There are already a ton of racing games available on the PS4, though most of these titles are either serious driving simulators (such as Gran Turismo or Assetto Corsa), or casual racing games (Need for Speed: Heat or The Crew 2). Horizon Chase Turbo though, does not fall into any of these categories.
Developed by Aquiris Game Studio from Brazil, Horizon Chase Turbo is an arcade racer that’s heavily-inspired by arcade racing game classics, including the likes of OutRun, Lotus Turbo Challenge, and Top Gear (the SNES game, not the BBC show). While it was originally released back in 2018 in North America and Europe, the game has finally made its way to Southeast Asia courtesy of SCRYSoft, which has now launched the Horizon Chase Turbo for the PS4 in the region.
Aside from having visuals and gameplay that are taken straight out of 80s arcade racing titles, developer Aquiris even tapped Barry Leitch to compose the game’s score. In case you’re unfamiliar, Barry Leitch is the man behind the soundtracks of Lotus Turbo Challenge, Top Gear, and Rush.
From its whole aesthetic alone, Horizon Chase Turbo is a game that old-school arcade racing fans should definitely pick up. But can the same be said for gameplay? And does the game offer enough to make it stand out in the PS4’s racing game library? The answer to both of those questions is YES!
Satisfying, Old-School Action
Unlike driving sims that require players to find the perfect racing lines or casual racing titles where stylish drifting is the name of the game, in Horizon Chase Turbo, the objective is simple–weave through the competition and stay on the track to get 1st place at the end of a race.
In this regard, it’s very much in the vein of something like Lotus Turbo Challenge or OutRun, as all these games share fairly simple mechanics. Though Horizon Chase Turbo does add a couple of features to keep things interesting such as nitro boosts, a fuel gauge, and collectible coins in races. In some circuits, there are also different weather effects that can make racing a challenge.
Even with all these new additions, I found Horizon Chase Turbo was easier to pick up compared to retro racing titles I tried. For instance, I had a difficult time just getting to the third stage in OutRun; but in Horizon Chase Turbo, I quickly got a hang of the game’s flow.
Make no mistake though, Horizon Chase Turbo isn’t a walk in the park. While the first few races might not give much of a challenge, the difficulty of races ramp up as you progress through the ‘World Tour’ (the game’s main campaign mode), with circuits becoming progressively tighter and windier the more you play. This is a major challenge as a small slip up, be it bumping a car while trying an overtake or hitting a sign can cause you to go down a couple of places.
The game’s challenging tracks will likely satisfy old-school racing fans, but overall, the game is still accessible enough for everyone to enjoy. This is thanks to how great the game feels to play, couple with how fast races finish. Even if you don’t finish in first place in a race, you can just easily try it again as each race only takes a few minutes to complete.
A Fair Number of Game Modes
While racing games in the past only had one or two game modes, Horizon Chase Turbo has three: the Campaign, Tournament, and Endurance mode. Horizon Chase Turbo’s Campaign mode serves as the main meat of the game, and it features three options which are Rookie Series, Summer Vibes, and World Tour.
Rookie Series serves as the game’s introduction to new players as it features 24 races which are all quite easy to finish. Summer Vibes meanwhile, is a series of races with a summery aesthetic and an OutRun Testarossa-inspired car as the only option to drive. The Summer Vibes series features a leaderboard system so you can compare your times to friends, as well as other players all over the world.
Finally, we have World Tour, which is pretty much the main campaign of the game. In this mode, you must complete 3 sets of races across 12 locations all over the world, with each set having around 3 or so individual races to complete. This game mode also gives you a chance to unlock more cars (each of which have different stats), as well as upgrades to improve cars to better handle the difficult tracks that the game throws your way.
Aside from the three campaigns, the game also features a Tournament mode. This mode features 12 tournaments, each of which consist of four consecutive races. To win a tournament, players must have the most amount of points by the end of the four races.
After completing either the World Tour or the Tournament mode, the Endurance mode will be unlocked. As the name implies, this mode is a test of endurance as it tasks players with completing 12, 36, and 109 random races consecutively. The catch is that you must finish 5th or above in every race in a car that’s not upgraded; if you finish below 5th, you’ll have to start the whole series over.
These different game modes add a bit of variety in terms of how the game is played. But at the end of the day, all these modes still task you with racing for the top spot. Given this, Horizon Chase Turbo’s replayability is dependent of how much you like the game’s racing action.
The game’s replayability does shoot up if you have friends/family as the game supports up to four-player couch co-op. What it doesn’t have though is a true online multiplayer mode. Instead, players can challenge friends online via a Competitive Ghost Mode.
Classic Visuals with a Modern Flair
From what I’ve said about it so far, Horizon Chase Turbo’s gameplay is the stand-out, though that’s not the only reason why the game is engaging. There’s also the fact that the visuals in the game are a highlight.
While Horizon Chase Turbo’s graphics is definitely inspired by arcade racing games of old with its bright colors and blocky assets, the game still looks quite modern thanks to the clean and distinct art style.
Personally, the highlight of the game in the visuals department are the backgrounds. As the races take place in iconic locales all over the world, it’s just lovely to see real-world locations rendered in the game’s retro art style. For example, seeing the Skytree and Mt. Fuji rendered in bright colors in the Tokyo circuit was a visual treat. Another memorable visual from the game is from the Reykjavik track as it featured a beautiful depiction of the northern lights.
Final Verdict – 8/10
Thanks to gameplay that’s both challenging and engaging, along with a great art style, Horizon Chase Turbo is a must-play for fans of retro arcade racing games. This game isn’t just for old-school gamers though, it’s approachable and fun enough for more casual gamers to play. While it could’ve used more creative game modes, Horizon Chase Turbo is still a great racing game overall.