I love it when a game comes out of nowhere and does the rarest of things… takes you by surprise at just how good it is. Hot Wheels Unleashed was one such game, developed by Italian studio Milestone and I’ll be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for it. I was totally wrong as this was a brilliant arcade racer that fully embraced its source material, making fans dreams come true as it brought together the world of the die-cast cars and gaming in an almost perfect blend. It’s been just over a year since the game first hit, so it was a bit of a surprise – again – to see the game getting a re-release as a Game of the Year Edition recently.
It’s another welcome surprise as this version comes packed with ALL the DLC the game has had to date, so you get:
- Hot Wheels Unleashed (full game)
- Hot Wheels Pass Vol 1
- Hot Wheels Pass Vol 2
- Hot Wheels Pass Vol 3
- Hot Wheels Street Beast Pack
- Hot Wheels Sports Cars Pack
- Hot Wheels Beefed Up Pack
This is a huge chunk of die-cast racing fun on top of the core game. Plus if you were to buy just the DLC (not including the full game) you would be shelling out over £100 compared to the £69.99 this complete edition costs. Hot Wheels Unleashed is an arcade racer through and though in all the best ways, as you have to boost and drift your way around a never-ending mix of over the top tracks – made up from some of the Hot Wheels most iconic track pieces.
The main mode is called City Rumble, which is a board game-like career mode, where you have to complete events in order to unlock the next road on the map. Leading to more events and races to complete, all of which is played out on a big car play mat, which is a nice touch. The DLC for Hot Wheels Unleashed also adds three special expansions to the career mode based on Batman, Monster Trucks and Looney Tunes, with each adding new locations and ever challenging tracks to master.
Most of the events fall in two type’s of race or time trial, with the odd “boss” levels in-between, seeing you having to win on some of the most challenging tracks in the game. As for the cars, there are a LOT to choose from across the history of Hot Wheels; with legendary cars like the Twin Mill, Boneshaker and Roger Dodger. However, there are also a few licensed cars too like the Turtles Party Wagon, DeLorean from Back to the Future and even Street Fighter themed rides, which have been added to in part thanks to the DLC. Add to that a very in-depth livery creator to make your mark, as well as a track editor and you’re on to a real winner… well almost as there is an issue with the way you unlock new cars.
This can be done one of two ways: firstly buying the car you want in the shop with your race winnings (although the shops stock is always rotating, so no guarantee of the one you want being there); or you could try your luck at the Blind Boxes – which is a real lucky dip, as you may and often get doubles. The sting isn’t as bad in ways, because if you take on the three DLC campaigns most races in them reward you with a free Blind Box, so it’s a bit cheeky. However, you do get plenty from them by the time you have competed each.
Overlook this bump in the plastic track and Hot Wheels Unleashed is a brilliant racer that is well worth a blast and it’s a deal made even sweeter by the Game of the Year Edition.
An Xbox Review copy of Hot Wheels Unleashed: GOTY Edition was provided by Milestone’s PR team, and the game is out now on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Switch for around £70.
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