Hot Wheels Ultimate Racing Review
Hot Wheels Ultimate Racing, from the moment you turn it on, is going to feel a lot like every other racer on the market. It doesnít really offer you very much innovation-wise except for a few quirks during the racing. Other than this there is nothing all that much about this game that yells out to for it to be owned, nor is there anything to make you feel as if you are getting all that much bang for your buck if you did buy it.
Taking the game for what it is, a pure racing game, there is no actual storyline to be had. Essentially pick a car, customize it and get to racing. The basics of this game summarize down to collecting cars, painting them up how you like and then taking them to race on one of eleven different tracks. This simplicity is something of a boon, no ridiculous storyline to wade through to get to the racing (Iím looking at you Tokyo XTREME Racing). However at the same time this simplicity really leaves little to this already meager offering of a game.
The majority of the meat in this game comes from the Ultimate Challenge, which is essentially the career mode. In this mode you will start off with a single car with limited design options but given time and play you will unlock a variety of new cars and decorations. All of the cars look like actual Hot Wheels toys that have been converted into cars for the game and you can collect up to 30 of these babies. In addition each car can be customized with a variety of paint colors, rims, decals and even neon lighting. On the technical side you can also improve your cars performance with a variety of upgrades, such as engine boosts and such.
You will need all of these upgrades, and need to learn how to master the NOS system the game uses to beat the other cars. The computer controlled cars almost never mess up, rarely hitting obstructions, walls or each other, and it requires you to get quite skilled with this game quite fast. The tracks actively work against you with rocks falling in your path, gigantic monsters getting in your path, confusing tracks and the jumps, sometimes over ludicrous distances, really do a lot to hamper you while the computer simply swerves and dodges around everything.
The NOS / Slow Motion system is the only innovation that this game really brings however calling it such is generous. When you pass cars, avoid obstacles and perform other such feats you will refill the bars that govern the ability to use these two skills. Then, with the press of a button, you can either use the NOS, which is just a fancy way of saying Nitro, to speed up to ungodly speeds, passing other racers and making some incredible jumps or the Slow Motion is useful for cornering some of the harder turns.
While the NOS works just fine the Slow Motion is dubious in its usefulness. When you slow the game down you can turn the angle of your car to try and corner the turn. The problem here is that the camera stays behind your car you really canít see what direction you are going to be going, which causes more problems than it fixes. I found it much simpler to use the handbrake to handle these turns, leaving this feature to be mostly useless.