Hot-Wheels:-Track-Attack---Review Hot Wheels: Track Attack - Review

   14/12/2010 at 08:19       Phil May       2 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - Hot Wheels: Track Attack, THQ, Nintendo Wii, Racing, Track Designer

When I was a kid (and yes, the wheel had been invented by then) Hot Wheels track pieces had two functions. One – the obvious one, to race all manner of pocket-sized vehicles on. Two – A great replacement for a Light Sabre, and the perfect weapon to attack annoying siblings with.

Most kids have something they get completely obsessed with and turn into rabid collectors of. My bag was cars, mostly the Matchbox 75 range, a few Corgi toys here and there. Dinky stuff too and on very rare occasions, Hot Wheels cars that my uncles brought back from the states. These absolutely exquisitely crafted Yank muscle cars and hot rods were probably what started off a lifelong love affair with classic examples of the American automobile industry.

The track pieces I had were pretty boring. A couple of ramps, a hairpin bend and that was about it. Each prospective car purchase became a hunt for the car most likely to take that hairpin at speed, survive the ramps and make it right to the end of my hot wheels layout.

Of course, kids still play with Hot Wheels stuff today but it’s all battery-powered noise-making high-tech stuff rather than the track I had, which relied on gravity to propel your vehicles down a hazardous and steep descent.

Taking a look at THQ’s latest Hot Wheels property a couple of weeks after hammering Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, I was quite surprised how competent a game it is, considering it’s aimed at young gamers. The stocking-filler price also belies a heck of a lot of content.

The Wii has its own fair share of racing games. No Forzas or Gran Turismo 5s, granted, but some pretty good racing games that offer a lot of fun in place of hyper-realistic graphics and licensed cars.

Hot Wheels: Track Attack is one such title. Feeling a lot like Trackmania, players get the chance to choose between 32 different vehicles across a variety of track environments.

In true Hot Wheels style, track layouts are full of gravity-defying loops, nasty corners and additional hazards that leap out at the player as they race around (it’s not uncommon on one track to find yourself face to face with a man-eating shark, for instance).

Each completed race unlocks more goodies to use in the game.

Where Track Attack scores highly though is in the fact that it has its own bundled track designer, allowing players to construct their fantasy circuits from a huge stack of Hot Wheels pieces.

For a Wii game aimed at youngsters, the track designer is extremely simple to use and can produce some pretty impressive results before the object cap kicks in. Like the Wii’s version of Trackmania, Layouts can be as hair-raising and gravity-defying as possible. Though you can’t tweak individual settings to the same extent you can on Trackmania, it’s still a very nice addition to see here – and one that might give kids their first glimpse at the sort of design and community-led content tools they might encounter in big and proper games later on.

Graphically the game’s a Wii game, so you can forget about realistic light and shade, super-accurate car models or lens flare. It’s no dog though, the visuals fit the game and if you know anything about the modern Hot Wheels collection, you’ll probably recognise quite a lot of the cars you’ll get to race with (they’ve re-released a lot of the classic Hot Wheels cars so I even recognised some of the dragster-type machines I used to crave as a kid).

Each vehicle can be painted and customised to your own taste, in a limited fashion. Again this is a nice touch giving kids the sense that they are creating something unique to show off to their game-playing friends. To that end, the game also caters for split screen action so kids can create a track then race their mates on it.

Races can get pretty competitive. Using the Mario Kart-style tilt controls, you can bolt your Wiimote into your favourite wheel shell and use that rather than just tipping the controller. Powerups line the track, some will offer useful bonuses, or propel along at hyper-speed. Others will stop you dead in your tracks and it’s possible for players to indulge in some fairly dirty tricks if they manage to nudge a friend into one of these while racing.

Hot Wheels: Track Attack offers a budget-priced but fully featured racer that is full of bold colours, extremely smooth action (remember, this is a Wii game we’re talking about here) and seriously good value thanks to the track editor and other additions. If you’re looking for a stocking filler for your car-mad offspring or a young relative who isn’t quite ready to take on the Nurburgring in a Bugatti Veyron, this is a superb little release.

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