|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: High Voltage||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: High Voltage||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 19, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Another way to gain a bit of boost is by doing multiple tricks (tricks are performed by waggling the Wii Remote - a subtle but satisfying mechanic) while going over ramps. Additionally, you can power-slide (with the Z button), which will allow you to maintain speed when navigating corners, and utilizing this mechanic, too, will make all the difference between winning and losing. Lastly, you can power boost at the beginning of a race (though not in Time Trial mode) by quickly tapping the A button to charge up a boost meter.
The physics in Hot Rod Show are pretty impressive, and you can do some fun maneuvering while in midair. Of course, if you land outside of the track, your vehicle will explode. Like in Mario Kart, however, you're put back on track relative to where you fell off, and you can then jump right back into the race. Though there's essentially only one type of vehicle, it's hard not to be enamored with the way Hot Rod Show plays. The mechanics can be a real blast to toy with, but we just can't get over how shallow the package is overall.
Additionally, though the track selection is very limited, races can drag on, especially in Championship mode. Five laps around a long track that doesn't present much in the way of scenery or hazards can become more of a chore than playtime.
The game's production values do little to make up for the lack of gameplay depth. The framerate runs smoothly and nothing looks ugly per se, but tracks are very ho hum and textures are plain and uninteresting. On the plus side, however, vehicles look cute and animate really well, though again, the pickings are slim. You'll eventually unlock some new skins for your vehicles, but you'll be hard-pressed to notice much difference during races. We wish there was more variety in the look and design of the tracks - perhaps a unique theme for each, with obstacles and environmental elements to match (though one of the tracks does have a sort of "ice" theme going on). There are five racers to choose from, and though the character stills are well-designed, the characters, themselves, are downright creepy-looking.
The game's audio does even less to endear players to the experience. There's no real variety here, either, and from what we could discern, there seemed to be only two different songs total - both being fairly generic instrumentals that might remind you of a late-night outing to the Waffle House. The characters each say one or two things after a race, but their lines are really cheesy. Sound effects, however, match up nicely with the gameplay, and though nothing at all about the game's production stands out as particularly attractive, Hot Rod Show is a tight, professional product all the same.
High Voltage Hot Rod Show offers well-designed racing mechanics with some truly addictive gameplay, but that doesn't change the fact that the package is extremely shallow. With essentially just one vehicle type (mechanically speaking), six bland tracks, and no online multiplayer, it's a novelty that ages far too quickly. Of course, it's hard to fault this racer too much or attach too many expectations to it, since it's about $40 less than what you'd generally pay for a retail racer on Wii.
CCC Freelance Writer