Hot Wheels Battle Force 5

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 Game Poster Image
Brash car-bash game almost unplayable -- plus, it's violent.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Language

Heroes constantly trash talk the robot bad guys, with lines like, "I hope it freezes your motherboard"  and "Say it to my face, Metalhead."

Consumerism

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."

What 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.

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What's it about?

HOT WHEELS BATTLE FORCE 5 follows a quintet of action heroes who defend the planet against an evil robot army by driving heavily armed cars, motorcycles, and trucks. The plot of this game revolves around the Battle Force trying to find keys that will close up energy portals through which the robots plan to invade Earth. There is also a Battle Mode (1 or 2 players) in which several combat cars try to swipe a key from one another and return it to a portal to get points.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about branding and the use of corporate logos to attract audiences and customers. Does this game relate in any way to the Hot Wheels toy cars?

  • Families can also discuss car safety. This game is obviously a fantasy, but it can be used as a jumping off point to discuss the importance of seat belts, defensive driving, and other safety measures.

Game details

For kids who love adventure games

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