Hot Wheels Unleashed was released a little over two years ago, developed by Milestone. While this developer is primarily known for simulation racing games, Hot Wheels Unleashed was a true over-the-top arcade racer at heart. Overall, the game was well-received by both players and critics, but there was certainly room for improvement. With lessons from the first installment and valuable player feedback, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged seems ready to surpass its predecessor.
The second installment once again gives players the opportunity to race with the iconic Hot Wheels toy cars from Mattel, this time on tracks infused with recognizable Hot Wheels elements. The controls, which were already strong in the first game, remain smooth and responsive. What’s new is that you can now make your car jump and ruthlessly knock aside your opponents with the press of a button, making the races even more intense and requiring players to be more focused than before.
With the solid basic controls, the noticeable variation in handling between different vehicles becomes even more pronounced. For example, a Monster Truck feels considerably heavier than a modern sports car, and the introduction of motorcycles adds a whole new dynamic to the game. Motorcycles are more agile, resulting in less aggressive handling compared to cars, which adds a new layer of depth. These noticeable differences between vehicles encourage players to experiment and discover which vehicle suits their driving style best.
For those who enjoy experimenting, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 offers an abundance of content. The game features over 130 cars to collect, which is sure to fuel the collecting frenzy. The first five toy cars are provided for free, while you can purchase new vehicles with in-game currency. Fortunately, you earn enough currency while playing to regularly acquire new cars, which you can then upgrade and customize to your taste and preferences.
Up to twelve cars compete against each other in various game modes. The classic Quick Races, Time Trials, and Boss Races from the first game are available again, with Elimination, Drift Master, and Waypoints as additions. In Elimination, the last players are removed from the race every few seconds, creating exciting moments. Drift Master is all about drifting, with the goal of scoring a certain number of points. These new game modes are enjoyable and add extra variety to the story-driven campaign.
Unfortunately, the new game option, Waypoints, feels out of place. Here, you must pass checkpoints within a certain time to reach the finish line. While the idea sounds interesting on paper, the execution leaves something to be desired. The problem is that you only see where to go after passing a checkpoint in an open area, leading to unnecessary mistakes and time loss, which can result in frustrating moments.
What makes this game even more enjoyable is the ability to play together in online multiplayer and split-screen. Whether you want to take on the challenge with friends and rivals from around the world via online multiplayer or have a fun couch race in split-screen mode, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 offers plenty of opportunities for social entertainment. The competitive atmosphere and the endless variety of tracks and vehicles make the multiplayer experience just as engaging as the single-player campaign. This makes the game ideal as a party racer.
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged builds upon the success of its predecessor, offering players an even more intense arcade racing experience with the iconic Hot Wheels toy cars. The addition of new game modes like Elimination and Drift Master brings additional variety. Unfortunately, the new Waypoints mode is disappointing and can lead to frustrating moments. Nevertheless, fans of arcade racing games and Hot Wheels enthusiasts will especially enjoy this new racing game.