After years spent fine-tuning its various motorcycle racing titles, developer Milestone has taken a significant detour with Hot Wheels Unleashed. Instead of striving for simulation-style handling and realistic tracks and locations, this new project takes Mattel’s ever-popular die-cast vehicles and brings them to life in a modern game. While it’s certainly a change of pace for the studio, its racing expertise and penchant for high-quality visuals has led to an arcade racer that looks and feels pretty fantastic.
The car models in particular are wonderful. There are dozens and dozens of Hot Wheels vehicles to collect in the game, and each of them has been painstakingly recreated. They’re frankly a joy just to look at — the materials are brilliantly rendered, even down to the imperfections, like the joins where the plastic meets in the mould. We spent no small amount of time just spinning the cars around on the selection screen.
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