I have a confession to make: I never had many Hot Wheels toys as a child. The ones I had, I drove at moderate speed between my cardboard house and job. If I had any plastic roads, I would have used them for a traffic-alleviating bypass.
…the eye-searing paint jobs and unfeasibly large engines stir up unbridled glee and their deep-seated hatred for the laws of physics
But for many children and former children the eye-searing paint jobs and unfeasibly large engines stir up unbridled glee and their deep-seated hatred for the laws of physics. Forza Horizon 3: Hot Wheels is a love-letter to that part of your life and a beautifully written one at that.
A Very Exotic Location…
Taking place off-map but in the same world as Forza Horizon 3, Hot Wheels DLC is every bit as ludicrous as it sounds. FH3:HW veers as far away from its parent game as it can go while leaving the spirit of Horizon intact. While Blizzard Mountain pushed the player’s limits with extreme elevations, hugely-altered handling and some blinding environmental effects, Hot Wheels changes everything in some ways and not much in others.
…the pace never drops even while looping the dozens of loops, bumps, half-pipes, screws, banked and upside-down sections
Tracks are slippy and somewhat narrow with walls to bumps off or worse, no walls on one side. The laws of physics are suspended further than ever in the Horizon series meaning a player will need to adjust their sure-fire strategy that cleaned up in Byron Bay. The 110 kilometres of track are punctuated with booster strips so the pace never drops even while looping the dozens of loops, bumps, half-pipes, screws, banked and upside-down sections. With its saturated colours, other-worldly tracks and relentless pace, the game is like a motorised Sunset Overdrive.
…Yet Somewhat Familiar
But what hasn’t changed much is what you do with your newly found freedom. The DLC is just another few dozen races, speed traps, speed/drift zones and bucket lists. While all these events are given a lift by the core mechanics, extra cars and outrageous track, if you’ve come off a hundred hours of FH3 and Blizzard Mountain you might wonder if other objective types could have been dreamt up to exploit the license.
For a start, a few toy car-style modes, some set-piece stunts and a deeper dip into Hot Wheels history. Could you imagine a robust track editor?
Hot Wheels, Leading the Way
…all the hilarious crossover pile-ups, orbital cars and the unpredictability you can’t really expect
I cannot fault FH3: Hot Wheels for its attempt at transferring the feel and look of Hot Wheels to a video game. The tracks are perfect: the orange and blue roads and black plastic clasps holding it all together. They are weathered looking, scuffed and almost smell of plastic such is the love they are rendered with. The 11 vehicles represent the wild imagination and bedroom hot rod pretensions of Hot Wheels quite well. Although, I found my stock cars, driven a little differently, did a better job hauling medals. Albeit while not looking as cool.
The sound of the new cars in Forza Horizons 3: Hot Wheels is nothing short of superb; like the monstrous growls of the speed beasts you have always imagined. In a race with a few of these bad boys and girls, it’s almost musical.
The modification of the blueprint mode is inspired. Being able to replace parts of the track with your preferred stunt section is as much fun as it sounds. Leading to all the hilarious crossover pile-ups, orbital cars and the unpredictability you can’t really expect.
Hot Wheels DLC runs its campaign in the same way as Blizzard Mountain insofar as you win medals rather than aim for followers to unlock the new sites. Medals are won by finishing, winning and completing a challenge in-race. However, the swiftest route, as always, is from the easier many non-race events. The generous helping of events shortens the route to the Goliath challenge for the impatient while giving FH3:HW plenty of replay value.
The final act in the campaign is a little underwhelming compared to other Horizon events; it’s just a long, difficult race. No racing a satellite or being propelled from a cannon like one would imagine. I suppose the stakes have been raised so far already, where do really you go after racing a jet fighter??
A Podium Finish
Forza Horizon 3: Hot Wheels is not without its faults nor is it the perfect execution of the license. However, it’s still an incredible racing experience destined to tickle many a nostalgia bone. With a hefty dose of fresh content on a new map coupled with the gameplay shift, FH3: HW is a worthy DLC in the excellent Horizon stable.
Code for review supplied by publisher