Buckle Up for a Thrilling Blast to the Past
There’s a simple pleasure to experiencing the thrill of Acquiris Game Studio’s re-boot of the vintage 90s era of arcade racers. A game that injects fast-paced adrenaline into simplistic art design with a basic vehicle progression system. Players aren’t demanded to learn drifting mechanics, expert throttle control or drafting behind opponents for the fastest line. Instead, players must hone their reflexes in order to come out on top in the edge-of-your-seat racing experience that screams nostalgia in, Horizon Chase Turbo.
Check out our video summary review of Horizon Chase Turbo below:
Right off the bat players will leap into the high-speed 90s inspired arcade racing action from games in the same vein as classics, such as Rush or OutRun. The name of the game is to speed around quick circuit style tracks with an emphasis on taking curves and sharps turns at top speeds in racing machines with excellent grip – a different approach from the usual “drift-around-every-corner” play style of most arcade racing titles we’ve seen in recent years. In fact, I’d be surprised if you ever saw yourself drifting around turns, even in the more hazardous and slippery weather conditions.
Relentless Racers at Blistering Speeds
Players will take on a full racing grid of 20 relentless racers. The race begins with the player in last place leaving it up to the user to climb through 19 other spots in order to claim victory in the number one position – all in a matter of minutes before the race concludes. The process of navigating between other opponent racers, precisely edging out corners and strong curves at top speeds and cautiously avoiding any potential race-ending wipe-outs along the way demands the player stay focused in order to reach the finish line with a podium finish.
The brightly lit colors and simple visual design is nostalgic of the actual arcade days of pouring quarters into the arcade machine. The simple gameplay elements creates an experience suited for players of any skill level, but mastering the game is an entirely separate feat. Veering around turn after turn in blazing hot racing machines almost becomes dizzying due to the crisp representation of blistering speeds. However, the adrenaline and satisfaction of cleanly overtaking opponents with the pedal slammed to the floor isn’t a feeling that comes with most other racing games we see today.
There are a few different game modes to try out that all focus around the heated racing at the heart of the gameplay, but only one is made available from the start: World Tour. The name says it all as players will take on tons of different races from tracks located all over the world. Throughout 12 different regions each with over a handful of courses that will test your reflexes and concentration, players will spend their time collecting tokens, upgrading your rides and unlocking new machines. World Tour is the meat of what Horizon Chase Turbo brings to the table, as such it’s where players will spend most of their time unlocking the game’s other modes and vast car selection of over 30 different vehicles.
While the game doesn’t have the licensing of other popular racers that use real car manufacturers, the selection of vehicles in Horizon are easily distinguished as their real life counterpart. Car models resemble popular street machines any gear head can point out, such as Acura NSX, Lamborghini’s, Ferrari and even the Bugatti Veyron. Horizon chase Turbo also makes it easy for players to stick with their favorite racing machine as every upgrade received in World Tour is added to every car in the line up, so there’s not much difference between cars used near the beginning of the game and super cars unlocked towards the end of the World Tour.
Not Your Average Racer
But there’s much more to racing than simply choosing your favorite vehicle. Players must hone their reflexes to lightning quick speeds as players must avoid rear-end collision, smacking street signs or letting up too much on the gas through turns. The game exudes risky racing while challenging the player with a few other mechanics in the game design.
Along with course layout, high-speed focus and avoiding crashing into fellow racers, players must also keep an eye on their fuel consumption. As players turn in lap after lap the car’s fuel gauge begins to deplete. Every course is littered with various icons, one of which is fuel canisters. At specific points on every course lies a chance to nab a couple of fuel canisters which will replenish a certain amount of fuel. There’s an added challenge to remembering to veer your car to a specific side of the track in order to refuel. And missing out on these fuel tokens (which regenerate in the same location after every lap) can potentially mean the end of a race if you’re not keeping an eye on your fuel gauge.
However, it’s not just fuel canisters players will have the ability to collect during races. Each track set up in the World Tour mode has a specific number of blue token scattered along the roadway. For an added challenge, players have the optional task of collecting all of these token which will increase your total amount of career points for your profile. The more points tallied throughout your career, the more cars you’ll unlock. So collecting these blue tokens does have its incentives for those looking to get their hands on every car in the game; or, at least looking to upgrade to a car you’ve had your eye on.
To add to the depth of speed in every race, every racing machine is also equipped with nitro boosts. Every race starts the player off with three boosts to be used at their pleasure, but some courses also have extra nitros cannisters sporadically placed on the course. And if players collect all blue tokens in the race, you’re then rewarded with another boost shot for the race. With the many different aspects going on in such a tight and simple racing experience, it’s rewarding to master a course and perform a clean sweep of every collectible on every track.
