Now that it’s been out for a while, I think I can safely say that Hot Wheels Unleashed has the best loot box system I’ve ever seen. Sure, it’s still a loot box system, but it works within the context of Hot Wheels as a product. This isn’t a system that’s been strategically built to optimize the income for the developer and publisher. Instead, it’s just a fun mechanic that players can enjoy when they have the funds to do so. I think the best thing about it all is that it doesn’t involve any real money though. It’s all based on the coins you earn in the game.
It’s rare for a game to come along these days without offering players some sort of monetization. I fully expected the loot boxes in Hot Wheels Unleashed, known as Blind Boxes, to be available for real world cash. Whether you had to purchase coins to buy them or could just buy them outright, I thought that we’d be able to spend hundreds of pounds on them. In reality, you can only spend the in-game currency you earn on them, and you can’t game that system. You need to play the game to earn more coins, and that’s the only way to get more Blind Boxes.
There are some Blind Boxes that are available with the Volume 1 Expansion, but that’s a limited number. The important thing to note here is that this game isn’t trying to convince young people to spend all of their parent’s money on something they’ll forget about in a few weeks. The game is built around a sustainable investment model where you put in time and you’re rewarded for it. That’s it. I’m so happy to be able to write about this, because I really did think that a Hot Wheels game had to be toxic in this way.
More and more game developers are finally waking up to the fact that we all hate microtransactions. My hope is that one day, they’ll be completely eradicated, a thing that only free-to-play titles use. Until then, at least we have Hot Wheels Unleashed as a shining example of how to build a game that’s fun and includes non-toxic loot boxes.