In their latest release, Hot Wheels is going digital with Hot Wheels id. This new way of playing with iconic toy cars uses new cars imbued with NFC chips. These updated cars can be scanned with the Hot Wheels id app or the physical race track that identifies which id car is being used on the track, like a VIN number, and tallies its individual stats. The portal tracks the car every time it passes through and opens up new game play options, upgrades and customization within the Hot Wheels id app. Check out the video below for more.
There are a few different packages you can get for Hot Wheels id. Just purchase an id car, like the Aston Martin One-77 for $7, and scan it with the Hot Wheel id app, pick up the stand alone $40 Race Portal to use with a classic orange Hot Wheels track, or go all in with the $180 Hot Wheels id Smart Track kit. Today we’re taking a look at the Smart Track kit with comes complete with two id cars, 16 track pieces, the Race Portal and a smart booster. It’s a fully configurable starter kit for the new id line from Hot Wheels.
Once all of the pieces are out of the box, you can either set up your own track and play around with it or get connected to the app and start the Smart Track Campaign to learn about how it works. The campaign builds out the track piece by piece in an easy to follow fashion and helps you to get a feel for how hard to push the pump depending on the track setup. Of course, I got it setup as fast as I could, got the booster revved up put a car in and send it flying off the track into the wall. The booster definitely packs some power.
Hot Wheels id: Video
The pieces aren’t like normal Hot Wheels track – these are rigid and have a USB connection to each other. This way, when connected to a mobile device, the app can tell what configuration the track is in and guide you to the correct setup for that particular mission.
The Race Portal is rechargeable, so plugging it in via the included USB-A to USB type C cable will get it boosted back up. I found a single charge to be good for many hours of play though, so you shouldn’t need to power it up very often.
To get up and running, the Smart Track set comes with two id cars, and there is an assortment of other vehicles that you can pick up. Matel says they will release 51 id cars total in 2019 through six mixes. There are classics, some have a straight from the factory look like the Aston Martin One-77, and then there are more outrageous ones like Shark Hammer 2.0. Currently the only places with inventory are Amazon and Apple. I had a small Dodge Viper collection when I was younger, so I opted to stop by my local Apple store and pick up the SRT Viper, which is priced at $7.
On the bottom, the id cars feature an NFC chip that lets the portal know which car is ripping around the track. If just playing digitally, you can scan the car with your mobile device to get it loaded in, or place it on the Race Portal.
Hot Wheel id App: Smart Track Campaign
Like I said earlier, the campaign is really a great way to get to know the pieces and play around with different speeds. It can be fun to crank it up to 11 and let ‘em fly, but the cars often do just that – fly off the track. Campaign mode instructs you to build out the course through a series of missions and get a feel for what different speeds from the booster will do to the car.
There are over 100 missions to tackle and a lot of configurations to try out. Some of the missions require you to stay below a certain REV, only use a certain number of pumps or complete a launch goal in a short time. It game-ifies Hot Wheels even a little bit more.
If the confines of the campaign aren’t what you’re after, there is also the Smart Track free play mode. When using this game type, you can build out the track to any configuration you want and the Hot Wheels id app will keep count of how many times the cars are lapping the track, how long it takes and top speeds.
Another feature that I didn’t try is using the portal and old Hot Wheels track to complete some AR-type challenges. Here you remove the portal from the Smart Track and with the included adapters attach the classic orange Hot Wheels track.
Hot Wheels City
This new version of Hot Wheels also brings a digital game type – Hot Wheels City. In the app you can race cars virtually, turning left and right on the Hot Wheels track and boosting in the straights to get the best time with 636 available races.
Of course, there are in-app purchases for Hot Wheels id to get more “redlines” (a virtual currency) and unlock or upgrade cars digitally. Cars have a limited number of juice, which is required to race, and once depleted you can either wait for it to recharge, race around the Smart Track to recharge it, or purchase Redlines to rejuice your cars.
And in its classic form, the Hot Wheels Smart Track kit is still fun to play without the app and missions. My kids are one and a half and three and a half and they loved playing with the cars on the track. The booster launches cars at fast speeds and the loop and jumps make it extra exciting. My kids aren’t really old enough yet to understand the app and different features in there, but they’re fans of the cars and track already.
Overall, the Hot Wheels id is a fun new way to play with Hot Wheels. You can still use old cars as well on the track and then boot up the app and use some id cars to complete missions. The suggested age is 8+, and that’s probably a good gauge to take full advantage of the booster, app and understand how it all works.