Horizon Chase Turbo is an appropriately fast-paced racing game that manages to capture a bright and colourful aesthetic similar to games from the 16-bit era but while taking full advantage of some more modern graphical improvements. The game was developed by ‘Aquiris Game Studio‘ and released earlier this year for Steam and PlayStation 4. The developers say they are also working hard on an upcoming Nintendo Switch and Xbox one release as well.
Growing up as a kid I was never a massive fan of racing games, so when I was first offered this game as a potential review I was tempted to look the other way. After pumping in the steam code and finally playing the game, however, I’m glad I didn’t.
I’m a younger dude and my first console was the good ol’ PlayStation 1 so I wasn’t gaming when this style of racing game was at its prime, but that’s not to say I can’t appreciate the aesthetic or feel they are going for. I think it’s a rather welcomed change of pace.
When first starting out you have access to both the multiplayer and single-player modes. This review will be focused on the single-player aspects because unfortunately, the game lacks any sort of online mode outside of a ‘Competitive Ghost Mode’.
If you are already familiar with games in this genre then you may already know what this is, but for anyone who doesn’t; it’s essentially a little challenge you can send to a friend to best your time while competing against a recording (or ghost) of your past self.
The game also offers the classic ‘split-screen’ mode, an all too rare sight these days. So if you’re lucky enough to have friends, you can all race each other comfortably from the same sofa. Despite not having any friends of my own to beat, I still managed to have a great time with the single player experience alone.
When you first start your racing adventure you have access to only the ‘World Tour’ mode and a selection of two cars. ‘World Tour’ is exactly what it sounds like. You visit various countries then multiple specific locations within those countries to compete in a series of races, each unlocking you more progress towards some fancy new cars and racing locations.
Each car is far more than just a reskin of the last. All of them come with unique stats that will help you accomplish certain things better, so if you want to be a pro it’s best to think carefully about what sort of stats you might need to get the edge on a race. Better handling might be what you need to get ahead on those maps with lots of turns while better acceleration power might be the solution to maps with long stretches of road and minimal sharp turns. Faster isn’t always better!
Competing (and winning) certain special ‘Upgrade Races’ will also give you a chance to choose out of a selection of upgrades to all of your vehicles that will help you get ahead of the competition in some of the harder races to come. Trust me, you’ll need all the help you can get.
When starting a race you have a limited amount of fuel and a limited number of Nitro boosts. Those boosts, when used effectively, can make all the difference between first and last place. On certain maps, I’ve even noticed some extra Nitro lying around if you can get to it before one of your fellow racers do.
For me, the fuel bar rarely came in to play. I was able to easily manage collecting fuel without even thinking about it while I raced around the track but I imagine the management is even harder in certain fuel-intensive vehicles or in some of the longer races.
As well as fuel and Nitro lying around on maps there are other collectible tokens to help speed up the progress of unlocking some cars; so be sure to try and get them if you have time before you hit the finish line.
While the mechanics of the game don’t really advance too much as the game progresses, each map looks and feels just different enough to keep you interested the whole time. There are maps all over the world, starting in the USA but visiting all kinds of fun locations like China, Japan, and Chile. In total, the game boasts over 109 tracks and 31 different unlockable cars.
Horizon does get rather challenging the deeper you go and after you dive deep enough, there are even two more unique game modes for you to explore if you’re still not satisfied. Both require a decent bit of effort to unlock but they offer you even more life to this already complete experience.
While I personally don’t love the genre, I still managed to pull some enjoyment out of this game and if you love old-school racing games like ‘Rush’ or ‘Lotus Turbo Challenge’, then you’ll love this game too.