In Hot Rod Racer you take on the role of a reckless driver with the need for speed. Selecting from a car or a motorbike as your main mode of transport, you put the key in the ignition of your vehicle of choice and take to the track with the intention of speeding along until you run out of gas.
Hot Rod Racer seemingly aims to draw inspiration from retro arcade classics of yesteryear. You race for as long as you can, and the longer you last the higher the score. There's also a leaderboard system in place with Miiverse functionality attached to further fuel your competitive side; setting a new high score is the single allure of this title.
Across many generated tracks there are dangers to avoid and items to collect; you'll need to watch out for other racers, explosive barrels, water hazards, rocks and bushes. Make even the slightest of contact with these road blocks and your run will come to an end. There's also fuel to collect along the way to keep your high score hopes alive.
While this may sound intriguing to a number of speed demons out there, sadly the execution and overall production values of Hot Rod Racer are poor. As the images above and below demonstrate this is particulary basic visually - it's barely on par with a flash game in terms of the entertainment it offers.
Visually, minimal effort has been made. A handful of basic art and assets are on display; besides vehicular explosions there aren't any other notable animations. It's single frame artwork with a moving screen attempting to add life to the title. It would be hard to believe there were any stylised decisions behind the featured visuals.
The simple gameplay is ruthless. You hit a car, you explode. A motorbike makes contact with the rear end of your vehicle, you explode. You hit an explosive barrel, you explode. You hit a twig of a tree, you explode. You get the idea - you explode. This game will stop you from progressing at all costs. This is not to mention the cruel yet bad level design, where you are forced to veer off into a river to avoid a near death collision with an incoming car. It's moments like this that become more hilarious than frustrating. And then you suddenly realise your car can shoot bullets. It makes little to no sense, but adds to the amusement of the situation when you quickly adapt to gunning down everything blocking the road ahead.There is also a progression system including leveling and unlocks such as improved vehicle performance and Miiverse stamps, but this doesn't really enhance the overall enjoyment of the title.
The best part of Hot Rod Racer is the arcade music and sound. If there is one aspect of this game to get behind, it's the funky beats. The talented individual in charge of this part of the game has nailed it - you won't question why you're still playing the game because you're enjoying the music that much. All of the beats have a great nostalgic arcade feel to them, and are always spurring you on to have one more go.
If you're feeling daring, or perhaps enjoy breaking the law and driving on the wrong side of the road like a crazy person, Hot Rod Racer might just be the game for you. The music is so catchy that it makes the merciless nature of the title almost addictive. In all seriousness though, with such poor production values outside of the soundtrack, and archaic gameplay to boot, it's hard to recommend Hot Rod Racer to Wii U owners. For those of you fixated with speed, seek your thrills elsewhere.