Forza Horizon 5 is an absolute master class in open—world racing. Having improved the formula of the previous releases of Forza Horizon, Playground Games has developed a game that has been loved by both fans and critics for its sandbox design and minute-by-minute races. With the game, which, in fact, was already a toy box, it is quite logical that the Hot Wheels range of cars should return again with Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels.
Having appeared in the last two Forza Horizon games as DLC, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels returns to provide a fairly voluminous expansion for the latest game in the franchise. Being above the clouds of Mexico, where the main events of Forza Horizon 5 are located, the player can jump through different places intersected by branded Hot Wheels tracks to give players an incredibly fast experience. Meanwhile, the creation options give users the ability to assemble their own Hot Wheels trials so that people can enjoy them.
What Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels really excels at is its sense of speed. Forza Horizon 5 already seemed fast, but the Hot Wheels DLC takes it to a completely different level thanks to loops and corkscrews, jumping through rings of fire, water channels and all other kinds of pleasures. In fact, it turns the thrill of the main game into something more like F-Zero or Wipeout, and works very efficiently.
Of course, it helps that the structure of the Forza Horizon 5 sandbox translates very well into something even more fantastic, such as Hot Wheels tracks. Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is a high—octane fantasy, separate from the main game, in which the player goes to a playground in the sky. Jumping biomes from the jungle to the volcano and icy paths, where everything is permeated with branded orange Hot Wheels caterpillars, is simply amazing.
Visually, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is also very spectacular. The more mundane elements of this very unrealistic setup complement the artificial moments well, so it’s never unpleasant to see a giant plastic dragon sitting on top of a mountain as the player approaches the curving track. The new Hot Wheels cars available for DLC look appropriate here, although fortunately the other cars don’t look out of place, which gives players the opportunity to choose the best car to work with.
All of this is wrapped up in the same convenient game cycle that games like Forza Horizon 5 succeed in. The player will advance through the ranks to gain access to faster and faster cars and more and more challenging races, completing other tasks such as stunts and speed traps to raise their rating. There is nothing in this that players will not learn in open-world racing games, but there are more than enough advantages to argue with the lack of major changes in the formula.
The settings in Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels work very well, with a light feel that is similar to assembling a Hot Wheels kit in real life. The different sections of the track are perfectly combined with each other, and the contrast between the orange sections of the track and the external environment gives clarity of functioning, which means that it is very easy to do races in which it is interesting to compete. This can make the expansion a little more durable to entertain players.
What is also interesting to note is the races that give the player an idea of the history of Hot Wheels as a toy brand, from its creation to key moments of development over time. Sometimes it’s quite pleasant to listen to during the race, in tone similar to the stories of car manufacturers in Gran Turismo 7, although sometimes it’s too much like a comfort advertisement.