It’s a safe bet that if you own a mobile device, you probably played a racing game on it. With touch controls, keeping a tiny car on the road is a tough thing to pull off while gripping a portable device, but Brazilian developer Aquiris managed to make an extremely fun game out of that with Horizon Chase a couple of years ago. Inspired by arcade racers of old, namely OutRun and Top Gear, it was one of the most polished mobile games I’ve ever played, so much so that I didn’t even wait for a sale in order to buy it — which says a lot about a title from that particular marketplace.
Horizon Chase Turbo is exactly that same game, now on big screen devices. Horizon Chase already looked gorgeous on your phone’s screen, thanks to its colorful, saturated visuals, but it’s another thing entirely now. While simple looking in technical terms — cars are pretty modestly modeled, and the environments aren’t realistically detailed — ‘Turbo still manages to be incredibly eye-catching on HD displays.
Realism clearly isn’t Horizon Chase Turbo’s aim. It’s an arcade racer through and through, so if you’ve ever played either of its aforementioned inspirations, you’ll know what to expect from playing this game. There is a certain level of depth to be found, but that comes more from the track memorization and drifting aspects than anything else, especially since races are extremely quick to get through and there’s no other realistic factors to worry about outside of crashing into other cars and slowing down yours in the process.
Then again, that’s the main draw that arcade games have always had, the simplicity of play, the ability to jump in and out of races without having to worry about the time you’ve invested breathlessly tweaking your car’s stats in order to best suit it for a particular race. Horizon Chase Turbo has a certain amount of customization thanks to its bonus tracks that can unlock upgrades for all of your cars in its main game mode, but that’s as far as it goes into preparing you for upcoming events.
As you race across the world tackling tracks in twelve different locations all over the globe, you’ll get to unlock new cars, with knocks on just about every classic model you can think of — there’s even a Lancia Stratos, my favorite! — each with unique stats (like faster acceleration, lower fuel capacity, longer nitro boost, etc) and visuals. The tracks themselves are pretty inventive and tricky, and the further you progress, the more they demand careful use of your nitro power in order to get ahead of the pack, as they escalate the difficulty to incredible heights the further you get into the game.
There’s plenty of incentive to jump back and race again aside from getting 1st place on every race. Picking up blue coins during races will help you unlock even more cars, and they even help you learn better race lines if you pay close enough attention to their placement on the tracks. Then again, the races then to get so hectic so quickly that I won’t blame you if you don’t pick up on that particular detail, but it’s worth noting regardless.
With over one hundred race tracks to pick from and unlockable game modes to play through after finishing the World Tour, Horizon Chase Turbo feels fresh, but at the same time very familiar and nostalgic. Aquiris has done an admirable job bringing Horizon Chase to an even wider audience. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, nor does it go out of its way to be exactly like the classics it draws from. Horizon Chase Turbo manages to be a fun and easy to pick up game that anyone can enjoy, now on just about any platform they can get their hands on — except the Switch, but I’m sure that won’t take too long to be remedied.