Horizon Chase Turbo does a great job in revitalizing the aesthetic of a classic 16-bit arcade racing game, but in doing so loses sight of other important parts of the experience. Those that love retro inspired games that try to recapture the nostalgia and excitement of the good ol’ days may find it fun to dive into this simple racing game. The rush of speed and colorful visuals that made up the time are definitely there. But a combination of poor design choices prevent Horizon Chase Turbo from being a true revival of something many view as classic.
Racing in Horizon Chase Turbo can be simple and fun, but only when things are going smoothly and not chaotic. The camera is placed behind your car the entire time and you steer left and right to avoid incoming obstacles and opponents throughout a race. This formula still works well for giving a strong sense of speed and tension as you zip through the courses in hopes of taking first place.
The biggest detriment to this however is the constant “rubber band” effect that happens with opponents during a race, where you’ll find your opponents alarmingly catch up behind you regardless of how far or well you’ve been driving.
This is only made worse with the speed boost ability of your car being so limited to you, with no way to reasonably recover it. If you find yourself in 5th place and out of boosts to get you ahead, don’t expect to see any higher place after that.
There are a few basic racing modes in Horizon Chase Turbo, making for a very slim game by modern standards. The World Tour has you racing on a variety of tracks across the globe, unlocking new cars and upgrades along the way. This is where most of your game time will be spent, but not always because of how fun the races can be. Expect to retry again and again the same races you participate in, mostly because the game requires you to finish in first place to complete certain sections and obtain certain upgrades.
It’s very annoying to not obtain upgrades for your cars because you fail to get first place within one given race, even after you’ve progressed through most races in World Tour. This makes later races with tougher opponents and difficult tracks a lot more of a hassle to finish in the top 3. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal if it wasn’t so strict and difficult to get small upgrades along the way.
There are is a Tournament and Endurance mode that unlock once you complete the World Tour. Both modes allow you to play through races again either alone or with up to four players. However by the time you play enough to unlock them, there won’t be much reason to do so. Multiplayer is limited to local play and not online, which is a real disappointment.
The multiplayer can be done with a split-screen between four players and the in any of the game modes, which can help a bit for unlocking more cars and other tracks. But good luck finding enough people to do so. Without the ability to play online, Horizon Chase Turbo feels restricted with its multiplayer options.
Horizon Chase Turbo may recapture some of the charm from arcade racers of the past, but not enough is done to make it feel like a fun revival. The visuals are colorful and the racing is fast, but there’s not much fun to be had after that. Races can be difficult because of poorly programed A.I and a restrictive upgrade system that doesn’t do enough to help despite the challenge required to obtain them. If you grew up with arcade racers from back in the day, you might find solace reliving those memories playing this game. Everyone else might not get as much out of it.
This review is based on a digital review code for Horizon Chase Turbo for PlayStation 4, provided by Aquiris.