Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels Review thumbnail

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels Review

Top-notch racing DLC

Mary Billington

Reviewed by playing an Xbox Series X on 🏎️

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is also available for Xbox One

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is rated Everyone by the ESRB

Hot Wheels has partnered with Forza Horizon 5 to deliver a very orange and superbly fun expansion with Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels.

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Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels screenshot 1
There may be a few twists and turns ahead

4 new areas

When Forza Horizon 5 was released, I was delighted by the variety of scenery, tracks, and event types yet the team behind the racing hit series has now levelled-up and introduced something completely new to the mix with Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels. The new map consists of 4 distinct areas: Forest Falls, Giant's Canyon, Ice Cauldron, and a central area that has you driving in the clouds. These new locations bring stunning visuals through landmarks like a giant waterfall and an erupting volcano surrounded by ice and they make for a nifty contrast with the bright orange roads that intertwine the scenery like a rollercoaster in a theme park. 🎢 v1d30chumz 35-172-223-251

Death-defying jumps

The scenery is quite a marvel to observe, especially given that this DLC adds anti-gravity, loop-the-loops, death-defying jumps through rings of fire, and upside-down as well as 90°-rotated tracks. Driving on these tracks is thrilling and when you pass through a booster that knocks your gauge over 300km per hour sending you whizzing through the track at insane speeds, you'll certainly get a kick out of it. In addition to the anti-gravity, ice and water take centre stage in some areas while having you try to avoid steering as you make your way across a frozen lake and stay on the track when your car is taken for a flume ride.

As I mentioned, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels reminds me of riding a rollercoaster in that every climb, dip, bank, and loop has been choreographed so that the boundaries of physics are pushed to their limits but the car will still make it up inclines and won't fall off the track when it comes back down again. The tracks that are already built are a ton of fun but this also allows you to build your own.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels screenshot 2
I'm gonna make it! I'm gonna make it! This is the greatest thrill of my life!

Build your own

Again, this brought me back to building rides in RollerCoaster Tycoon where finally finishing a rollercoaster that you designed yourself and doesn't hurt anyone is quite the feat but also requires a lot of work. The same can be said for the custom builder in Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels as there are tons of track types to use and you actually edit your map while integrating them into the existing tracks which is a smart move by the developers. You're also given items to decorate the track with and make it your own. Plus, there are additional gameplay items that couldn't necessarily be replicated with real Hot Wheels tracks such as smashable pieces.

You can share your creations for others to enjoy although it was difficult to find any that were worth playing more than a week after release. That might be because of the work involved to build something as momentous as the tracks that the developer has provided. Building tracks by placing pieces one by one will certainly entertain a lot of people and I imagine that there will eventually be some great tracks but it's not for everyone given the time and patience required to convert your sketch into reality considering all of the physics involved. The map that you start with is quite large in itself which provides many hours of fun even before you hit the custom builder.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels screenshot 3
I don't think this track is going to work but we'll find out soon enough

Other additions

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels comes with 10 new cars to enjoy that are replicas of real Hot Wheels toys including some of the early builds. These cars are definitely some of the more interesting ones to look at due to their origins as toys. Another addition is tank balloons that can be found floating in the sky, usually requiring some sort of death-defying stunt to reach. These are akin to the billboards that can be smashed in the base game but are much more exciting. Finally, you'll make your way through a handful of stages where you'll hear about the history of the Hot Wheels franchise as you take part in a race which is a fun little educational experience for the curious. 🤓

Staying on track

One thing I want to touch on is that although the tracks are entertaining for the most part, the bright orange tracks that fill the screen start to feel a little stale after a while. I'm not sure what the remedy is for this without staying true to the Hot Wheels franchise, however, but what bothered me more was that I no longer had the freedom to just drive off-track to get to the next destination while smashing through fences and avoiding trees. You have to drive on the track for almost the entirety of the expansion thus making you more likely to use fast-travel if your destination is far away which is less enjoyable than how I traveled in the base game.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels screenshot 4
Wet plastic doesn't make for very good pavement

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is a thrilling ride that pushes the boundaries of physics and even allows you to build and share your own tracks. It's a great example of an expansion that mixes up the gameplay of the base game enough to make it worth owning as well.

  • + New events and roads are a thrill and will bring you back to your childhood
  • + Track types make great use of scenery
  • + You can make and share your own tracks
  • - Not being able to drive offroad is limiting
  • - Tracks start to become visually repetitive
  • - Custom builder isn't for everyone
8.4 out of 10
Gameplay video for Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels thumbnail
Watch Mary play Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels
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