Miniature cars make for full size fun as THQ take the Matchbox favourites to the winners enclosure.
Cracking control with some of the most outlandish tracks make for a genuine riot of racing action in THQ’s mini-motor title.
For those gamers out there who are either still young enough to enjoy the delights that are to be found lost in the world of playing on the floor of your bedroom with some model cars, or are still young enough at heart to remember those hours spent in childlike awe and wonder deep inside the imaginary world of the racing driver, then we can safely say that THQ and Matchbox have combined to pull a title out of the hat that will bring a smile the size of the third corner at Brand’s Hatch to your face. For all of the rest of us out there who are either too old, too jaded or a mixture of both to recall the innocent joy of our lost childhood pleasures, then we can still inform you that contained within this cracking title from THQ is a genuinely enjoyable racing game that will still have you lost in the realm of the miniature motor as if you had been magically whisked back to your brown wallpapered bedroom of the 1970’s.
..not really! This is a good old-fashioned racing game that does exactly what THQ outlined for you on the box. With an absolutely first-rate single player experience that will see you speeding around some of the most challenging and creative tracks ever seen on the Nintendo system. There is also the opportunity to play a rather fantastic four-way split-screen game for you to enjoy with your friends in the multiplayer too, as well as a whole host of other features from the online battle modes and coin collecting objectives that are a great addition to the games already top quality display of features.
The graphic’s in the game are the typically unassuming brightly coloured affairs that are the mainstay of the Nintendo Wii back catalogue. The HUD may not have a lot going on for the more serious racing simulator drivers among you, however that is not to detract a single thing from the sheer pleasurable gaming experience that is to be found in this title. THQ have really come up trump’s with this game in a genre that has been dominated by the Forza’s and Gran Turismo’s out there. Stunning though the latter titles may be, and a wonder of physics and realistic driving experiences they may be too, but where THQ and Hot Wheel’s has them both is in the games ability to picked up by gamers from 3 to 73 and enjoyed without the need to ‘hit the apex’ or adjust their timing belts and change their suspensions and tyres to suit conditions. All you have to do in Hot Wheel’s is just jump in the car and have some fun, so to speak, and with the excellent use of the system’s motion controllers put to optimum usage, that is exactly what you will be doing when you make the very wise decision to purchase this game in time for the festive season.
Hot Wheel’s just manages to bring smiles into the world of the gaming race car instead of furrowed brows and frustrated players. This is a huge credit to them. So whilst the rest of the gaming world can argue over which title has the best cars, or which title has the most realistic driving experience, the more casually based fun time gamers out there will be screaming around some of the most extravagant tracks ever devised in their mini racing cars as they and their friends giggle themselves silly at the online forum rants amongst stuffy fanboys.
One extra feature that we did enjoy was the ‘Track Editor’ which allows the player to construct their own racetrack from scratch and then go tearing around at warp factor 9. In this clever little mode you are able to build and test your course time and again before you consider it perfection itself and then invite your online friends to race around on it. But the beauty of the Editor is the beauty of the games selling point itself, and that is the games simplicity show that even a child can literally pick up the Wiimote, construct a track with every race feature in it that you could possibly imagine, and then challenge his Dad to a race on said track, whooping the Old Man’s behind before performing a victory dance of such exuberance in front of his face that it is worthy of being sent to bed early.
Do yourself and your family a favour this Yuletide season and when you are looking for a family title to while away the cold winter nights with, then look no further than this offering from THQ. You will not be disappointed in the slightest. Far from it in fact. If anything it will make you remember a simpler time when as a young lad you used to play videogames for the sheer enjoyment that they offered, and not because the experience resembled driving your Volvo S40 to work in Basildon on a wet and windy morning in December.
Graphics: Big and bold and beautifully bright. Hot Wheels benefits from its Wii experience in that instead of worrying about getting the rev counter needle perfectly in synch with the acoustics and acceleration of the car, gamers can instead just enjoy screaming around the impressively created tracks as they have good old-fashioned gaming fun. 8
Gameplay: Perfect in the sense that when we reviewed the game we did so competing against our 7-year-old nephew and it goes a long way to show off the genius of the game when neither party feels cheated or that the game was underachieving in any way. Very easy controls make for a cracking time no matter what the age of the driver behind the wheel, and there has never been a better example of racing utilising the Wii’s motion control system. 8
RePlay Value: Thanks to the genius of the developers understanding the fact that not every gamer thinks he’s Nigel Mansell trying to get out, Hot Wheel’s will be the kind of racer that will be reached for every time there is a need to put in a scorcher of a lap without having to worry about telemetry and slipstream when overtaking. Really great family gaming. 8
Presentation: Once again THQ have managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat as they spring a surprisingly good title on the gaming public. With little advertising other than word of mouth required to sell this title this game could well be the racing title that turns up in more than just a few family stockings this Christmas, and we say well done to you for buying it. 8