Hot Wheels Infinite Loop
© 2019 Mattel, Inc.
Free with IAP & Premium Access Subscriptions up to $100
761 MB, iPhone, Android
Teaches: Racing, reaction time, hand-eye coordination
Laguages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
This is a potentially very expensive real-time online racing game with vehicle collection and level up features. You can either earn your way through the game as you save the in-game currency and redeem the daily bonuses, or you can hurry things up by subscribing or using in-app ...
This is a potentially very expensive real-time online racing game with vehicle collection and level up features. You can either earn your way through the game as you save the in-game currency and redeem the daily bonuses, or you can hurry things up by subscribing or using in-app purchases of premium currency. The subscription is $11 a month or $100/year. This gives you access to special events, car skins and a larger item capacity. Content includes 8-player races set in the Hot Wheels universe featuring nice looking models of classic cars. Children use touch controls to steer left and right, activate nitro boosts or drift to navigate tight turns in fast-paced one to two minute sessions with traditional racing rules alongside special modes such as team-based elimination mode Time Attackers, where two teams of four race to collect time extensions and outlast the opposing team. These races take place in Hot Wheels' vision of the year 2068; in a digitized, neon orange racetrack-tangled representation of New York City, with other environments planned down the road. The game provides a user name automatically from a set of pre-determined words and numbers when a child starts playing, which can be customized anytime from the settings menu. The iOS version uses Game Center to register for online play and can display Game Center user names instead. The nature of the default naming system prevents inappropriate monikers, but creative players still managed a few titles that turned our heads; CrunchyWedgie50, a real player name we encountered during play, offers a pretty viscerally unpleasant mental image. Depending on the child some may find this more of a humorous feature than a problem of course. Each race completed earns experience toward player level-ups, wins gain trophies which seem to dictate player ranking and what leagues they qualify for, and losses reduce them. Hot Gold makes up the basic currency, though its applicable uses seemed paltry in our time spent with the game. Chromers on the other hand, the game's 'premium' currency, are be used to purchase the game's more appealing items, and in fact most things: loot boxes which can contain vehicles and parts, event tickets, they can even be converted into Hot Gold, though we're sure this isn't a worthwhile exchange in most cases. Chromers are rare to acquire normally, but can be purchased with real money, anywhere from $2 for 40 Chromers to 2,500 Chromers for $100. Herein lies our problem with Infinite Loop, while its gameplay is simple, flashy and satisfying enough, there is an interface built over the core loop of play which exposes children to constant resource requirements, fluctuating progress bars and 'special offers'. Want extra tickets to participate in event races? Watch two ads. Bored with the default car? Buy the starter pack for $3 for a better one. We found it very easy to get somewhat lost in the various nested menus upon menus, and very little is expounded upon. There's a lot of information being vaguely presented here and it distracts from enjoying the racing portion of this app for what it is. With a profile level, trophy rankings, car stat upgrades, car parts, an expansive list of cars, several types of loot boxes, there's a lot to keep track of. Even accessing different game modes is not straightforward, the League menu offers only a single mode while the Challenge menu offers three modes, one of which has a vehicle type requirement and can't be accessed without a Truck class car. How to get a Truck? Find the right loot box? Which one has a truck? No clue. Everything, even the basic desire to pick what game mode you play seems destined to come back to the game's urging to buy in to its micro-transactions. In fact, most of the game's store front at the time of writing can only be earned using Chromers, and race-to-race earnings of the special currency drop off over time, leading to impatience, frustration and temptation to ask mom or dad for a few dollars to get a new vehicle skin immediately. Offers, status pop-ups, countdown timers and progress screens are easy enough to glaze over or ignore individually, but combine into an unavoidable haze of interface meant to make purchasing game features seem appealing, done at the expense of the base gameplay experience. Store items are tailored to be frustrating and out of reach for those who prefer to avoid or cannot afford micro-transactions, and the game's opening minutes even tantalize children by providing a souped-up test drive of a popular Hot Wheels car before replacing it with a much more plain, unexciting vehicle, giving them a taste of the cool content they could have, if they can get the money for it. Considering what is otherwise a pretty clean user interface, even providing quick access to community forums and game news, the lack of clarity for in-game details themselves is a disappointment. We can't help but show some bias against the clear loot box game philosophy for sale here. Children intent on unboxing their favorite Hot Wheels car or truck could spend exorbitant amounts of money in pursuit of that one special item, not just on the boxes themselves, but on three hour wait times expressly added for another outlet to get an impatient child to spend Chromers for instant gratification. The option to wait out the timer is certainly there but we consider the scenario that to some, waiting isn't very fun. The game is hardly subtle about its stance on this either, as tutorial character Vert Wheeler explains, "Waiting... It's the opposite of racing, amiright? You can skip any wait time with Chromers." the game itself suggests players make use of this wasteful feature, so what will you spend? Your money, or your time? The compounding of this practice with a not unsubstantial subscription model for cosmetic and quality of life additions leaves a bad taste in the mouth.