A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players are trying to be the good guys and protect Earth from alien attacks, but a part of the message here is to use extreme speed, recklessness, and lots of weapons to control your enemy.
Positive Role Models
The heroes of this game embody many negative traits, including being full of bravado. They drive recklessly, while using the biggest weapons. And their constant trash-talking of their opponent and their exuberant shouts of joy whenever they destroy an enemy ("Sick! That was awesome!") weigh toward the negative. On the positive side, the heroes care for and show loyalty to their teammates.
Ease of Play
BAD! Steering the Battle Force vehicles in frustratingly difficult. Simply getting these cars to move in a straight line requires an immeasurably steady hand. And the camera is linked to the same stick as the steering, which often causes you to end up looking at the side or front of the car. During hectic battles, spinning camera makes it hard to even tell what is going on. Plus, it's possible for your car to get stuck in a spot where you're completely unable to see it, and therefore don't know which way to steer to free yourself.
Violence & Scariness
Players use suped-up, heavily armored, weapons-loaded vehicles to battle evil robots in similar types of mobile battle machines. Cars have weapons such as plasma cannons, grappling hooks, and slicing blades. Crashing, crunching metal sounds and explosions roar through the majority of the gameplay.
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Heroes constantly trash talk the robot bad guys, with lines like, "I hope it freezes your motherboard" and "Say it to my face, Metalhead."
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Products & Purchases
The game is based on a Cartoon Network series, which is in turn based on a line of toys. The Hot Wheels logo appears in the title. A call-out on the front of the box tells kids to "Watch the battle! Only on Cartoon Network."
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this loud and chaotic vehicular battle game is all about smashing and crashing. People not familiar with the Battle Force 5 animated series might see the famous Hot Wheels name and assume this is more of a racing game. Be aware that it is not. It is a science-fiction combat game that is heavy on the explosions. There's also a sizable disconnect between the show's TV-Y7 rating and the game's E10+ rating.
Is It Any Good?
It's rare to see a vehicle-based video game where the steering is as shaky and difficult to control as it is in Hot Wheels Battle Force 5. The camera shifts around so violently that it's easier to get dizzy than it is to achieve the game's mission goals. The concepts behind the gameplay are not bad; especially the games of "car tag" in which two vehicles keep swiping a needed key from one another in attempts to bring it to their goal. They make the Battle Mode more like a vehicular sports game than just another arena-type combat game. But, of course, in order to really have fun with them, you'd need to be able to steer the vehicles with some degree of precision. Sadly, poor controls kill any chance this game has of being truly enjoyable. Steer clear of this one.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.