We have to admit that we were pretty disappointed when it was revealed that the first expansion for Forza Horizon 5 would be Hot Wheels themed.
Those familiar with the series will know that there’s already been a Hot Wheels expansion for Forza Horizon 3. So, why has Playground Games opted to do another one? Perhaps it’s because it knew it could make one bigger and better. Hot Wheels may not have been our first choice for a Forza Horizon 5 expansion, but once you jump into it you can’t help but have a smile on your face.
With three distinct biomes connected by miles upon miles of iconic orange Hot Wheels track, this is undoubtedly one of the biggest – if not the biggest – Forza Horizon expansion yet. Like a floating fantasy playland, the festival base itself lies at the centre, with a forested area to the north, an arctic area with an active volcano to the south west, and a dry canyon to the southeast. And aside from each biome offering its own views, there are unique weather conditions and track pieces, too.
You’ll find boost pads pretty much everywhere, for example, as well as magnetised track pieces that keep you held to the track even when defying gravity. But in the forested area you’ll find water flumes, allowing you to travel downhill at great speed while drifting like a pro. And when racing near the snow-covered volcanoes, you’ll find frozen pieces of track with reduced traction.
With loop-de-loops aplenty as well as corkscrews and other death-defying track layouts, it’s clear that Playground Games has learned from its last Hot Wheels expansion and made it much harder to fall off the track this time around. In turn, it makes this second crack at the Hot Wheels licence much more fun. The track is wide and the corners are sweeping, allowing for high speed races that are only made more exciting by the outrageous layouts. This feels like a new game entirely, offering up new challenges within gameplay that feels more arcade-like than ever before.
There’s plenty to go at, too. You’ll start out as a rookie, competing in events with B-class vehicles. Acquire enough Hot Wheels tokens and you can then progress to A-class vehicles. Then S1, before hitting your peak at S2. Though there’s still even stuff to do once you’ve mastered S2 class. Become a Hot Wheels legend, and you’ll open up yet more challenges to complete that will test even skilled players.
Along the way, a decent number of Hot Wheels vehicles can be acquired, including the Twin Mill, Baja Bone Shaker and even Bad to the Blade. Other vehicles are on offer, too, and you’re free to use whichever you want for most events as long as they fall into the required class. For those who like to get creative, the Hot Wheels expansion also adds track pieces that can be used in Event Labs, opening up countless new opportunities.
Ultimately, it’s only those who enjoy going off-road in their Forza Horizon titles that are likely to be disappointed. The track-based nature of this expansion means there’s little opportunity to simply explore. Though there are still boards to find and destroy as well as giant balloons.
If you enjoy Forza Horizon 5 and want more, this Hot Wheels expansion comes highly recommended. The track-based antics here are more restricted, which may put off players who enjoy the off-roading freedom that the base game provides, but in turn it’s a whole new experience with a completely different feel. As long as you like driving really fast and performing insane stunts, you’ll love Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels. You don’t even need to be a fan of actual Hot Wheels cars to appreciate it.