Date: 11th March, 2020

At the Amusement Expo coin-op trade show in New Orleans, American Pinball unveiled their third pinball title. As expected it is Hot Wheels, based on the Mattel die-cast toy car series and the spin-off TV cartoon series, and designed by Joe Balcer.

The American Pinball stand at Amusement Expo
The American Pinball stand at Amusement Expo
Picture: Pinside

Although the game was on the American Pinball stand, there was no official announcement about either the game or its appearance at the show. Instead, social media pictures and reports from show visitors tell us all we know so far. Even American Pinball’s distributors were left without game feature or price details.

American Pinball told Pinball News they would be releasing full details of the game along with publicity photographs once they get back to Illinois after the show closes.

What we can see so far indicates Hot Wheels is a two-flipper standard-width game, apparently without any unique or innovative play-field assemblies. This is expected to keep the cost of the game down, with an anticipated retail price of around $6,200-$6,400.

The backbox uses the same shaped profile as the company’s first title, Houdini, with the curved design more appropriate to the curved plastic track which is such a feature of the Hot Wheels brand.

The cabinet side rails are much plainer than we have seen previously, where both Houdini and Oktoberfest had extended rails with plates which protected the flipper area.

The cabinet artwork heavily features the orange race track along which the toy cars travel with the Hot Wheels name featuring boldly. The backbox front is unusual as the game’s LCD monitor is offset from the centre. The artwork does help justify its position to the left, but it’s still an unusual placement for a backbox LCD display.

The cabinet and backbox artwork
The cabinet and backbox artwork
The Hot Wheels playfield
The Hot Wheels playfield
Picture: Pinside

On the playfield the main ‘toy’ is a Hot Wheels car which is mounted high above the playfield on a spinning arm. The speed at which it spins varies as certain features are advanced.

The upper part of the playfield
The upper part of the playfield

There appear to be two orbit lanes – one inside the other, a kickback lane, two ramps and an upkicker with drop target in front. The upkicker uses a ‘webslinger’ style kickout to place the ball on the left ramp return.

Players can spell B-A-T-T-L-E on the bank of standup targets on the left of the playfield in order to start one of the games battle modes. They can also collect cars to help build towards a complete set.

The playfield layout and artwork
The playfield layout and artwork

The inlanes and outlanes spell out E-P-I-C which, when started, gives advanced scoring on ramps, loops, pop bumpers and on the car targets.

There are several multiball modes in the rules – Redline, Track, Loop Crash and Victory Lap are mentioned on the rules card.

The game's rules guide
The game’s rules guide
Picture: Pinside

We’ll be back with much more about American Pinball’s new Hot Wheels game once the company formally announces it and gives details of the features, models and prices.

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