autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

Hot Wheels Unleashed Review (PS5): Small Cars, Immense Fun

Unless you’re 12, you probably remember Re-Volt. Launched in 1999 and developed by Acclaim, Re-Volt was an insanely fun arcade racing game that allowed the player to fight for glory using radio-controlled cars on all kinds of tracks inspired by the real life, including construction sites, yards, museums, and so on.
Hot Wheels Unleashed on PS5 70 photos
Hot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshotHot Wheels Unleashed screenshot
One of the most exciting components of the game was the random weapons you could collect as you raced against your opponents, all in an attempt to shoot them down and therefore secure the leading spot.

In many ways, Hot Wheels Unleashed reminded me of Re-Volt, though on the other hand, it lacks this insanely fun weapon support that could throw you from the first to the last place in just a second.

Developer Milestone, however, has managed to create a brilliant mix of Re-Volt, Micro Machines, and Trackmania, with Hot Wheels Unleashed coming with a package that could easily catch the attention of car aficionados out there. Not in the classic way, at least, as the opportunity to drive impressively well-modeled toy cars in real environments recreated in miniature undoubtedly sounds fun.

Let’s start with what most people are interested in: the gameplay.

Hot Wheels Unleashed is a fast-paced arcade racing game that’s not necessarily focused on your driving skills, as it comes down to picking the right car, mastering drifting, and using the boost just at the right time. Getting better at drifting has never been more critical – the more you drift, the faster the boost recharges.

Perfect drifting isn’t by any means easy. Pressing the brakes at the right time and then drifting into a corner is something that does require some skills, though I think that the more you play it, the better you get. So after a few races, the whole thing becomes much easier and less challenging, and this could be both good news and bad news.

Milestone has managed to do a terrific job when it comes to creating awesome tracks, not to mention the cars that you can jump behind the wheels of. The list includes a little over 60 names, including the Hot Wheels Original such as Boom Car, Bad to the Blade, Motosaurus, and Power Rocket. Original models are also available, such as the 2018 Mustang GT, a 1971 El Camino, and the Audi R8 Spyder, while those who want a more special adventure can get the DeLorean from Back to the Future or Knight Rider’s KITT.

Needless to say, each car comes with its pros and cons, so choosing the right car for each track is also important. However, this pretty much comes down to the difficulty level, as unless you’re playing on the highest setting, winning races is pretty easy, even with a car that’s not necessarily the best for a certain track.

The graphics are just right, and while the tracks are brilliantly created, I found myself rarely admiring them because of the fast-paced action. This is actually a great thing, as it proves Hot Wheels Unleashed makes the racing experience overall quite a blast.

The physics system is better than you’d expect from an arcade game. If you believe it’s easy to get over elevation changes or incoming loops, well, you’re wrong. You need to use your boost just at the right time, otherwise, this is where you’re going to lose races – again, this only happens on higher difficulty levels.

Unfortunately, there’s not much to do in the single-player mode, as Hot Wheels Unleashed only has you race against the AI on standard tracks or just race alone to beat a specific time. No other challenges have been included, so you won’t get any rewards for longer drifts, longer jumps, or so on.

The loot boxes are awful, but at some level, they encourage you to get better. The more you play and win races, the more coins you make, so eventually, you can unlock more boxes. More boxes mean more cars, and more cars mean more fun.

The DualSense support is also pretty good, though, given the fast-paced racing, you’ll barely notice. However, the adaptive triggers come in handy when it comes to drifting, as it’s easier to figure out just how much braking you need to apply before each corner.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It’s hard to find something to really complain about when it comes to Hot Wheels Unleashed. Developer Milestone has managed to tick all the boxes when it comes to an arcade racer, and, to be honest, I think this is one of the best such titles in a very long time.

Maybe a future update could make the game overall more challenging by adding more playing modes, especially as the single-player experience is kind of limited.

But at the end of the day, Hot Wheels Unleashed delivers insanely fun gameplay on the PlayStation 5, and while there are things that need to be improved, you cannot not love driving a toy car and jumping around on a pocket-sized track.

Rating: 70/100

Editor's note: Review code provided by the publisher.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories