*Disc scratch sound*
"Wrong game dude."
Hello, and welcome my friends. For it is time for a shiny, speedy, quick and easy Quickie Review! This bring I bring you something that might feel special, especially for gamers that come from the 80's and 90's. Brazilian developers Aquiris Game Studio were kind enough to offer me the chance to test my old-time driving skills on this clear homage to arcade racing games of those golden decades of gaming. So how did it go? Well then, let's go to the starting lane and GO, GO, GO!!!
Horizon Chase Turbo is a racing game. No, it's not a new spin-off of the Forza series. It is purely and simply a 90's arcade-style (or 16-bit consoles) racing game based on great classics like Outrun and Top Gear especially, although I noticed some sprinkles of Lotus Turbo Challenge in there too. So how does it go? You play on only one perspective - a rear camera - and try to win races against other opponents earning enough points to progress to the next location and to the next country when you eventually earn enough points. Sometimes when you overtake other cars your driver throws a little teasing line but also when you crash. This goes on through 12 increasingly difficult stages (starting in California and ending in Hawaii) - encountering rain, snow and volcanoes along the way - until we win it all. That's it. No story, just racing and not much else. And that is just great.
The game plays just like racers of before. Press RT to accelerate, Left Thumb to steer, LT to brake and X for a Nitro boost. Raw, my friends. This is how you make a game fun and simple to play. As mentioned, you race against 19 other cars - after choosing your car and color, of course - and even though you can get 1st place, you will only get a super trophy if you collect all the coins scattered along the track. Also, you have to pick up gas canisters or you risk ending up with no gas. You also get more points, the more gas you have in the end of the race. Take it as a little extra challenge to earn more points. As you earn points, more races open up, including upgrade races which - if you reach at least 3rd place - will upgrade all your availabe cars in certain parts such as suspension, air intake or exhaust, thus improving handling, speed, acceleration or even the nitro boost. Perfect to go back and get those super trophies you left behind. The cars feel great to drive in its simplicity but sometimes you cannot avoid that bit of frustration when you are on a tight curve and you encounter a slower opponent and have no chance but to either hit it or crash to the side of the road. When you repeat races you can have your "ghost" with your best time for comparison also. The game can also be played locally on split screen with 3 more friends.
Visuals and Sound
Quite simplistic but oh so sleek and colorful! You get a map to the side and a road in the middle that sort of follows the maps layout and you get a background according to the place you are in, so if you race in San Franscisco expect to see the famous bridge, or California having the Hollywood sign. The game also runs silky smooth but that should be expected. Any less than that would be unforgivable, especially on the Xbox One X. Besides the simple visuals the game is a pleasure to watch and run, plain and simply. In terms of sounds, don't expect much from sound effects but the music soundtrack is just spot on with tunes reminding us of old time gaming but also keeping it modern enough for everyone to enjoy. Amazing work here.
Value for money
It has several modes where you can test your driving skill on, besides the main World Tour mode. We can also play on Endurance races and Playground (a new mode introduced on this Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions) which is some sort of challenge races with specific conditions, be it with no cars or extreme weather or other fun influences. You can play alone or with up to 3 more people locally through split screen. Sadly, no online mode was included which is a damn shame because it would be awesome to race our online friends old-school style. We can still compare times on every track against friend or globally but it's not the same thing. I have to be honest and say the game could benefit if it was just a little cheaper but you do get a nice lengthy World Tour and other modes and all of those can be played with 3 more friends.
The game is a heck of a good fun time with friends. Locally. And I don't always have friends at home to play, much less eventually convincing them to play a racing game. The most I played with was my son on split screen so it is such a shame the game doesn't have online play because I can almost bet it would be double the fun times. As it is, it's good for a quick fix - 4 or 5 races or so - by yourself until you kind of get a bit tired and go anywhere else. The game IS great fun, mind you. But only if played in semi-short bursts.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a simple and super-fun arcade racing game inspired in some of the all-time classics. What it does, in terms of sleek visuals, great soundtrack and gameplay, does very well, I have to be honest. It's what it does NOT do, however, that kind of brings it down a little. I understand games like these are made to be played locally but these days it's not very usual to get many friends to go to your house or even to have 4 controllers. I don't think an online option would be too difficult but also I am not one to judge in terms of budget or more technical stuff. As I said, the game plays great and feels great, just like retro classic racers but with a nice fresh modern coat of paint. And there are a few game modes to play around with so I will say I do recommend it for an occasional fix of a few races. Or if you like retro-inspired games.
Final Score 8
- Gameplay raw, simple and addictive
- Plenty of tracks to race in
- Simplistic but lovely visuals using a retro-modern look
- Several game modes. Perfect game for a quick bash from time to time.
- No online play
- I can't play with my online friends!
- Sometimes difficulty feels a little cheap
The game is available since TODAY for Xbox One - you can get it here.