The miniaturized arcade racing game Hot Wheels Unleashed surprised gearheads when it was released in 2021 to a wave of positive acclaim from critics and fans of the Hot Wheels brand. But with a seasoned developer holding the wheel – Milestone – that has produced dozens of racing titles, maybe we shouldn’t have been so shocked when they took that expertise and delivered an absolute blast of fun with over-the-top circuits combined with some solid-feeling driving mechanics.
Milestone is back at it again with Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 – Turbocharged, and in doing so, the studio hope to address some of the concerns players had the first time around. After being able to take it for a spin myself and having a few hot laps around a handful of tracks, this has shot up toward the top of my list of games I want to jump into with some friends.
Another Lap of Hysterical Entertainment
The driving in Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged is super satisfying. Drifting around corners as your tiny vehicle hangs on for dear life without it flying off the track makes you feel like you’re controlling this thing with magic. As you go over lopsided parts of the track, take on gravity-defying sections upside down, or shoot yourself off a ramp that appears to be barrelling you in the air to nowhere, you’re often left surprised when you exit a corner to see what is next.
A few new tools have been added to your driving bag that will further aid you in becoming a pro or alternatively cause pure chaos to the others around you. A strafe button will allow drivers to knock into their opponents or avoid hazards that get in their way. Vehicles also have the capability to jump now, which can be used to your advantage, similar to strafe, along with giving you a new way to find shortcuts on a track.
I had the opportunity to drive a selection of classic Hot Wheels rides, including race cars, ATVs, motorbikes, buses, and monster trucks. They all come with different stats, so they each will perform and handle uniquely, and the developers at Milestone have revealed over 130 vehicles will be available at launch. In my brief time going through the list, I found the motorbikes to be a lot of fun as they were quick but also light around corners.
More Modes Looking To Fill The Gap
One of the major criticisms of Hot Wheels Unleashed was that it lacked game modes and left players coming up with their own “house rules” variants. This issue has been addressed by a choice of single-player and multiplayer modes that should hopefully satisfy those looking for something other than your standard quick play. Unleashed 2 – Turbocharged will feature Demo Derby, Drift Master, Waypoints, Grab the Gears, and Elimination as extra experiences. The mode that stood out the most for me in the selection on offer was Elimination, which will see drivers frantically hurtling themselves around the circuit while the vehicle in last place is scratched from the race every few seconds.
For those players looking to channel their creative side in making tracks, an improved editor will be available to tinker around in. Previously, this was a little complex for some people to wrap their heads around, and hopefully, it’s a bit easier now – as I didn’t dive into this area during my limited time to check it out.
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 – Turbocharged is sticking with the groundwork that was set in the original game, which people loved, while also giving them a bunch more to do in this bite-sized world. I’m definitely keen to see this goofy arcade fun in action with a group of friends, as it looks like the perfect way to wind down after the week and have a laugh.