Horizon Chase Turbo (PS4) Review28/12/2018
Horizon Chase Turbo is an arcade racer which brings back the spirit of old school, classic, racers such as Rad Racer from the NES/Famicom era and the Top Gear franchise from the Super NES/Super Famicom period.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a straightforward racer: each city/area has a selection to tracks to race. In order to progress to the next race, players need to finish the race in 5th place or higher. The number of laps per race varies depending on the track length: the shorter the track, the more laps are required and vice versa. Players start each race with three nitro boosts which can come in quite handy; additional nitro boosts can be picked up during a race.
Unlike most racers however, this one forces players to keep an eye on their fuel tank. Throughout the race, players will be able to pick up gas tank icon which will replenish the vehicle’s gas tank. Seeing as they respawn every lap, memorizing their emplacement is vital because running out of gas will cause to be disqualified from the race; this is most important during the longer races. And obviously, using nitro consumes more gas so there’s a bit of strategic element to this racer.
For the completionists out there, the game features up to 32 unlockable vehicles which are made available as players progress through the game’s World Tour. Oddly enough, for a long stretch, the default vehicle will remain your go-to car as it’s the fastest and most efficient ride you’ll have at your disposal until you’ve made a certain amount of progress.
And of course, racing game means upgrade. Every country has an Upgrade race where if you finish in third place or higher, you’ll be rewarded with an upgrade for your rides. Players will have to choose between three different types of upgrade; some will improve speed, acceleration, braking, etc… Interestingly enough, the upgrade will be applied to all of your vehicles so if players decide to mix it up by trying other vehicles, they don’t feel like racing an underpowered and inefficient ride.
Once you’re done with the World Tour, there’s a handful of additional modes players can tackle. These modes are unlocked through game progression and feature different gameplay mechanic:
World Tour: The first mode available out of the box. It’s a massive mode where players will race across 12 different countries. Each country has a set amount of races. Win races, unlock new cars and new game modes.
Tournament: Each unlocked country will include a four-track tournament; the higher you finish in a race, the more points you’ll earn.
Playground: Limited time races with game-changing twists to up the challenge.
Endurance: Players needs to choose a car devoid of all upgrades and players will race through a random number of tracks based on the skill level.
While Horizon Chase Turbo is a very fun and friendly racer, the A.I. can be a tough cookie at times. Once the race starts, if you struggle in the slightest to overtake the pack, because obviously you always start a race in last place, your chances to reach second and first place diminish every second you waste bumping into other competitors. Most of the time, the A.I. who always end up in first and second place seem to have overpowered vehicles as they’ll be miles ahead of you and you’ll run out of laps to catch them; so much so that you’ll have a lap ahead of position 20 before you can earn the top spot in the race.
Horizon Chase Turbo’s presentation is definitely one of the game’s strongest aspect. The game is very colourful and such a treatment for the eyes. It’s a visual reminder of a classic racing franchise such as Rad Racer and Top Gear, but thanks to today’s technology, the game blends the old school style with vibrant and colourful settings. The game’s score is another home run. The tracks are addictive and adrenaline pumping as you race your way through the pack; I even found myself humming a track or two when not playing the game.
Horizon Chase Turbo is definitely one of my personal 2018 Game of the Year. It’s fun, addictive and easy to pick up and play. The game is mostly perfectly balanced and requires a bit of practice and a bit of strategy. While sometimes it feels like the A.I. is racing in seemingly overpowered vehicles, this won’t hinder players to progress further and unlock more content. It also features enough of the latter to keep players hooked for a long time. If you enjoy racing games, this is a must play.