Review – Horizon Chase Turbo

Remember the good old days of classic arcade racers? Way before the dawn of racing simulators and the excessive amount of kart racers flooding the market, players used to spend countless hours (and quarters) playing games like OutRun, Cruisn’ USA, Lotus Turbo Challenge, Top Gear, and many others. You don’t see many good games like these nowadays: sure, there are average titles like 80’s Overdrive for the 3DS, and you can actually play the classic OutRun in both Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6, but you don’t see many high-quality titles trying to emulate the feel from that era nowadays. Enter Horizon Chase Turbo from Brazilian studio Aquiris, the closest to a brand new (or old) Top Gear you’ll find in this generation of gaming.

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The Easter Island tourism committee won’t like it

With the exception of its mobile-esque looks (the game is an improved version of a title originally released for smartphones), Horizon Chase Turbo sounds, plays, and feels like a brand new version of the original Top Gear games. It retains that same visual style of always having your car in the middle of the screen, with the environment being the one actually turning around. It’s very nostalgic, and weirdly enough, not irritating at all, despite its complete lack of sense. The fact your cars can still do sharp turns while cruising at 200mph is also a welcome throwback to a simpler time when we didn’t care about physics, we only cared about having dumb, carefree fun. The game also features a soundtrack composed by Barry Leitch, the same man who composed the now legendary Top Gear soundtrack for SNES.

The game impresses with its amount of content: more than customizable 40 cars (none of them being actually licensed but you can still figure out their real-life counterparts) and more than one hundred tracks set all over the world, from Rio de Janeiro to Reykjavik. The career mode is long and very difficult, since Horizon Chase Turbo, like most of its sources of influence, features some insane difficulty spikes every now and then. Trial and error is the name of the game.

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Not even reduced polygons make the Panamera less hideous to look at

The difficulty spikes aren’t exactly what will drive you mad, however. If I had to point out a really annoying feature in Horizon Chase Turbo, that would be the physics. Yes, I did mention that you don’t play a game like this for the realism and the physics, but I have to say that this game features two insanely annoying features: rubber-banding and a faulty collision detection system. Everytime you touch anything, be it a rival racer or an obstacle, your car goes completely haywire and loses a lot of speed and momentum, sometimes to a point you won’t even be able to catch up if you don’t have a spare turbo boost or two. Every single race needs to be as clean and pristine as possible if you want to even remotely think about winning the game due to the faulty collision detection system.

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I’ve been through the desert on a Ferrari with no name

If you’re a fan of arcade racers from two decades ago, look no further: Horizon Chase Turbo features everything you love (and hate) from those games at an affordable price and with a huge amount of content. It may be a port from a mobile title, and you can definitely see that in its visuals, but it’s good enough to make you ignore that fact. It’s just good old nostalgic fun.

Graphics: 6.5

Despite the environmental variety and the excellent framerate, there’s no way to sugarcoat the fact this game has the visuals of a mobile title.

Gameplay: 8.0

A very simple, fast-paced and responsive control scheme, very reminiscent of other racing games from the 16-bit era. The game features annoying rubber banding.

Sound: 8.5

A fantastic soundtrack composed by Barry Leitch. The sound effects are disappointing, to say the least.

Fun Factor: 7.5

A fun throwback to older racing titles, with an immense amount of vehicles and tracks. It’s an enjoyable game despite its difficulty spikes.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Reviewed on PS4.
Also available on: PC.
A copy of Horizon Chase Turbo was provided by the publisher.