Hot Wheels: Beat That!
|a game by||Eutechnyx Limited|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, Playstation 2|
|Editor Rating:||6/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||7.0/10 - 8 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||Racing Games, Hot Wheels Games|
When you think of racing games during the PlayStation 2 era, Hot Wheels: Beat That probably won’t be the first one to come to mind. Players need to feel the excitement as they speed through the course, barely missing obstacles, passing other cars, and taking the win by the end. Beat That almost hits on all these aspects but eventually falls short.
After all, there were racing games of all sorts being released, sometimes monthly. You had Gran Turismo, Need for Speed, Ridge Racer, SSX, and WipeOut on the PS2 alone. What publisher Activision and developer Eutechnyx tried to do was merge a popular franchise in Hot Wheels into a Mario Kart-esque experience. Racing games need to be fun at their core.
Car 1, Car 2, Car 3
Starting with the 31 cars at your (eventual) disposal, there wasn’t much I could differentiate between each one. What’s odd is that you’re given stats for each car: speed, acceleration, handling, and charge. However, each one drove similar, leading me to believe there wasn’t much thought put into making each car a unique experience. The game consists of four stages that contains multiple courses in each one. These stages are a bedroom, mini golf course, attic, and a bowling alley. The developers tried to go with a family-friendly design, and it fits nicely. At the end of the day, Hot Wheels is a family-friendly franchise that’s designed around kids.
Additionally, there are three game types you’ll be able to play on these stages. The first is your typical circuit race with laps. The second is my personal favorite, the Eliminator mode. You’ll try to make it to the end in a battle royale type experience while every 30 seconds, the car in last place is eliminated. Lastly, there is rampage. In this mode, you’ll need to destroy a set amount of cars using rockets.
Speaking of rockets, there are many items you can pick up during races that can either hurt your opponents or help you in some way. For instance, you can use a parachute to slow another car or shoot a plume of smoke out the back to distract whoever’s riding your tail. To help you, you’ll have access to a shield that protects you, as well as a big boost. Just as it is in Mario Kart, using these items tactically will put you in the best position to win.
Just Race More, Rookie!
What could be the most puzzling part of Beat That is the progression system. When you first start, you’ll only have access to a handful of cars. That’s expected in a racing game. However, you’re limited to one stage, one course, and only the Easy difficulty. I found it odd that I couldn’t even change the difficulty until I had progressed further into the game. So why is this so puzzling? Well, we’ve already spoken of how generic the gameplay is. If you add that you’ll be playing the same stages over and over again due to the slow unlock system, the game starts to wear on you. On Easy difficulty, I rarely had any competition, so I never needed to use offensive items. If I could have switched to a harder difficulty, I may have had a more fun experience, but probably not.
Sorry Tim, You Can Play Next
If the progression system is the most puzzling, then the multiplayer – or lack thereof – is the most frustrating. When I think of a racing game based on Mario Kart, I think of three friends and I, sitting in front of a TV with controllers in hand. In Beat That, Eutechnyx decided to limit the multiplayer to two-player splitscreen. Why they couldn’t have expanded that to four player is beyond me.
On top of the lack of friends you can play with, you’re also forced to use the unlocks from your single player mode. That means if you’ve yet to unlock those new stages, tough luck. You’ll have to get to unlocking before you’ll be able to play those new stages and courses with your friend.
We don’t ask for much when it comes to a fun racing game, but we expect to have a good time. Beat That certainly tried to make a fun racing game, but ended up coming short in a lot of areas. If you’re looking for a family friendly racing game, stick to Mario Kart 64 or Crash Bandicoot Team Racing.
- Stage themes fit well for Hot Wheels
- Repetitive gameplay
- Little variation in cars
- Stages, cars, and difficulties locked behind progression walls
- Generic rock music plays non-stop