Warning: This game is for diehard Hotwheels fans only!
In the current climate of media saturation it seems that every media franchise, be it film, action figure brand, television show or comic book, insists on further cashing in on a concept by developing a video game. Hotwheels: Beat That! is solid evidence of this. Originally a toy franchise that marketed miniature toy cars aimed at children, it seems Activision wants to squeeze every last drop of financial juice from the name Hotwheels by slapping together a horridly mediocre racing title and dubbing it Hotwheels: Beat That!
The premise of Hotwheels is reminiscent of such titles as Crash Team Racing and Wipeout, albeit of far less quality, where you race from start to finish in a selected vehicle while collecting power-ups and weaponry that you can use to boost performance or handicap the competition. There are various vehicles you can choose from all with individual strengths and weaknesses. At the beginning of the game the player has access only to the weaker cars on the roster, and to unlock the flashier vehicles you must advance through the game’s limited race variants and collect enough score-points to proceed through the stages. Although I would challenge any serious gamer to summon the motivation to spend more than an hour playing Hotwheels as the gameplay is monotonously repetitive, the scenery rarely changes, and there is absolutely no narrative to push the game along.
Visually Hotwheels is satisfying if you like looking at the contents of a really messy nine-year-olds’ bedroom for a prolonged period of time. Still the graphics are sharp, but do we expect anything less than impressive with the Xbox 360’s mighty graphical capabilities? In terms of sound the soundtrack is a run of the mill concoction of second-rate rock tracks and the sound effects replicate a passable racing environment minus the exploding homing missiles and freeze bombs, nothing to write home about. The only way I can see anyone enjoying this game is a) If they are between the ages of 5 – 8, or b) if they are insanely crazy Hotwheels fans who appreciate the imagery, youthful style, and wacky car names. If you don’t fit into either of these categories I have five words for you: Do not buy this game.