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Hot Wheels Unleashed Preview - Where Was This When I Was a Kid?

hot wheels unleashed preview

Hot Wheels Unleashed

Hot Wheels Unleashed Preview - Where Was This When I Was a Kid?

If you were anything like me, then Hot Wheels was deeply entrenched in your childhood. It was a world that involved so many different types of vehicles, and each one had its own story and background. Milestone is looking to bring that world alive again, only this time it’s in the form of a video game, and the developers are looking to deliver a game that conjures up memories of both the past and present in Hot Wheels Unleashed. Although the game is not releasing until mid-September, Milestone provided me with a playable build of Hot Wheels Unleashed for this preview.

Hot Wheels Unleashed Preview

It is not the full retail version (obviously), but there is enough depth here to understand the direction that Milestone is going. So, with that said, let’s get into it.

Hot Wheels Unleashed Preview

Hot Wheels Unleashed

Developer Speak

As I mentioned before, the version I have is a slightly truncated version of the final retail build, but here is what you can expect when you launch Hot Wheels Unleashed for the first time in September, according to the developers.

  • Hot Wheels Unleashed will feature a career mode, a single-player experience called Hot Wheels city rumble in which players must win races, time attacks, complete special challenges, and defeat bosses to expand the collection with unique cars and track pieces.
  • The track builder is the definitive tool for creative players. They will be able to create amazing and crazy tracks then share them with the whole community.
  • The livery editor allows the customizing stickers and liveries of players’ cars collection. Even in this case, creations can be shared with the community.
  • Cars can be upgraded by investing gears to boost the stats. Gears can be obtained mainly by dismantling vehicles players will not use. Upgrades are useful to jump from one rarity level to another, except for a super treasure hunt which must be discovered in a different way.
  • Hot Wheels unleashed will not feature any kind of microtransactions. Coins the currency of the game, are gained by plane, winning races, or completing challenges.

That is the experience that one can expect out of the box, now let’s take a look at the content that will be included on day one or with DLC during post-launch support.

  • Career Mode (Hot Wheels City Rumble)
  • Quick Race
  • Time Attack
  • Multiplayer offline Split Screen
  • Multiplayer online up to 12 players
  • 60+ Vehicles: The day one roster will fully represent the multi-faceted Hot Wheels Universe
  • 40+ Official Tracks: Enjoy all the jaw-dropping tracks set in everyday-life locations with special track pieces and interactive items (plus access to community-created tracks to add thew to the library)

So that’s what you will have access to in the full retail build. For the preview build, I was allowed access to:

  • Locations:
    • Garage: garage is a once-celebrated car shop now left in ruins. But as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Just add some fancy neon lights, a crazy track, and some of the coolest cars around, and the magic is done.
    • College Campus: this track features a complex environment that has three main areas: the library, the classroom, and the chemistry lab. Players can build courses that twist and turn from room to room using the main hallway as a connector.
    • Skate Park: this area is the stage with the biggest space available to unleash creativity and build tracks, characterized by the absence of furniture and walls. Players can use ramps, railings, and beams to create their crazy routes.
    • Skyscraper: skyscraper brings the challenge to a whole new level! The building might not be finished yet, but you can already build your amazing tracks.

Hot Wheels Unleashed Steam

Feel The Rush

Depth of content is obviously important, and Hot Wheels Unleashed looks to have that part covered by offering not only official tracks but community creations as well. Just as important is how the game plays once you hit the track, and in my time with the preview build, Hot Wheels offered up a lot of fun and ways to play.

Hot Wheels Unleashed Preview

Initially, the game felt like a kart game reminiscent of Mario Kart, but the more I played the more I realized that comparison was off the mark. What Milestone has created here truly is a Hot Wheels world, and I’ve been given an admission ticket to enjoy it all.

Each car felt different by offering up unique abilities, and there are some incredibly challenging tracks to traverse and navigate. Each track is also incredibly unique and lengthy, meaning each experience is one that can be enjoyed in long stretches, which I loved.

I found through my time that picking the right Hot Wheel was almost essential to your success, and the control scheme was much deeper than I initially thought. Again, each track is so unique that the right car can truly help in aiding you throughout the race, and the wrong combination can make the race a bit more challenging.

Learning the mechanics of maneuvering was essential and really opened up the game. The AI, while still being tweaked at this moment, offered up some real challenge on the track.

Bottom Line

Hot Wheels Unleashed feels like the Hot Wheels game I have been waiting for since my childhood as it is drenched in authenticity, ingenuity, and loads of fun and depth. This is one of my most anticipated racing titles of 2021, and I have a feeling it will be for many others as well. Milestone is still in the process of polishing and tweaking the game, but look for Hot Wheels Unleashed to drop on September 27 on the PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.


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  1. This actually looks pretty good. And my experience with "licensed" products like this is generally pretty negative. But I may give this a look if I'm craving a new racer. 

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