Imagine this; You are at a friend’s party and the idea of playing something arcade comes to mind. Racing is the way to go most of the times and that’s where Horizon Chase Turbo comes in. Low requirements, eye-catching graphics, and easy maneuvering, all mixed up in an arcade racing game.
Horizon Chase Turbo is not a classic indie racing title. The original Horizon Chase started out as a free-to-play mobile game with paid in-game content that was one of the top mobile games of 2015. Now, that game gets the full PC and PS4 experience with more than 30 different cars, 100+ different tracks and a series of unlockable upgrades through 12 countries.
What Horizon Chase Turbo provides, in terms of content, is more than enough, making the switch from its mobile version an even greater experience.
The game takes inspiration from Outrun, Lotus Turbo Challenge, and others but you’ll find out early on that its similarities with the SNES version of Top Gear are extreme.
Same graphics look, interface, fuel and Nitro mechanics. Horizon Chase Turbo is the perfect SNES Top Gear spiritual successor.
What one will first notice about Horizon Chase Turbo is its 4-player split-screen multiplayer, which doesn’t happen a lot these days. On PC, two players can share the keyboard, just like in old-school arcade emulators with possibly two more joining with gamepads. Truth is, half of the game’s fun is its couch co-op mode so feel free to grab your friends and teach them the ropes. I, personally, didn’t have the means to test the 4 player co-op (mostly to see if the game’s quickly changing 16bit graphics make you dizzy or confuse you) but the 2 player split-screen co-op offers an unexpectedly fun experience.
Sadly there’s no multiplayer mode for Horizon Chase Turbo. The only thing close to multiplayer is a ghost mode that lets you race against friends’ ghost cars, which are basically their past selves in the game on the same track.
In the aspect of gameplay, Horizon Chase Turbo is a little too easy to be competitive. Taking turns feel almost natural, so much that I almost thought that it happens automatically (it actually doesn’t) and catching up with cars in front of you is as easy as ABC.
Where most of each race’s difficulty lies is at the start of the race, where 20 cars struggle and bump into each other to get the head start. If you manage to get away from all that commotion then you are doing perfectly fine. The AI drivers are not so bad either, with you not getting the first place in the first 5 seconds of the race, so extra points for that.
Throughout the race, you’ll be most of all looking for those sweet race tokens that can boost up your post-race score and gain you more credits, which are used to unlock new cars and next cities. Furthermore, amidst all the bumping with other drivers, you’ll have to take care of your fuel levels since when that goes down to zero you are disqualified.
If you manage to tumble those and the use of your 3 charges of Nitro then your almost 2/3 done with finishing 1st. That’s Horizon Chase Turbo’s beauty, after all, easy mechanics and decent AI to make its PvE experience worth the while.
Horizon Chase Turbo is rewarding when you manage to finish the race first but is not punishing even when you occasionally bump into street signs. The only bad part of each race is the constant collision since some tracks are relatively small and you are almost bound to hit somebody. If that’s happening, at least make sure to not hit the back of its car since it will significantly lower your speed.
Packed in an incredibly small-sized file, Horizon Chase Turbo manages to include enough content to fill the time of the day you don’t want to grind on a non-arcade title, shockingly beautiful graphics and a cool soundtrack.
Graphics-wise, Horizon Chase Turbo is beautiful, for a while at least. With 3D 16bit graphics with polygon aesthetics and vivid colors that create an eye-popping effect, it’s unfortunate to say that it really tires the eyes after a few hours. Especially the night tracks can make your eyes sore while you try to find out where the race tokens or fuel cans are.
This is actually one of the major downvotes for this game. Come think of it though, aren’t we supposed to take breaks after 1-2 hours of gaming? Voila, Horizon Chase Turbo provides that. Should we be thankful or worried about that? In any case, bare that in mind.
Last but not least, the soundtrack on this one fits its genre and character perfectly. Its tracks are created by Barry Leitch, the musician behind the soundtracks of classic arcade racing games Lotus Turbo Challenge, Top Gear (SNES) and Rush, so there’s a mastermind of such titles in this section of the game.
Overall, Horizon Chase Turbo is an arcade racing video game that PC and consoles needed. With all those overly realistic racing games out there, this one is actually a breath of fresh air and a cool way to spend time with friends without compromising the old-school couch experience. Keeping its easy mobile mechanics and pumping it up with more content, 4K graphics, and uncapped FPS, Horizon Chase Turbo is a must-try of its genre.