Price: £15.49 (£17.53 for game+soundtrack, £3.99 soundtrack)
Where to Get It: Steam
Arcade racing games can be beautiful things. They don’t even have to be twitchy, they just have to feel twitchy. And the best of them appreciate that all you really need is steering, acceleration, brakes, and boost.
Okay, that one’s subjective, but hey, less controls means more accessibility, and on the controls front, Horizon Chase Turbo definitely fits the bill. Everything is accessible on keyboard with one hand. And, while the game definitely has some twitchy sections, a lot of it is, essentially, the art of the overtake. Turning corners hard may get you round that corner for sure, but if you want to pass that car in front instead of bumping their rear end… Well, ease off on the turn a little, you can edge by ’em!
Now, the thing with Horizon Chase Turbo is that, apart from completionist stuff, mechanically, it is very much “Does What It Say On The Tin.” The most complex part of it is boost starting (Have your revs in the green, not the red when the count hits 0, you get a boost), and everything else is aesthetic and track design… And the base track design is good. Good aesthetics, and only a few nasty surprises in the form of a couple of high chicane tracks early on.
No, where it likes to get challenging (sometimes downright nasty) is for the completionists among us. You see, there are tokens. Get all the tokens and place first, you get a super trophy. Get all the super trophies, and a gold in the Upgrade race (Permanent buffs for all your cars, two stats at a time), and you unlock a new car. But these tokens have been the biggest source of retries for me, as some are placed in such a way you have to get each row, each lap, some are placed so it would be very difficult to get both rows in one go, and one track in particular in the early game raised my eyebrow a little, as the tokens are on the inside of one curve to the outside of the next. In driving terms, this is basically the hardest kind of line you can try to follow.
But the thing is, apart from that, Horizon Chase Turbo is really enjoyable to play. Its simplicity means you’re paying attention to the race, its music is good driving tunes, from rocking synth guitars to instruments that remind me heavily of Amiga soundfonts (The Amiga had a lot of racing games), it’s visually pleasing and clear, and, for the devs among us, there’s the fun note that Horizon Chase Turbo mimics the visual style of outrun (Which used sprite scaling to imply distance) by… Scaling the models as they become visible, essentially doing a 2D trick that was necessary into a 3D trick that isn’t, but adds directly to the feel. That’s classy.
For a good look at a good way of doing an Outrun style arcade racer, or if you’re looking for a racing game that doesn’t have you tearing out your hair, Horizon Chase Turbo is definitely worth a look.
The Mad Welshman enjoys good arcade racing so much, he forgets release dates. Ah well, it’s good stuff.