Format: PS4 (tested), Xbox One, PC, Switch

Released: May 2018

When a developer goes back to the past to recreate a game genre with modern-day technology – should we expect them to bring all the good and the bad elements with them too? Or should they refine a genre in the process? This question is at the forefront of my mind when I bought and played Horizon Chase Turbo and the reason I bring it up is it will likely play a part in your enjoyment of the game as a whole.

horizon chase turbo ps4
20 cars, only one winner – time to floor it!

Horizon Chase Turbo is a love letter to games like Enduro, Chase HQ, Outrun and Top Gear. Driving along arcade motorway stretches with tons of cars to weave through, this is arcade racing at some of its purist. Across the huge 109 tracks and 31 cars, you’ll be busy darting past the 19 other cars on the track and trying to cross the line first. Placing in the top 5 unlocks the next track and winning races alongside collecting all the collectables on track too gets you the super trophy for the event. That’s what 100% completionists will be aiming for and where most of the achievements are stashed away. It will take you plenty of time to do.

Each car has slightly different stats and you’ll be gaining points for your finishes to unlock special races. Win those and you’ll be able to upgrade all your cars. These are permanent improvements, so once chosen you can’t undo them but you’ll choose depending on your style and how you deal with the main crux of the game – its corners and the traffic!

horizonchaseturbo02
Whilst hitting other cars is usually the big drama, but you can hit the scenery on the track side too

You see for all the speed, colourful graphics, excellent frame rate and superb soundtrack from Barry Leitch (Lotus Challenge among others) that all this retro fun brings, it also brings little to innovate the formula of darting around cars. Hitting them from behind, which you’ll be doing often, grinds you to a slow crunch and loses you time. Hit them from the side and you’ll spear off to the scenery. Get hit from behind and you’ll get a bit of a boost! As the game is pedal to the floor all the way to come home 1st, it feels counter-intuitive to feather the throttle to try to avoid some of the cars that often love to veer into you. It’s a testament to the fantastic feeling you get at full speed that it makes braking, or easing off, feel a bit weird. As cars get faster, this becomes much more prominent. All these games had the same issue and Horizon Chase Turbo has it front and centre as its main gameplay mechanic. I feel like it may divide players a little because, in 30 years, nothing has changed or improved in the gameplay, but then that is exactly what is offered as a package. Where you sit on this will essentially decide if you persevere or not through all the games stages.

horizon chase turbo ps4
You’ll need to collect fuel to finish the race and each car has its own fuel rate stat

Outside of world tour mode, there’s plenty to do with championships and some superb 2-4 player split screen racing which runs smoothly and beautifully. If you have some mates locally, this could become one of your staples on rotation – it’s that fun if you get into it. Turn up the soundtrack, shout at each other and enjoy the glorious retro cool environments.

Positives

  • Superb recreation of everything you had in 1990’s arcade racers
  • Local multiplayer is a blast
  • Plenty of tracks, cars, objectives and replayability
  • Inclusion of weather and terrain handling differences is welcome
  • Excellent soundtrack

Negatives

  • Can feel a bit unfair sometimes

Conclusion

A superb game for racers, arcade gamers and local multiplayer lovers. This is bright, beautiful, fun and furious. Just know that you’ll rage a few times when you miss a single collectable or have one collision with another car too many to win.

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