Horizon Chase Turbo is everything I want out of an arcade style racer, and more for that matter. Though inspired by titles like Outrun and more from the 80’s/90’s, what initially drew me in was my fondness for a similar inspiration, the Cruis’n series. My fiancé and I still frequent the game when we make the occasional trip to any bar-cade that happens to have it, and even own the Nintendo 64 version for when we need an at home fix. Though not a point A to B racer like that, Horizon seemed to offer a similar gameplay style, wrapped in a more modern and bountiful package for that matter. I am pleased to say Horizon Chase Turbo really is worth the $20, as it is packed with a variety of modes, tracks, and cars, and most importantly, is just really fun.
The setup is simple but effective, as a game of this nature tends to be. Choose your mode, choose your track, choose your ride, and do all you can to secure first place. World Tour is the first of the offerings that you can play in, as you must progress so far before unlocking other modes. Across 12 countries, you will compete in many cities to further progress your career. By taking first in races and collecting coins, you can boost your overall global standings to continue unlocking new regions for you to take on. Australia, Brazil, Iceland, Japan and more are all present, adding a lush and diverse multitude of sceneries to enjoy. Take in the sites across the different cities featured too, as each has unique and detailed backdrops to keep your visual pallet pleased. Through various means, you will unlock some of the games 31 cars, and upgrades to complete them as well. As with the whole of the game, this mode can be played in split-screen with up to four players competing at once, which is an awesome addition to have being that it is your career mode. So whether it is pass and play, or competitive split-screen, the career mode is great both solo and with friends.
After a bit of career play, you get to compete in the Tournament mode. This mode is most similar to Mario Kart’s Cups, where a set of four races on four different tracks are set for a specific tournament, with rankings determining points gained per race. I was not expecting to get another mode that was so diverse and large in offering in addition to the World Tour mode, but here I stand surprised, as 12 cups across multiple difficulties are present. Once again, all this can be enjoyed in multiplayer.
If that wasn’t enough for you, there are two other modes ripe for the playing. The first of the two, Playground, is earned progressively in World Tour. This mode is a rotating playlist of sorts, with five featured tracks at any given time. These tracks have different rules, restrictions, and weather settings than the featured race is typically accustomed too. These are a fun way to spice things up, should you somehow grow tired of all that content I have already mentioned. The other mode, Endurance, is earned by winning all of the Professional rank tournaments. I have not gotten to play this mode yet, but I am looking forward to it as it sees you picking a single, upgrade-less car, and competing in different lengths of successive races all in efforts of staying in the competition. End under a certain placing, and risk losing by default. Though I don’t think this mode would have any major effect on the end score of this review, I will update it post unlocking if necessary.
Now all this content is great and all, but it would not mean much if the game simply was not any fun to play. Thankfully, this is far from the case, as Horizon is loads of fun. Races are quick, twitchy, and intense considering is arcade appeal. Simple errors like fender benders or even missing fuel (which progressively runs out during a race) can be all the difference between first place and anything less. While I thought the game might feel too “on rails” when I initially played, it thankfully was not the case, and while it tests the waters of that almost “runner” like feel, this is still a racer through and through. It just works. The game can feel incredibly fast at times, especially when watching and not playing, which may deter some. But it is a good looking game aesthetically, nonetheless. Its gorgeous modern-retro look is vibrant as can be, and the little details in each region seal the deal. Weather effects look good too, adding different dynamics to a genre that can easily ignore them. The music is very solid too, fitting the bill for a game of this nature, with some songs like the one present at the Graveyard track really standing out from the crowd.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a fantastic arcade inspired racer, one that I am looking forward to continuing to play. It is simple, yet rich in offerings, and fun ones at that. At a $20 price tag, I think it is more than fair, especially for a title that is easy to pick up and play. It looks and runs smoothly both docked and in handheld mode on Switch, and considering the speed of the races, that is all the more impressive. Any connoisseur of racing games, especially with an inclination for the arcade styled ones, look no further. Horizon Chase Turbo wins the gold.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review.
Final Score: 8.5/10
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