A few years ago, Nintendo’s real-life-meets-video-game Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit turned my pandemic home into a theme park racecourse for my kids. Now, Mattel and Hot Wheels have created a new mixed-reality game for remote-controlled cars with Mario Kart Live developer Velan.
Hot Wheels Rift Rally, arriving March 14 for $130, is an RC car video game that races around on your real-world floor.
And just like Mario Kart Live, it’s a lot of fun.
You need a Nintendo Switch to play Mario Kart Live, but Hot Wheels Rift Rally works with iPhones, iPads and the PlayStation 4 and 5. It can cross-play between them, either locally or with others online.
I played with the Rift Rally for about an hour in New York. The concept is similar to Mario Kart Live: A camera-enabled RC car streams its point of view to your TV or Apple device. From there, you drive the car and see the real world augmented with all sorts of video game special effects and a glowing race track.
The twist with Rift Rally is that the car itself, a sort of futuristic compact race car called the “Chameleon Car,” can transform in-game into 140 different Hot Wheels cars. It works weirdly well. Even though the physical car drives around your home the same way, in-game you see a different car appear, along with different driving physics and speeds.
Much like Mario Kart Live, the camera-equipped car works along with four included gates that form