Review – Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged

The original Hot Wheels Unleashed was one of the biggest surprises from 2021. No one, myself included, expected a lot from a licensed Mattel racing game coming from a developer mostly known for really competent, but newcomer-unfriendly motorcycle titles. That game shut me and everyone else up, being massively entertaining and replayable, all thanks to its simple gameplay and ludicrous track creator. It was also a great foundation for a sequel with better visuals, more mechanics, and even more content. Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged is that sequel.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 Gucci themed Cadillac

Yes, that is a Gucci-themed Cadillac in a Hot Wheels game. No further questions.

Well, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged features all of the above, but it’s not like there was a lot wrong with its predecessor in the first place. It’s the combined package of small improvements here and there that makes this sequel a noticeable improvement. Just enough to warrant that sure, this is worth purchasing yet again, without ever needing to consider if a patch or just some mere DLC would have sufficed instead.

Technically-speaking, the game has received some slight visual improvements. Everything looks just a little bit sharper, with better lighting effects, more colors, and varied environments completely plastered with assets and decorations for you to race on top of. Be it a small suburban house in its entirety (and not just its living room, like in the first Hot Wheels Unleashed game) or a museum full of dinosaurs, there’s a lot of room for invention. Sound-wise, very little has changed. It’s still a loud, abrasive, but endearing and catchy soundtrack, coupled with excellent sound effects.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 boss

Boss battles are actually time trials with mandatory target breaking.

Gameplay-wise, the main difference lies on the addition of an offensive side dash, not unlike the one seen in the more modern F-Zero titles, with the exception that you can’t actually damage enemy cars. There is no health bar, and you can’t blow them up, even though that idea would have been metal as hell. The idea is really solid, but it’s only useful whenever you’re near an unprotected gap. It’s a bit too situational, though it gives you a reason to occasionally play as a tank-class car, just to try to knock a foe out of the track.

There are also tons of brand new traps and assets on the track creator, which might not have received a new UI or different controls, but is less convoluted than before thanks to a decent (and mandatory) tutorial. I could notice a slight increase in the asset limit as well. Furthermore, additional modules can be unlocked in the game’s career mode, giving us an extra incentive to partake on more single-player content. Speaking of which…

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 track editor

The track editor is back! Get ready to come up with the dumbest courses in existence.

The brand new addition to this game as a whole is its revamped career mode, also known as “Creature Rampage”. It’s a full-fledged story mode, complete with (lame) characters, a (lame) plot, and a lot of (lame) voice acting. Sure, the core concept of this career mode is basically the same as the one from the original Hot Wheels Unleashed, but it’s longer, meatier, and featuring a handful of boss battles. In essence, you race on your own on tracks set up by “classic” Hot Wheels monsters, such as the big Octopus. Your objective is to destroy all of the targets scattered throughout the track as quickly as possible, before these bosses can fill up their rage meter and attack you. By no means a complex or challenging premise. If you’re looking for challenges, hit up the secret events scattered around the career mode’s immense map.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 gameplay

No need to change what wasn’t broken; Hot Wheels Unleashed 2’s presentation and gameplay are (mostly) the same as before.

If the original Hot Wheels Unleashed was already magnificent, imagine what to expect from a sequel with more content and slightly better presentation? The changes in Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged aren’t particularly immense, but it checks all of the necessary boxes: it has slightly better visuals, it features some brand new gameplay mechanics, its track editor is bigger and more varied, and it features even more tracks, cars and modes. Not particularly the biggest leap in between sequels, but the fact it’s even better than what was already one of the best racing games in recent memory is enough to make me recommend it, without a shadow of a doubt.


Graphics: 8.5

It looks and runs just a little bit better than its already good looking predecessor. What else would you even need?

Gameplay: 9.0

A “copy and paste” effort from its predecessor’s control scheme and physics, with the addition of a few minute abilities during races. The track editor is a bit better explained this time around, all thanks to a slightly more concise tutorial.

Sound: 8.0

A loud, abrasive, but endearing and catchy soundtrack, coupled with excellent sound effects, but some really amateurish (and kinda crappy) voice acting stemming from the story mode.

Fun Factor: 10

If the original Hot Wheels Unleashed was already magnificent, imagine what to expect from a sequel with more content and slightly better presentation? The changes aren’t huge, but it’s still a noticeable improvement over its already excellent predecessor.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged was provided by the publisher.