Comparing Forza Horizon 3's Hot Wheels DLC to Mario Kart would be underselling it, massively. It's still Forza, and it's still everything that the millions of fans adore about it. But it went crazy.
Horizon has always had an element of this, and it's the arcade silliness that balances against the serious racer that is the Forza Motorsport series. But with the Hot Wheels license in tow, this expansion is unlike any Forza you've ever seen.
A new kind of race
None of the mechanics of the game have changed, but the location couldn't be further from the sprawling Australian landscape of the main game. The entire expansion is played out on a giant Hot Wheels track with speed boosts, banking, and insane loops. The game map looks insane!
As such, you get a completely new racing experience while still retaining the familiar Forza Horizon 3 structure. You still have the same challenges to take on to progress through the campaign, but your approach will have to be a little different.
You can't go off-road, for example, at least not across much of the map. The tracks are all elevated, so things like bucket list objectives aren't really achievable by taking sneaky shortcuts. Equally, you're going to be best suited using cars with high acceleration and top speed.
The racing isn't limited to the Hot Wheels vehicles, either. Anything you currently own in Forza Horizon 3 can be raced in Hot Wheels. Why wouldn't you want to jump a Warthog through a ring of fire?
New cars and new achievements
There are a small number of specialist Hot Wheels cars included with the expansion pack, as well as a number of "regular" ones. For the full rundown, you'll want to check out our comprehensive car list.
Likewise, there are a bunch of new achievements to bump your gamerscore. You'll find the full list of those over at TrueAchievements.
This isn't a new game, and there's not a lot of value in going over old ground. Everything that's good about Forza Horizon 3 is still good in the Hot Wheels expansion. Blizzard Mountain was a big change from the base game, but it was nothing like as much as you'll find in this one.
If you ever played with Hot Wheels as a kid (or an adult), this is a natural evolution. Imagine those crazy looping play sets on your living room floor, put them inside a video game, and you're at the right place. The obvious comparison is Mario Kart, mostly because of the setting, but it's much more than that. It's like the wildest dream you had of racing cars as a child.
The progression system is fairly linear, but also not particularly taxing. It doesn't get in the way of driving as fast as you can literally everywhere and going "weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" as you go through a loop for the seventeenth time that day.
What Playground Games did here is give you an excuse to be silly and have fun. And for that, it's worth every penny. It's available now for $19.99.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine