Horizon Chase Turbo Review (PS4)
Updated: May 2
''If you aint first, you're last''
Developed: Aquiris Game Studio
Published: Aquiris Game Studio
Genre: Arcade Racing
Release Date: May 15,2018
Price: $20 PSN/ $7 E-Shop
*Key provided by Aquiris Game Studio
Horizon Chase Turbo is an arcade racing simulator game that is developed and published by Aquiris Game Studio. Acting like a spiritual successor and in the vein of titles such as Cruisin USA, Top Gear and Out Run, Aquiris Game Studio attempts at making a game that lives up to the legacy of the games of old, in both uniqueness and fun factor. But do they triumph with what they set out to do? or do they they just crash and burn? Only one way to find out!
What? story? keep scrolling bucko, you will not find one here. So get going! shoo! shoo!
As mentioned previously, Horizon Chase Turbo is an arcade racing simulator that harkens back to the good ol days of titles like Out Run and Top Gear. Going into this title I had sort of a rough idea of what I was getting into with it as I've played the previous game I've mentioned. But I did not expect it to be this authentic to the classics and kind of expected it to be a cash grab like so many ''Spiritual successors'' tend to be, but luckily that was not the case here, not at all. There's actually more here than meets the eye and I mean this in both a good and a bad way. Yes, there is a lot of content here, which I will get into it in just a second, but there are also several things that annoyed me or frustrated me, that put a damper on my mood. Nothing game breaking, but.. well, you'll see shortly. So let's stop rambling on move on and talk about what this game has to offer you, as the consumer.
Upon booting up the game you're going to see multiple categories to select that range from Campaign, Playground, Tournament and Endurance. Each mode is different in its own way from the other, but all of them really have the same end goal, get first place, collect your points and trophies and move on to the next race. With campaign mode, you can already guess, its pretty self explanatory, its the games equivalent of ''arcade mode''. Once you select campaign mode, you will be able to choose between two modes inside this category right off the bat, with those modes being World Tour and Rookie series. Now let me tell you something right now, I suggest starting with Rookie series directly from the beginning because not only does it give you a chance to get a feel for the controls, but also lets you see all the levels you'll be up against when you actually do get into some serious races. But the downside is Rookie's set of races, 12 locations in all, such as United States,Chile,China,Japan,Hawaii, etc, all of them are extremely easy, I'm talking WAY too easy, you literally have to TRY to lose on purpose if you want to loose in Rookie mode. I'm not even joking, I crashed myself six times in one race just to see for myself and yup, I still managed to win the race... by 10 seconds!, holy moly. But this is the part of my review where two categories I'm going to be speaking about, basically will bleed into each other. These categories being, Rookie series that were already talking about and World Tour. Both of these are one in the same, save for a few differences here and there. Let me explain.
In Rookie series, you play through 12 different regions of the world and each region you play houses two different races you can take part in before you can move on to the next region of the world. However, in World Tour mode, some sections require you to beat three or even four racing stages for you to be able to advance, as well a earn tokens/coins that boost your total number of points required to open up your next race. While in World Tour mode, usually one of the three races you must partake in is a bonus race that allows you to acquire an upgrade to you car that gives you enhancements such as an exhaust that boosts your speed and acceleration. You have to actually WORK your big booty off in order to get these upgrades by placing at least third place in the challenge run. But this is where we see the difference when comparing it to Rookie Series. In Rookie series, you don't have to collect coins, gain points, none of that, because each few race levels you progress through, you will automatically get a brand new car or a brand new addition to your car, this is basically a ''for dummies'' mode or beginner mode. Picking up gas and refueling your car is also noticeably absent from this mode too, which actually makes it less than a headache than World Tour was. Oh man speaking of World Tour, there were quite a few times in World Tour where I'd be so into the race and concentrating on not crashing, that I'd actually not pick up enough fuel and then lose because of it. Please don't be me. Fuel responsibly.
We will get to the other modes too in a quick minute, but those modes aren't really 100% mandatory as something like World Tour is, so they will be in a separate section below. But for now I want to touch upon how the game actually plays in general. Horizon Chase Turbo is a fast game, I mean super fast. I don't know if it was my eyes playing tricks on me, but jeez, when playing this game, every now and then I'd get a little disoriented because you have less than a second to be able to focus your mind on what you have to do next. If you go top speed and hit your nitro at the wrong time, you're going to go like 160mph on a section of the track you are on, when you're trying to make a turn and BLAMO, you crash. Now you're probably thinking, it can't be THAT hard to turn in this game, even when going fast right? WRONG. It's hard to explain, but this game has very weird controls, they aren't bad, that's not what I'm saying, but they feel very grid like. When moving left to right, it doesn't have a smooth transition, it almost feels like an RTS game like you're moving around a grid, there's a slight delay and it feels very off putting at first. It doesn't take that long getting used to but you'll definitely notice it and naturally adjust as your time with the game goes on. Which actually, you'll be spending a ton of time with this game, should you complete all the content it has to offer and ohhh boy, is there quite a bit of content available.
When racing through the 12 different regions of the world, you'll notice every single racing track is distinct from each other. No level plays the same, feels the same or sounds the same. Going through California you will see awesome landmarks like the golden gate bridge in the background as you race to this head bangingly amazing 90s sounding music or going through the streets of Hong Kong and passing sweet looking dragon statues as you race on by. The levels all look like they individually were looked at and given equal amount of time to them as far as structure and creativity goes, especially the Hawaii region, which was actually my favorite due to having to race during an active volcano scenario. I mean who the heck wouldn't find that cool? nobody. Some of these levels though can be quite annoying, they aren't all sunshine and flowers, I wish. A few of the tracks you race on get kind of... turn happy and by that I mean, there's so many many twisting and turning of the race tracks that you don't always have time to react because its turn left then immediately turn right and your car sometimes can't react fast enough and hit a sign post and go flying, setting you back 3-4 seconds from your competition and depending on where you crash, it could cost you the match, eek, no bueno. Its sad in all honesty though, putting all the above awesomeness aside, its sad that one of my favorite parts of the game is actually one of the things that doesn't really matter and that's getting your license. At the end of each mode you play, you will be given your own drivers license that shows how many times you've crashed, how many times you've done nitro and many other stats and I don't know. I just have always loved having digital cards like that. Heck, with the ones we got for Pokemon Sword and Shield, I actually have legit cards printed and made of the my characters trainer card that I keep with me, I know, dorky, but I eat that stuff up.
But I don't eat up everything they throw at me with this game, I actually do have a bit of a gripe with certain aspects of the game that either made my experience more annoying or frustrated me when it didn't have to or just events that take place that makes me wish weren't in the game. The less harmful thing of the two subjects I want to talk about is in relation to ghost racing. Ghost racing for games like this are pretty much mandatory to have, its customary, but it can be a little distracting here at times. Lets say you're racing and you end up getting second place, but you want that first place, dang it, so you go back to the track you just raced and now your 2nd place ghost is there to race alongside you. It's very distracting, you're already bumping people around and trying to position yourself, but now a see through ghost car is there to distract you? It can lead to some pretty bad timing crashes. But wait, speaking of bumping, ohhh man, this is where I got mad. You see when racing in this game, you're going to be playing bumper cars a lot with some of these NPC's and at times like 14 cars at a time. When you bump an NPC car, they immediately get a boost because you push them further ahead of you and then because of the impact, your car slows down. However, if they bump you in the back, you lose speed and you aren't afforded the same speed boost than you give them. This makes it extremely frustrating when you're gaining on the first place racer and end up tapping him, giving him a huge advantage over you. It kind of makes you want to rage, especially if its made you have to restart a race multiple times. It's annoying, but I wouldn't say it makes the game bad or anything or even unplayable. Far from it.
Ah, yes, now were talking. We can finally talk about the modes that I teased earlier as they technically qualify for this section since they're not mandatory really unless you want to unlock extra stuff like the total of 35 cars that are in the game, with each of those 35 cars, requiring you to beat the modes I'm just now going to tell you about. The last two modes I want to touch upon before wrapping this review up, relates to the two game modes, Tournament mode and Endurance mode. Let's talk about Tournament mode first, shall we, my fellow drivers?. If you've played titles like Mario Kart, then yeah, this is basically Mario Kart. In tournament mode, you're allowed to pick a specific area of the world to play in, such as Chile or Brazil and each region you decide to play in, you'll have four different races to play through and at end of each race, you'll gain points. Does this sound familiar yet?. At the end of all 4 races, your point tally will be added up and a winner will be decided. If you want to collect all cars in the game as I stated earlier, then this mode is absolutely mandatory. You can't collect everything there is in the game unless you beat every single region with its 4 tracks with all gold trophies. The reason I say this because certain cars require specific objectives you must complete in order to unlock them, such as win all master tournaments and win all professional tournaments. But cars alone aren't the only thing winning these will grant you, oh lordy no, the final thing tournament mode will grant you is to the final game mode, Endurance mode. Man, oh man, are you in for it now.
Endurance mode is going to kick your butt to hell and back. This mode is gonna test your patience, your skills and yes, even your endurance itself. When starting this mode you're going to be greeted with three separate options, short, medium and long. If you choose to go the short route, then you will have to play 12 races, all back to back. Medium boosts that stress level up to 36 straight races and for the big masochists out there(like me?), there is the long option, which allows you to race through all 109 tracks in the game, back to back to back to back, you get the picture. This mode is absolutely insane and this mode is not recommended to anyone that does not have a good 3-4 hours to spare to be able to partake in this event. That's bare minimum the amount of time you will need to even scratch the surface of completing all 109 tracks. But it can be done, I believe in you. But there's a slight chance you'll be put in a straight jacket afterwards due to losing your sanity, so... it is what it is I guess? If you want to save a headache, stick to Playground mode. This modes function is limited time events you may do to complete challenges like race along with cops and other objectives. They're good time consumers, but don't feel overly different from the main game though.
When its all said and done, Horizon Chase Turbo offers players a fast, frantic, and yes, even sometimes frustrating experience. Sure it's not a flawless racing game due to mechanics like bumping which make racing against a ton of people a little bit cumbersome at times or ghost racer distracting you from paying attention to the track itself and making you crash. But it does enough with its game play to make the experience worth it. With its super speedy game play, head banging 90s soundtrack, the great looking visuals of each region you visit and their track design, down to the plethora of extra content to partake in, which can take your experience from being a 5 hour long racing game to possibly even a 10 hour if you dedicate yourself to the experience fully. So with all this having been said, I have to give my verdict and that verdict is, GameNChick says BUY NOW. Especially if you're a fan of 90s arcade racing.