Hot Wheels is an expansion I could never have predicted. I had a bunch of theories around what Playground Games’ follow-up to the excellent Blizzard Mountain was going to be, and they were all wrong.
What we got instead is a high-octane fever dream of life-sized toys and upside-down racing, and a surprisingly drastic departure from Forza Horizon’s established norms. Preposterous, incongruous, and completely and utterly outrageous.
The Hot Wheels expansion apes Blizzard Mountain’s progression system, which awards stars specific to levels of success in events. Simply complete a race and you’ll receive a single star. You can net two stars by actually winning it, and three stars by winning it and fulfilling one extra condition.
I actually reached the Hot Wheels finale event largely on the back of completing all the available Bucket List challenges, drift zones, speed traps, and jumps (most of which seemed quite forgiving) and few actual races, but there is no shortage of the latter. As in the main game and Blizzard Mountain they can be completed as bespoke events or as part of longer championships. Getting to the final Goliath race won’t take returning players long, but completing every race will take a lot longer.
The Blueprint system that allows us to customise our own races still exists in Forza Horizon 3: Hot Wheels, but it’s been reimagined as ‘Stunt Swap’ and allows us to trade out pieces of predetermined track for various stunt segments, like loops, dips, crossovers, and such. The effect of swapping these sections isn’t especially drastic, though; we’re not talking about Trackmania levels of custom tracks, here.