Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is a wonderful bit of additional content for the core game, with absolutely thrilling racing for fans of the toy line.
Forza Horizon 5 is an absolute masterclass in open world racing. Refining the formula of the previous Forza Horizon releases, Playground Games developed a game that was beloved by fans and critics alike for its sandbox design and minute-to-minute racing. With a game that was essentially already a toy box, it makes perfect sense for the Hot Wheels model car range to return once more with Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels.
After appearing in the last couple of Forza Horizon games in the form of DLC, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels returns to deliver a rather chunky expansion for the latest game in the franchise. Set above the clouds of Mexico, where the main Forza Horizon 5 experience is found, the player can hop across varied locales criss-crossed with signature Hot Wheels tracks to give players an incredibly speedy experience. Meanwhile, creation options give users the opportunity to click together their own Hot Wheels challenges for people to enjoy.
Where Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels really succeeds is with its sense of speed. Already Forza Horizon 5 felt fast, but the Hot Wheels DLC takes it to a whole other level, courtesy of loops and corkscrews, jumps through rings of fire, water flumes, and all other sorts of treats. It essentially turns the thrills of the base game into something more akin to F-Zero or Wipeout, and it works extremely effectively.
It certainly helps that the Forza Horizon 5 sandbox structure translates very well to something even more fantastical such as Hot Wheels tracks. Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is a high-octane fantasy separate from the main game, the player jetted off to a playground in the skies. Hopping biomes from jungles to a volcano to ice paths, with everything speared through with the trademark orange tracks of Hot Wheels, is absolutely delightful.
Visually, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is rather effective too. The more down-to-earth elements of this very unrealistic setup compliment the artificial moments well, so it’s never jarring to see a giant plastic dragon sitting atop a mountain as the player zooms passed on a bending track. The new Hot Wheels cars available for the DLC look the part here, although thankfully other vehicles don’t look out of place, giving players the flexibility to choose the best car for the job.
It’s all wrapped up in the same kind of comforting gameplay loop that games like Forza Horizon 5 excel at. The player will work their way through the ranks to get access to faster and faster cars, and more and more challenging races, while completing other tasks like stunts and speed traps to get their ranking higher. It’s nothing that players of this kind of open world racing game won’t recognize, but there are more than enough positives to quibble over a lack of major formula change.
The customization options within Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels work very well, with an effortless sense that feels akin to putting together a Hot Wheels kit in real life. The different track sections clip together nicely, and the contrast between the orange track sections and the external environment gives a clarity of function that means making races that are fun to compete in is very easy. This has the potential to give the expansion a bit of longevity to keep players entertained.
Something else interesting to note are the races that give the player a snapshot of the history of Hot Wheels as a toy brand, going from its creation to key development moments over time. Sometimes this is quite nice to listen to as you race, with a similar tone to the histories of car manufacturers in Gran Turismo 7, although it does sometimes drift into the territory of feeling a little too much like an advertisement for comfort.
Overall, then, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is a delightful DLC pack for the core game. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does provide some extremely fast racing and a fresh enough energy to ensure that racers are happy. Adding something onto a game as impressive as Forza Horizon 5 is always a challenge, but this content pack does the trick.
More: Top 10 Best Xbox Exclusives Of All-Time, According To Metacritic
Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is out now for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Screen Rant was provided with a Xbox Series X code for the purposes of this review.
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