Review by Lord_Heimdall
A shiny racer with a bit of nostalgia
Horizon Chase Turbo is an old-school style Arcade Racing game published by Brazilian studio Aquiris in May, 2018. It is a homage to the old classics we used to play back in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, drinking from sources like Top Gear, Rad Racer and Out Run. While it drinks from and old, but interesting, formula it also gives a fresh breath into a genre which was long left aside with a lot of unlockables, several game modes, outstanding soundtrack and colorful graphics.
Horizon Chase Turbo plays just like and action-paced arcade racer should play: very fast. The feeling of going through a narrow, twisting track in full speed, dodging NPC cars while spending your Nitro is back in a optimized fashion. There are several tracks (109) and cars to unlock (31 in total), each with their own set of characteristics. You can choose between the high-speed cars to just blaze through the competition or you can stick to a slower car with better steering so you can take that sharp turn without ever hitting the brakes.
Horizon Chase Turbo has three main game modes to please both casual and hardcore gamers. The main mode is the World Tour, where you play through a series of single races to unlock more tracks and the other game modes, and most of new cars and car upgrades. You have Tournament mode, where you play in a 4-race cup format and can choose from 3 difficulty levels. And, lastly, you have Endurance mode which is a very long series of consecutive races which yield a “surprise” when completed.
But it’s not just about driving and getting to the first place. You need to collect extra Nitros and Fuel canisters in the track so you don’t run out of gas. There are also tokens to be collected in every track and when you finish in first place having collected all tokens you get a Super Trophy which is required to unlock some of the cars. It adds another layer of diffculty in the game as it’s not easy to get those in the first try so expect to play each track several times, specially if you are a completionist.
And even if the playing the game solo is not enough, it also supports up to 4-player local split-screen multiplayer. You can also compare your performance in a certain track with people all around the world with a Global leaderboard that shows the top-50 times for each track. However, this game doesn’t support online multiplayer as of now.
The controls are very responsive and really benefit from the analog stick and trigger buttons the PS4 provides. Oddly enough, it feels that using the face buttons and the d-pad for a more old-style way of driving feels even more responsive than using the analogs, specially if you want to feel your fingers “bleeding” like in the older days. Like many of the current games, the controls can be customized to each player’s preference.
Score: 9 / 10.
This is where the game shines, literally. By blending a colorful palette with low-polygon, stylized scenery and 2D backgrounds the game gives crispy, yet nostalgical, graphics, all while making good use of the PS4’s capacity and running at full 60fps. Each car has it's own graphics (and you can try and guess which real-world car they actually represent) and you can still notice the differences between each of them even with all the action going around.
There are several track textures which change many times within a track. Also, the dynamic lighting and dynamic weather are the game’s biggest innovation from its spiritual predecessors. Be it during morning, dusk or night, you can see rain, thunderstorms, snowfall, volcanic dust and even an Aurora Borealis going around. These effects are all well done and make this game a marvel to behold. The collision effects, sparks and smoke effects are also simple, yet well done.
Score: 9 / 10.
If the game style wasn’t enough to make you feel nostalgic, once you start listening the BGM you’ll clearly start going like “I know I have heard this before.” And that’s intentional, since the developers hired Barry Leitch, the original composer from Top Gear, Top Gear Rally and Lotus 2 (among other racing games) to create the game’s soundtrack. You can even listen to some of the most familiar pieces from those games with a new arrange in the game, all while still retaining that old 16-bit sound feeling.
Other sounds are just okay, from the collision sounds to the car’s engine. They even bothered to give different cars different motor sounds and, while that's a good thing, it’s not really noticeable when you’re all pumped-up by the BGM.
Score: 9 / 10.
Races in Horizon Chase Turbo are very quick, ranging from 1-minute to 4-minute races. The game may seem a bit short if you’re looking just for casual driving and unlocking the tracks in World Tour mode, which takes just about less than 10 hours. Now, if you’re looking into getting all Super Trophies for all tracks and tackling the longer Endurance challenges then you’re in for a real time-sink (about 40+ hours).
Also, you can compare your performance with your friends and the top players in the world, so either if you want to beat your own ghost in a certain track or want to figure among the fastest players out there you’ll want to replay the tracks several times, increasing play-time and replayability considerably.
Score: 8 / 10
Horizon Chase Turbo is a game which accomplishes its original purpose: to deliver a nostalgic experience of an arcade racer while still making good use of the current resources the PS4 has to offer. It works both as a homage to the classics as well as feeling like a complete new experience in a nearly-forgotten genre to please even the younger players. Now, if you are a fan of the old Top Gear days and want to relive those days, then this game is definitely a "must buy".
Final Score: 9 / 10.
Product Release: Horizon Chase Turbo (US, 05/15/18)
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