make a quick change up or spend hours customizing your dream car. Huh? That blind box from earlier? Oh it was nothing…

Just the damn Party Wagon! With plenty of real cars and Hot Wheels originals they still work in licensed ones as well. Now yes some licensed cars will be DLC exclusive. That said base game is fairly affordable at just around 50 bux at launch. As for DLC well more environments, tracks, licensed cars, and classic track packs. Here’s hoping for the 90s classics that haunted my dreams and filled my wish lists. I’d get ’em. Plus it seems Batman is coming too.

I wish I would have grabbed it on Switch because this game portable would be amazing. It would give me time to really dig into those editors while watching some retro commercials for inspiration. That and I’d be more likely to tackle the time trial races long enough to ace them. That’s my biggest complaint is the game goes hard on those time trails early on. I’m sure I could upgrade my cars a bit, learn the course better, not play while drinking, or something to shave two or three seconds from my lap times. They aren’t unfair. Just harder than I am looking for since I don’t play many racing games. Coming in first is easy for me. An active race keeps me focused. Reacting to the other cars and stage hazards it’s amazing. Racing on my own over estimate my lines. Get distracted looking at the lap times. Worst of all I stop and look around the track. I mean you try not to when you start in a T-Rex mouth.

Even though I am barely out of the first few tracks, only have four cars with one being a double, and probably won’t be coming back to it for a few weeks it’s worth full price. It’s a game you can just play over time. Savor the progress as you get it. Toss it in your shoe box and just toss it in when you want to earn a blind box or two. It’s a marathon not a sprint. A game you will keep coming back to. Far to often we get hung up on rapid reward and quick 100% unlocks. Which I am certain some players can do easy. The game is balanced to reward you per accomplishment. The better you are, the easier the game is. So since you aren’t getting a rush from winning those unlocks will keep that dopamine flowing in your brain. Struggling with the races or time attacks, well no unlocks will be coming. At the time of writing the non DLC cars are only obtainable through in game currency not microtransactions. So you start to crave any sign of growth. A good run can feel so amazing. Completely bite it on one will floor your mood just to get that “one more time” bravado. It’s classic game feel with modern graphics and strong punch of nostalgia for all but the youngest of players. So aside from it being a great game for your anytime shoebox I can say it’s a solid game all around. Get it full price and you shouldn’t be disappointed. It’s as satisfying as watching a tiny car wash.

Hot Wheels are always an impulse buy for me almost anytime I pass by the toy isle. Just lately I’ve been focusing more on Action Couch Life. If you’d like to be a part of the community behind the site and help make decisions on where the money goes then how about joining our Patreon? if not well we’d still love to have you over at our Discord channel. I mean you are reading a poorly worked in advertisement for giving us funding after all. So you definitely seem like a cool person. Until next time, be most excellent to each other.

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