Hot Wheels Unleashed Review: Extinguished Flames

Hot Wheels Unleashed is a new line of Hot Wheels cars that come with a fire-retardant body. The cars are made from a material that can withstand temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and melt at around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot Wheels Unleashed is a new game from the developers of the popular series, Hot Wheels. The review will provide you with information on how to play, what cars are in the game, and more.

One of the most well-known toy brands in the world is Hot Wheels. It’s wowed young kids and adult collectors for decades with complex tracks, entertaining original vehicles, and thrilling licensed crossovers, but its video game adaptations haven’t always satisfied all of its admirers.

In many respects, Hot Wheels Unleashed is the first Hot Wheels game I can remember that seems designed to please fans of all ages. Its driving model is as precise and difficult as you want it to be, and the sheer number of vehicles available on day one is enough to make any lifelong fan fist-pump like the guys in the commercials.

However, there is one major flaw in Hot Wheels Unleashed that may extinguish the thrill and leave many gamers spinning tires in an oil slick of despair.

Extinguished Flames is a Hot Wheels Unleashed review.

My main worries when I played a short peek of Hot Wheels Unleashed earlier this year were the game’s weak soundtrack choices and apparent lack of vehicles other than Hot Wheels originals. Both of these problems are still there in the complete game – kind of. The music is still awful, and I shut it off after an hour since it sounded like royalty-free rock. However, music is simply incidental to so much else in this game, so it’s forgiven in the end.

Its vehicle variety, on the other hand, is much larger. There’s a nice mix of licensed cars from real manufacturers like Ford and Chevrolet, plenty of originals and fantasy cars like Roller Toaster and Rip Rod at launch, and the game’s first major vehicle expansion, while not free, will bring in pop culture cars from properties like Snoopy, Batman, and Ninja Turtles.

So the problem isn’t a lack of vehicles to select from; it’s how you go about collecting them. Hot Wheels Unleashed has an 80+ race campaign mode with two rewards: a standard completion reward of in-game money, gears for upgrading, blind boxes holding new cars, or particular new vehicles, and a bonus prize for completing the additional goal. All of this is amusing and fair.

When the game’s campaign roadmap is interrupted by “secrets” that obliquely allude to things you’ll need to accomplish to unlock new races, the system breaks down. This system is so ambiguous that I had to ask around throughout my evaluation to figure out what it wanted me to accomplish. As it turns out, to unlock the following sequence of events, you must first accomplish certain races with specific vehicles.

Surprisingly, this means you’ll have to rely on a system of largely random vehicle unlocks to get the cars you need. I was confronted with four or five dead ends early in the campaign since I lacked any of the vehicles required to carry out their hidden events.

You may either purchase a randomized vehicle for 500 coins (won through many races) or visit the in-game shop for a few particular cars that rotate in and out every few hours. However, they may cost much more – in my experience, as much as 1,200 coins, which would take several races to acquire.

This method has the potential to stifle the advancement of anybody who has played the game at least once, if not many times. To be honest, I’m not sure how that got included in the game. There are two options: either let me purchase the vehicle I want or change how hidden events operate. Neither is accessible at launch, and my hope is that Milestone will notice this, as well as other complaints, and respond with a remedy.

It’s a shame, since the racing itself is a lot of fun and really captures the essence of Hot Wheels. Boosting through loops, flying over huge gaps, and drifting closely around each curve to increase your boost bar and speed past the competition is a dream come true for every child who has ever held a pair of diecast cars and envisioned a far more complex scenario.

Each race can be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels, and since each vehicle has its own attributes and rarity, it’s enjoyable to level them up and better them, albeit the method seems a little sluggish and expensive.

A yellow van with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vanity plate racing on a blue track.

The track editor is the game’s best feature. Players can bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend

Players may exchange songs and vehicle liveries online, so even if you don’t utilize the creative suite yourself, you can appreciate what others have created.

I felt like I could create virtually anything with the track editor throughout my time with it. The toolkit takes a little getting used to, but so do all the finest ones, and this one isn’t nearly as cumbersome as similar toys in other games. It’s worth noting, however, that many track editor unlocks are linked to campaign progress, so the campaign’s flawed unlock system rears its ugly head and gets in the way of the enjoyment even here. 

It’s also worth mentioning how amazing the vehicles in this game look. Thanks to my kid, I now have hundreds of Hot Wheels vehicles in my house, and the in-game representations are very realistic. Each one is artistically identical to its counterpart, even down to the brushstrokes painted over each model and the various ways light reflects off metal and plastic. 

Imagine a version of Hot Wheels Unleashed without the RNG-based obstacles, and I have a feeling it would be one of my favorite games of the year. It’s fully featured and covers all the basics you’d expect from an arcade racer, including local and online multiplayer, a garage of vehicles worth salivating over, and a creative course editor. It’s simply the cumbersome unlock system that puts everything to a halt.

The Bottom Line on Hot Wheels Unleashed

Snoopy car racing a shark car, Delorean, and others on a blue track in a study.


  • The track editor has a lot of features and is very simple to use.
  • Racing is a quick, beautiful, and enjoyable sport in and of itself.
  • The vehicles available cover all bases and appear astonishingly similar to their real-life counterparts.


  • RNG-based unlocks put a stop to advancement in a variety of modes.

Hot Wheels Unleashed is a fantastic racing game in every aspect but one, and that one manner is so intrusive and negatively impacts the game’s finest modes that it really drags the whole game down with it.

It’s OK if cars are unlocked at random. It’s acceptable to run a campaign with hidden events. However, the game’s demand that players utilize certain vehicles in specified events is where it all comes apart, since you’ll often find yourself without the cars you need, which means you’ll be unable to complete the campaign. 

I would strongly suggest Hot Wheels Unleashed to lovers of the brand or the genre if the creators can fix the system. But, for the time being, the vehicle’s main engine is flooded.

[Note: The copy of Hot Wheels Unleashed used for this review was supplied by Milestone.]

Hot Wheels Unleashed is a game that has been out for quite some time now. The game is about racing through various tracks and collecting power-ups in order to get ahead of the competition. Reference: hot wheels unleashed (switch).

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