A side effect of fatherhood is that I now see everything through my five-year-old’s eyes. Hot Wheels Unleashed is, to me, most likely a middling racing game and lesser Trackmania – but then, if I think about it, I know my kid would love it.
Hot Wheels Unleashed’s Batman expansion, featuring a handful of cars and a Batcave? To me, meaningless licensed tie-in. But my kid… My kid must never know this exists.
The Batman expansion features a Batcave environment to race around and build your own tracks inside, as well as five vehicles based on characters from Batman. That includes a Joker car, Penguin car, Robin car, and a Batman Rebirth and Armored Batman car. There are also a bunch of decorative pieces for use in your Basement, part of your customisable in-game HQ.
Which all sounds nice enough. There’s a drawer in my house filled with real Hot Wheels cars, and I’m not above having favourites among these little pieces of plastic. I absolutely see the appeal in buying more cars, and themed cars, in-game.
But the reason my kid will never know this game exists is that the basic package costs £40/$50 and the Batman DLC costs a further £12/$15 on top. There are a bunch of other paid car packs available on Steam, too. The prices seem steep to me when the whole success of the real Hot Wheels cars is predicated on being able to buy one for £1.50 in Tesco when you need to distract your kid long enough to load up the trolley.