Hot Wheels Unleashed is too fast in the right kind of way

Like Codemaster’s 16-bit Micro Machines titles, Hot Wheels Unleashed takes place in that imaginary world we created when we played with toy cars as kids. The chubby hands providing the real horsepower are invisible, the courses turn plausible locations like garages and basements into wild track arrangements our parents would never sign off on. And the cars themselves have a seven-year-old’s wildly optimistic take on the laws of physics. 

That creative direction itself isn’t especially surprising. But having played the so-so beta only a couple of months back, what I’m truly shocked by is how developer Milestone has managed to wrangle those elements into involving and often genuinely tense races in the final version, which hit Steam last week.