Reviewed: November 4, 2007
Released: September 25, 2007
When I was a kid, like many kids, I had a collection of Hot Wheels toys. Many a day was spent low to the ground in my living room, with my horde of 1:64 scale mini cars and trucks, racing them around my imaginary carpet based race tracks, or over the couch, under the chairs, etc. Well, it seems that someone else did the same exact thing when they were a kid and grew up to be a game designer and decided to make a game out of it.
When I started Hot Wheels: Beat That!, I was very pleased to see that you are racing actual Hot Wheels cars at the correct scale to the rest of the world. I would have been very unhappy if they would have blown the cars up and had you racing on streets and such. But no, you get to race in four different arenas, the first being the kidís bedroom, chock full of toys that are all larger than you, as you race over and under his mattress, across skateboards and through mouse holes. The other arenas are the mini-golf course, the attic, and the bowling alley.
There are 30 Hot Wheels cars that are available for your racing pleasure, some of them need to be unlocked through earning ďflamesĒ in the game by finishing in the top three on a race and also by completing bonus goals.
Iíve played a couple of Wii racing games and have had mixed feelings about the controls for each of them. Some of them seem too unresponsive, some seem overly so. With the steering in this game, initially, I felt that it was a little sluggish, but as I played it more and more, I began to get used to it and now I feel that it is about as accurate as it could be, it just requires a little getting used to.
The one thing that is frustrating about the controls is that you have to hit the ďBĒ button, or the trigger on the bottom of the Wii remote to engage drifting. While holding the remote sideways and steering it like a steering wheel, hitting that trigger button is not the easiest thing to do. Itís almost like you need a third hand in order to do it easily.
Otherwise, I felt that the gameplay was very enjoyable. Itís definitely not your average racing game, since you interact with many of the things in your environment that are much larger than you would expect them to be. If you drive your car through soap bubbles that are on the floor in the bedroom, your car will slide and slow down. If you drive by the speakers that are playing music, get ready to enjoy a bumpy ride.
And then there are the weapons. As in any fantasy race that we had with our Hot Wheels as children, our rides came equipped with some pretty wicked weaponry. After all, what fun is a race if you canít blow your opponent away with some rockets, or fill his windshield with a smoke screen? Well, the developers of Hot Wheels: Beat That! must have had the same fantasy races as I did, because they incorporated at least a dozen or so creative little weapons that allow you to knock out the competition, which adds a new layer of fun on top of the whole thing.
Especially for a Wii game, I was quite impressed with the graphics for Hot Wheels. The cars themselves range from sporty, to tough, to exotic and have some pretty sweet looking paint, as well as the characteristic oversized wheels that come on all Hot Wheels cars.
The courses themselves are chock full of eye candy. Of course, when youíre whizzing by it all at breakneck speeds, itís hard to see every little detail, but if you ever take the time to look around, youíll be just as impressed as I was when I noticed the painstaking effort they put into making the four different arenas look and feel just as you would expect them to, if you were shrunk down to 1:64th your normal size. The fact that the arenas are places that you can really imagine your Hot Wheels racing through just makes it all the better.
Combine the detail put into the normal things like the underside of a bunk-bed with the fantastic things like exploding rockets and warp-speed boosters that only our imaginations could have pictured when we were kids, and this game gives you one heck of a visual experience.
Probably one of the areas that made me realize that the creators of this game took a little time to pay attention to detail were the sound effects. The one thing in particular were the sounds of the cars themselves. While the engines sound strong and roaring, what cracked me up was that when the cars crash or land from a high jump or whatever, there is that distinctive clack sound of a small, die-cast metal toy that all Hot Wheels make when you bang them against each other or something solid. Itís a hard sound to describe, but when you hear it, itís unmistakable. Well, they put that into the game. You donít hear metal-wrenching crash sound effects. Nope, just the clack-clack of little toy cars smacking against each other. Excellent touch!
The other sound effects in the game are pretty well done, as well. The engine sounds are a little redundant at times, but they are usually being drowned out by the sounds of explosions and such, so it doesnít really detract from the experience. The music, however, was repetitive and annoying. After only playing the game for a couple of hours, I went into the options and turned the music off entirely.
If youíre looking for a fun and enjoyable, yet simple racing game that the whole family can enjoy, Hot Wheels is definitely the right choice for you. Youíll never get tired of head-to-head racing or battling in an arena and hunting each other down with the Multiplayer option. Single Player races are enjoyable and challenging enough to keep you interested, while not being so difficult as to make it difficult to proceed through the different areas. Unlocking the other arenas and vehicles, therefore, is not a chore, but an addicting and enjoyable task. I found myself playing long after I had told myself that I had had enough and needed to get back to doing something productive.
Hot Wheels: Beat That! is fun because it doesnít pretend to be something that it isnít. Itís enjoyable because itís fanciful and it is something familiar at the same time. If you loved playing with your Hot Wheels on your living room floor when you were a kid, I think youíll get a kick out of this game and wonít really regret buying it, or at least renting it for a fun weekend.