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‘It is well aware that its true audience consists of adults who stubbornly refuse to grow up.’

Sadly, we have reached the age where playing with diecast cars is no longer socially acceptable. At ‘dinner parties,’ it’s all about conversations.’

And, as we have learned the hard way, ramping a Rip Rod off the gravy boat is particularly frowned upon.

However, Hot Wheels Unleashed, which is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch, may be the answer to our prayers.

Safely tucked away in our game console, far from the scrutiny of our more rational peers, this game is dedicated to the celebration of diecast cars.

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Rather than imagining the fantastical garage of Hot Wheels vehicles as life-sized rides, this game makes use of the latest generation of consoles’ graphic horsepower to recreate the most convincing toy cars ever seen.

Everything is perfect, from the paint thickness to the coarse metallic flake to the plastic sheen of the wheels. This cheerful, family-friendly racer is one of the most beautiful games we’ve ever seen in its own right.

Additionally, Hot Wheels Unleashed understands the nostalgic joy and childlike excitement associated with collecting toy cars.

The entire game is structured so that you gradually accumulate a collection of approximately 60 models via ‘blind boxes’ that reward you with a mystery vehicle or limited-time shop offers.

And, while the game is ostensibly aimed at children, it is well aware that its actual audience is adults who stubbornly refuse to grow up.

That is why you can also unlock KITT from Knight Rider, the van from the Ninja Turtles, and the DeLorean Time Machine.

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Additionally, a fully-featured circuit editor enables you to use approximately eight Christmases’ worth of plastic track pieces to design your own gravity-defying Hot Wheels course, complete with loops, banked turns, and, if desired, a finish line that launches your toy cars off the side of a skyscraper.

You can blame this game if you read in the news next week that someone was killed by a tiny Audi R8 Spyder traveling at terminal velocity.

This homage to childhood fun would be meaningless if the game didn’t play well, but while the combination of swooping plastic track and quirky, drifty handling feels strange and unique, it results in entertaining arcade races.

The only occasionally disturbing aspect is that the real-world sensation of your car flying off the track during a jump and skittering under the sofa is perfectly replicated here.

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