Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver – Wii U
Publisher: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc
Developer: Firebrand Games
Release Date: Sep 17, 2013
Genre: Racing
Reviewed by Jason Flick

Review Score: 2 of 5

I grew up on Hot Wheels as a kid and I bet the majority of our readers did too. It’s easily one of the biggest toy franchises in the world and they’ve made their way into videogames here and there over the years. Now I haven’t played a single one of them until recently with the release of Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver for the Wii U. Originally a live-action racing film(check it on YouTube), Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver pits the player in over 50+ challenges to prove their driving prowess.

One thing that I will quickly dispel about Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver is that I never once raced against any of the other teams that the film or game’s cover makes the illusion to at any time. So if you’re looking for a fast paced racer say like Need for Speed stop here and go play that. What Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver really is an interesting toy themed gauntlet of mini-tests given to each of the four colored teams: Red(Outrageous), Yellow(Powerful), Green(Super Fast) and Blue(High Tech). Each team has a unique group of challenges like drifting for Blue Team or causing as much damage as possible as Yellow Team.

Players are graded on how well they do based on the criteria set for each challenge and receive needed to unlock the next stages in their challenges. You even earn points to spend on unlocking each team’s special ability like nitrous for Green Team on the Team Select menu. Players get to pick a car to drive around the test facility hub previous to selecting an event, which sadly is completely pointless as they designate what vehicle you will use for each event. You can even change the cars color for a little variation, but again that’s pointless too. I have to admit that despite the pre-chosen car bit, the vehicles featured in Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver are actual concepts from the actual toy line so there is a good chance you’ll recognize a few of your favorites while playing.

Some of the challenges were actually fun like traversing narrow beams and hopping on platforms hitting “hot zones” with a dirt bike. There were a few instances where you actually raced around a Hot Wheels circuit complete with orange track but that lost its appeal to me after a few times as the event types repeat through each stage with ever crazier and treacherous locations. If you want an even greater challenge and can find 3 other people or family members you can enter in Hot Seat Mode and see how you stack up against them one at a time passing the gamepad to the next person in each event.

One of the only really good things about this game is that the graphics are not actually that bad. They’re actually pretty good for the most part making use of the Wii U’s more powerful hardware. The cars look great and the tracks and environments themselves are nicely detailed. Most of the vehicles in Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver not only looks good but actually sound pretty good too, with a few exceptions. As you complete challenges you will also hear a distinct crew chief for each Team though I found most of them annoying when I would fail a challenge repeatedly.

What disappointed me about Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver the most was the almost complete waste of the use of the Wii U Gamepad. The gamepad screen does little more that act as a Team colored placeholder or gives a duplicate description of what you’re reading on your TV screen. Unlike the few games that I’ve played on the Wii U, you can’t even swap screens and play it on the gamepad itself which would have been a nice feature. If it weren’t for the fact that you needed a basic racing control layout you could probably play this on the Wii with a Classic Controller or coded the game to support the Wii U Pro Controller at least. Don’t get me wrong the steering controls for Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver are actually decent, but it’s a shame that they couldn’t give you more features with the Gamepad.

Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver wasn’t really the game I expected it to be. A small part of me wanted to race around twisted tracks (I did…sorta) at breakneck speeds like I did growing up with the actual toy line, but it wasn’t mean to be. Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver isn’t really about racing so much as it about fine motor control and driving. The challenges were fun to a point but I just kept losing interest way too quickly. Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver is a title that I would only recommend to those that really love the Hot Wheels license.