Despite the similarity in name, Horizon Chase Turbo has nothing in common with Horizon Zero Dawn, well, apart from the eye candy (thankfully). This game is an old-school arcade racer from a small Brazilian Indie, Aquiris Games Studio, it’s big on playing with your rose-tinted glasses and extremely high on speed.
I have had the game for a while now, but was holding off writing the review until each of the game modes were unlocked (to do so the World Tour has to be completed, which is no small feat). Now with that done and the Platinum trophy in my cabinet, I feel I can tell you all about it and why you should play.
At the core of Horizon Chase Turbo is the World Tour mode. Set across 3 distinct locations in 12 different countries the goal is to beat your 19 on track rivals to win the race, whilst also collecting a handful of strategically placed coins. This then gives you a race score, and if you win and collect all the coins, a Super Trophy is yours! As your accumulative race score grows, new locations, countries and cars are unlocked. Within each country is a special race that unlocks an upgrade to your cars, increasing your car’s stats, which in turn helps when tackling the harder, faster courses as you progress. And boy, does it get fast!
The difficulty curve in World Tour mode is smooth, especially as you unlock better cars to help, however I did have gripes with rubber-banding and the fact it seems the AI racers weren’t limited to 3 lots of boost like the player is. Saying that though, the actual racing is brilliant. Imagine if Outrun, F-Zero and Burnout 2 had a baby. Like most arcade racers you always start at the back of the pack and true to type, if you time when you put your foot down to perfection, you get a boost off the line which helps massively. Weaving in and out of the field is great fun, climbing up the rankings like a poor-man’s Lewis Hamilton makes you feel as gifted as an F1 driver, however, if you do it too well, the AI seems to get a speed boost. Because of this at times I found myself 4th half way round the first lap, to then be unfairly 12th by the end of the lap and having to work my way past everyone again because they had so much overspeed… It doesn’t ruin the game, as you can still get back past them, it just feels a little unfair.
Track design is lovely, never feeling like things have been done to catch you out, they all flow beautifully and the way each of the locations differs is wonderful. Screenshots really don’t do the game justice. I love the stylised versions of each country and the weather effects are great too.
Along with World Tour mode, there is Tournament and Endurance mode. Fairly self explanatory, Tournament is a fixed set of 4 races where points are awarded for finishing positions and the racer at the top of the table after the races wins. Endurance, is exactly the same, but with many, many more races. The last endurance mode has 109 events and takes a long time to complete. Luckily you do not have to do them all in one sitting.
This was where my major issue with the game was. World Tour mode was great, I loved it, never felt like a chore and I feel in love with what Aquiris Games Studio created, however in Tournament mode, the difficulty spike was so that I felt like I wanted to smash my dualshock into the TV. The aforementioned rubber-banding and boost cheating was extremely evident in the hardest of the tournament modes. I know it could be argued “it is hard mode” but if felt more like the AI was cheating than the race being hard.
Back to the good stuff. I have to also mention to awesome retro-inspired sound track too, which compliments the games feel so well that you find yourself humming along as you race round the streets of neon-lit Tokyo or through the fields of South Africa.
I do know that the majority of gamers, and those reading, probably won’t be going all out to get the platinum trophy and therefore, if you want a really good fun, beautiful looking arcade racer Horizon Chase Turbo is perfect for you, I would highly recommend it. I spent 90% of my time with it smiling ear from ear and gawping at the visuals. If, however, like me you set out to achieve all the trophies, please be prepared to scream a little.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*