ByLinky Johnson 2019-06-18 595
Hot Wheels gets digital! For 51 years now, the popular 1:64 scale toy cars have been available in a wide variety of designs. Now the biggest further development of the brand is on the agenda: Hot Wheels ID adds a digital world to the analogue gaming experience. Cars can be collected and tuned in the associated smartphone app - and top speed, lap times and more can also be measured. AUTO BILD has tested Hot Wheels ID together with tuner and "PS professional" Sidney Hoffmann!
The new Hot Wheels ID vehicles are recognisable at first glance by their high-quality packaging, which is perfect for collecting. Lift the lid and you can see the car from above. If you turn the packaging over, you will immediately see the most important innovation: Each Hot Wheels ID vehicle contains an NFC chip whose most important data is displayed directly in the app. In addition, each 1:64 scale ID model is given an extra-bright Spectraflame finish (like the very first Hot Wheels cars) and special wheels. As usual, the models are of high quality and differ not only in design, but also in weight and tyre dimensions. The result: Every car drives differently. Sidney's favourite is the yellow Lamborghini Miura SV: "It has extra wide wheels and a low centre of gravity".
The first Hot Wheels ID vehicles are now available in Germany at a unit price of 7.99 euros (6.95 US dollars in the USA) - for launch they are only available in selected Apple Stores or online in the Apple Store. From mid-July 2019, the complete collection will also be available at Amazon or Smyths Toys. A total of 50 vehicles in several collections will be launched in 2019. These include cars based on real models such as the Aston Martin One-77 or Lamborghini Miura SV, Hot Wheels classics such as the legendary Twin Mill or the Super Blitzen, and of course totally outlandish mutant cars such as the Motosaurus or the Shark Hammer 2.0. Next year (2020), the range is to be expanded to include many new cars.
The Hot Wheels Smart ID Track consists of 16 track parts and a so-called race portal including booster. The Race Portal is the core of the system and is activated at the touch of a button. If the ID logo lights up blue, the track is ready for use. If a compatible Hot Wheels car is used, it is automatically scanned by an NFC reader and displayed in the app's digital garage (for iPad and iPhone) at lightning speed.
Compared to the classic Hot Wheels tracks, the Smart Track parts are significantly thicker and heavier. A microcontroller is installed in each individual part, with which the app recognizes the track configuration as well as the distance covered. Plugging the individual parts together via USB-like connectors is no problem at all. In total, more than 50 track layouts including looping, ski jumps and stoppers are possible. The complete set costs 189,99 Euro including two special vehicles: Rally Finale and Super Blitzen.
Clever: The old Hot Wheels tracks don't have to get dusty in the corner. For 54.99 euros, you can only buy the Race Portal, which combines the classic orange race track parts from Hot Wheels with the new technology. Not all functions of Hot Wheels ID are supported, but at least the top speed can be measured. This set also includes two exclusive vehicles (Twin Mill and GT Hunter).
Open the box, take out all the parts and build his favourite layout - we do the whole thing classically on the floor in Sidney's Werk79, because the unwritten law is: Hot Wheels is played on the floor. With the 16 parts, you can build over 50 different configurations, and plugging the new parts together with USB devices is child's play. Our layout is an oval with two steep turns and one looping - after all, a looping at Hot Wheels is a must. We save the ski jumps at the first test. The core piece is the new Booster, supposedly the strongest in Hot Wheels history. Curious: With the digital track, the booster is analog. The speed can be regulated by pumping movements, the speed can be checked in the app. The red range starts at 4000 rpm.
If the car is placed in the starting device, the integrated microcontroller reads the NFC chip. The car is scanned, recognized and displayed by the app within seconds. All values can be checked there (adjustable via digital tuning). The distance covered as well as the top speed and lap times are also displayed. Then push the car into the booster and off you go: The lap including looping is completed in less than two seconds (can be read to the millisecond in the app). Provided you haven't boosted too much: Then the Hot Wheels Aston Martin One-77 flies out of the curve and suddenly lies five meters under Sidney's Up GTI.
For really fast laps and high top speeds you need a lot of sensitivity, especially as the booster has to be pressed further and further to get the cars up to speed in the second and third laps - otherwise they will starve in the looping. Especially tricky: Every car drives differently! While the flat Aston Martin One-77 drives super fast through the track, it is almost impossible to get through the steep turn with the Motosaurus - the centre of gravity is simply too high. After over an hour of gambling with the new track, it's clear that the combination of classic Hot Wheels cars and the Hot Wheels ID app is working really well! While you're gambling on the track, lap times can be checked and saved synchronously on the app. So you can play exciting duels. There is also a career mode for which the track has to be rebuilt over and over again. In short: Hot Wheels ID is not only a toy for children, it is also fun for adults!
A special highlight for collectors Sidney is the digital garage, which can be constantly expanded! It works like this: Every Hot Wheels ID model you buy can be scanned with current iPhones and transferred to the app. The real models are on the desk and the digital Hot Wheels are stored in the app. For those who now go to the Apple Store and scan all models: Hot Wheels has thought it through! After some time in which the models are inactive, the models are deleted from the garage again.
The free Hot Wheels ID App is now available in the Apples App-Store. Android users have to wait until mid July 2019. The app is divided into three sections: Track (the connection to the Smart Track), Workshop (the digital garage) and City (a digital game that works completely detached from the ID articles).
The app offers many possibilities and is nevertheless clearly structured. The Track and Workshop modes are particularly interesting. In track mode you can start your own career (Smart Track campaign) with the Smart Track Kit. The app gives you a precise idea of how the layout should look and presents the player with various challenges. In the "Smart Track Free Play" mode, the app recognizes the current track layout via the microcontrollers and measures lap time and top speed - currently still in mph, later also in km/h.
The workshop mode is primarily aimed at collectors. All available vehicles are displayed there. All vehicles that are already in possession are displayed in colour and can be clicked. All missing cars are grayed out. Thus Hot Wheels increases above all with collectors the incentive to complete the collection. If a car is selected, it can be looked at in the large picture. In addition, various facts about the vehicle are revealed: such as which mini collection it belongs to, the color, the publication and also the designer. The Lamborghini Miura SV, for example, is the Marcello Gandini.
The car can also be tuned with ID points. These points are earned in the third city mode and are only used there. Here you can play your very own game within the app - the track is not necessary. A total of 636 races are available, the first of which are extremely easy.
Conclusion by Jan Götze: "Hot Wheels has managed to bring the classic toy cars into the year 2019 with the help of the new track and the matching app. Especially important: The app works fluently and without jerkers. Not only Sidney's, but also my personal highlight is the digital garage - with it the cars can be collected real and digital. The ingame for dallying without reference to the actual Smart Track could, however, have been saved.
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