Simple Upgrade System
Players also have the option of upgrading their selection of cars via ‘Upgrade Races’. There’s one upgrade race for every region and each race rewards the player for finishing in the top 3 spots in the race. The reward is an upgrade to every car in your selection of vehicles which continuously beefs up all of your cars, not just one specific car. This allows players the option of choosing earlier cars in later parts of the game, unlike most racing titles where earlier tiered cars are quickly discarded in favor of cars with higher stats. The stats with every car continues to rise and selecting between which of your favorites to choose from can vary depending on which course you race on.
As you progress through further in the game’s World Tour mode, what makes the game so difficult – albeit, frustrating – becomes more apparent. Speeds tend to pick up to ripping motions along the track. Roadways begin to fluctuate not only in width and narrowness, but also elevation and quick hills that can blind the racer of what lies ahead. And with the blistering speeds also comes more complex and lengthy courses to keep a feeling of white-knuckled endurance well at your fingertips. But what really begins to stand out is how infuriating high-speed collisions can be.
While players familiar with most arcade style racers may find it easy to brush off minor rear-end collisions, light side-swiping with other racers or plowing through various street signs, Horizon Chase Turbo is far from courteous in this regard. Tapping the rear bumper of an opponent halts your speed what feels like in half, while simultaneously boosting forward the car you struck. It not only painfully slows you down, but equally as painful puts you that much further behind the next racer ahead. And near the beginning of races when the full grid is grouped together is where dodging traffic becomes essential for how well you finish.
But, that’s not to say this particular collision mechanic is an unfair feature. The game runs off of high-speeds and close encounters, so learning how to effectively weave in and out of traffic while relentlessly moving ahead in position begins to feel like a smooth and electrifying dance on the roadway. While most racers today have the player learning how to maneuver around the course with precision, Horizon seems to push the player in learning how to maneuver between opponent racers just as crucially as moving around the course itself.
Along with Horizon’s main World Tour mode, players will unlock a few other game modes as well. Tournament mode offers up the traditional championship style of racing series where players earn a total tally of points after each race of four. The player with the highest point total after all four races wins. However, this particular mode is a bit off-putting considering the pattern of every AI opponent always finishes in the same spot. So placing in first is the priority regardless of the tournament style setup. It’s not a game damaging component, per se, but does make each tournament (each tournament is divided by difficulty) seem a bit per-decided, therefore less exciting after the first play through.
Playground mode is a bit different from your usual races as each race come with a different challenge. Out of five available races each separated by difficulty, some races require players to overcome racing without a HUD while others may mirror the track. There’s a good variety to keep each Playground race different and unique. Sometimes the challenge will affect the race itself, such as restricted cars, while other times the player may be a but more directly affected – like reducing fuel consumption or the absence of nitros.
The final main mode is the Endurance mode. Endurance mode is a series of races but players may only race with the one car they choose at the very beginning. The upgrades are also absent and players must finish within the top 5 in order to move on to the next race in the series. Again, while it;s not the main World Tour mode which offers greater rewards and a more straightforward approach to racing, Endurance is another off-mode that offers a unique break from the more obvious campaign mode.
Horizon Chase Turbo does an excellent job of bringing back the old-school approach to a more modern era. The simple pick-up-and-play style along with other old-school features like evenly matched racers, simplistic design and even the absence of the rear-view mirror creates a thrilling experience that’s good enough for any player of any skill level. With the blistering soundtrack coupled perfectly with the energetic play style, you should have no trouble finding yourself drawn in to the incredibly intoxicating racing gem.
As simple as it is to pick-up-and-play Horizon Chase Turbo, there’s a lot to take in when perfecting your skills on the street. With a simple button layout and racing mechanics, Horizon Chase Turbo concentrates its quality on smooth controls and an intrepid design for speed. While veteran players will instantly feel reminiscent of Out Run or Rush from earlier gaming eras, there’s a refreshing feel of modern adaption that helps create a challenging but ultimately thrilling experience within the simple design of Horizon Chase Turbo.
Arcade racing fans may want to jump on board Horizon Chase Turbo as the sheer design, track layout and mechanics seems especially fitted for that same type of experience. The game will test your skills as a quick-thinking racer while cautioning players with race-ending scenarios of minor collisions and missed opportunities. Nearly everything under the hood of Horizon Chase Turbo is crafted in a way where electrifying exhilaration comes first. But with the penalizing collision mechanics adding a bit of frustration to the experience, only those truly dedicated to the craft of nimble arcade maneuvers should proceed further into the tournament rather than those looking for a more casual racing encounter; at least, not without first honing in on some of the more precise and finer racing skills.