Review – Horizon Chase 2

Here is a useless, but still interesting fact about worldwide gaming culture for you: here in Brazil, we love retro-styled arcade racers. For reasons beyond my comprehension, one of the most widely celebrated games in the 16-bit era of gaming is Kemco’s Top Gear. We love games from the Cruis’n series to death. We don’t even need to talk about stuff like Outrun and Hang-On. There is a reason why Horizon Chase Turbo resonated so well around here, to a degree rarely seen from a locally-made game, as well as an indie in a market still unsure of the segment’s potential. It was flawed (dare I say, a tiny bit overrated), but it was a surefire hit. It put developer Aquiris on the map, and gave them room to come up with a long awaited sequel, Horizon Chase 2.

Horizon Chase 2 gameplay

A bit more realistic than the gameplay seen in the first Horizon Chase game, but still very much an arcade racer at heart.

If the original Horizon Chase felt like a love letter to Top Gear, Horizon Chase 2 is clearly trying to be a spiritual successor to the Cruisn’ games. From the “world tour” aspect of its career mode, to its slightly improved gameplay and vastly more detailed visuals, this game took me back to the early 90s, where every single damn arcade parlor and/or supermarket had a Cruisn’ USA cabinet just lying around for a young kid to fail miserably at driving its cars.

This is not your traditional circuit racer. In pretty much every single track which isn’t a time trial, you start off dead last, and have to work your way towards the first place before the race is over, taking advantage of your car’s improved stats (as you can spend points on upgrades), a pretty fair AI, and some nitrous boosts. Rubber banding, which was the most obnoxious aspect present in Horizon Chase Turbo, is way less visible in this sequel. If there is rubber banding, I could barely notice; the game doesn’t feel that much easier, but you just don’t have to deal with cars behind you just unfairly becoming faster just because the computer decided to give you a hard time.

Horizon Chase 2

Horizon Chase 2 is a lot more detailed than its predecessor.

I feel like Horizon Chase 2 has a bit less content than its predecessor in some areas. Sure, it has more tracks (including a ton set in Brazil, thanks Aquiris!), but I feel like there were less cars to choose from. The developers tried to overcome this issue with unlockable skins and body mods, but that didn’t feel like the perfect substitute. Then again, it’s not like Horizon Chase 2 is devoid of content or anything like that. There is still a ton to do, and some of its tracks are so cool you can’t help but want to replay them, especially upon unlocking a new, better car, or after purchasing an engine upgrade for your trustworthy Fiat.

By far the best thing about Horizon Chase 2, especially when compared to the original, is the improvements to its presentation. Let me preface that, just as before, Horizon Chase 2 was originally developed for mobile phones, the difference being that it was developed with Apple Arcade in mind. Granted, Apple Arcade isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but it is limited to beefier phones and tablets, meaning that the developers were able to flex their muscles a bit more.

Horizon Chase 2 Fiat

Fiats don’t go this fast. Believe me, I’ve tried.

This is still intentionally dated to a degree, but it does look quite good. Environments look brighter, more colorful, oozing with detail. The fact the game goes for a Cruis’n inspired art style instead of flat Top Gear visuals also allowed for more environmental variety, busier backgrounds, props, and more. Despite the busier visuals, the game still runs flawlessly, at a locked 60 frames per second.

Finally, it’s hard not to love the soundtrack, once again composed by the legendary Barry Leitch. The man is an underrated legend, having composed tracks for games like San Francisco Rush 2049, Wing Commander, Gauntlet Legends, and my favorite of his, Top Gear Rally for the Nintendo 64. He shines once again with this soundtrack comprised of bangers that duly represent their respective courses. When racing in the Wild West, you might hear a Morricone-esque twang, whilst you’ll clearly hear some samba influences when racing in Brazil. Truly some memorable stuff.

Horizon Chase 2 amazon

Driving nonsensically around the Amazon on a Dodge. I am one mention of “family” away from turning this into a Fast & Furious scene.

This is the best kind of sequel. Horizon Chase 2 is the kind of game that makes its predecessor look and feel obsolete in comparison, with vastly better graphics, AI, tracks, and controls. It might not exactly have a lot of cars for you to choose, but there is still so much content in here that complaining about it almost feels like an annoying nitpick. Aquiris has clearly managed to outdo themselves, with this game being one of the best retro-styled racers available in any console or PC right now.


Graphics: 7.5

A vast improvement of its predecessor, with more detailed environments, better-looking vehicles, while still retaining a solid framerate. It’s still intentionally dated to a certain degree, but it still looks good.

Gameplay: 8.5

It retains the control scheme from the arcade racers of the mid-90s. It’s easy to learn, hard to master, and quite responsive. Rubber banding, a nuisance present in its predecessor, is less visible in this sequel.

Sound: 9.0

A wide assortment of bangers that duly represent their respective courses.

Fun Factor: 8.5

It might not have a lot of cars, but it’s full of tracks and replayability. It’s way more fun to play than the first Horizon Chase.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Horizon Chase 2 is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, and Apple Arcade.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB

A copy of Horizon Chase 2 was provided by the publisher.