Horizon Chase Turbo is a fun, fast-paced arcade racer with a retro feel that’s perfect for quick play sessions or gaming with friends.
My first games console as a young human was, like so many others, an NES, and amongst the earliest games I had for it was Rad Racer, a checkpoint racing game with the most eighties name going. It was simple, hard as hell, and ran surprisingly well considering the power available. I loved it, playing it to death without ever finishing it. Fond memories of this game flooded back to me when I saw the trailer for Horizon Chase Turbo and I was more than happy to try it out.
Horizon Chase was originally a free-to-try iOS and Android game clearly influenced by the likes of OutRun and Top Gear from years gone by. Since then it has developed into a full-price release on console and PC, along with most of the features you’d expect. I’ve been looking at the Nintendo Switch release, which retains the portability of the mobile game, but without the touch controls that often put me off gaming on a phone.
The first thing that struck me upon starting the game was how great Horizon Chase Turbo looks and sounds. The visuals are bright, sharp and varied whilst the soundtrack is fantastic. The engine sounds are a little weak, but the other aspects of the game’s presentation are great.
From the beginning, you’ll only have access to the main campaign in which you travel from country to country completing races. As you progress, you earn points based on how successful you are, letting you unlock new races and cars. And there are a lot of races and cars. There are over a hundred tracks and more than thirty cars to unlock in this mode. Playing here will also unlock tournaments and an endurance mode.
So it looks and sounds great, and there’s a ton of content! The important thing is how it plays, though, and Horizon Chase Turbo plays very well for the most part. Races are between you and nineteen other drivers, with you progressing if you place in the top five. They are incredibly fast and the sense of speed is ludicrous at times. The early races have a lot of straights with space to overtake, but later courses have tons of tight twists and turns that make passing tricky. Due to the sheer speed of the game, you’ll need to learn the tracks or have very good reactions.
Coming off the course normally results in you crashing quite spectacularly and watching opponents hurtle past you. If you intend to win, you really can’t afford many crashes, as getting back to the front takes near flawless racing. The controls are very sharp, so most of the time those crashes will be your fault, but sometimes the other drivers cause problems. With this being an arcade game, hitting other cars doesn’t cause a big problem in itself, but you can end up pinballing from car to car. This often leads to you crashing and falling a long way behind. It’s quite frustrating, as you’re traveling very fast, which makes precision movements very difficult.
A further annoyance comes from the fuel system. Each car has a different level of fuel consumption, meaning you need to collect fuel cans on the track. It’s fine in principle, as it balances the faster cars with the need to sometimes take a less optimal line to collect some extra fuel. The irritation comes from the fact that the cans are the same colour as some of the road signs. I crashed more times than I care to admit due to going for some fuel and ending up with a turning sign in my face.
That said, the races are over very quickly, so a disappointing result won’t set you back long, and you often end up with that one-more-game mentality. Horizon Chase Turbo is just plain fun, and having another race is often very appealing. Better yet, you can play with up to four players in split screen. Whilst there isn’t online play, single Joy-Con local play is an excellent addition that works well without slowing the game down. It feels like an incredibly fast Mario Kart without the power-ups, which is no bad thing.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a fun, fast-paced arcade racer with a retro feel that’s perfect for quick play sessions or gaming with friends. With heaps of content and challenge, this is a great option for anyone looking for a solid, lightweight racing game. Try not to knock me off the leaderboards, though.
Horizon Chase Turbo is available now for PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.