I was just thinking how many racing games I must have played. From my early fond memories of Chequered Flag and Outrun and all the way to PS4’s most authentic racing simulator GT Sport, I must have installed more body kits than The Fast and the Furious franchise and done the equivalent in road miles to Neptune and back. Talking about early racing games, Outrun is well up there. My last visit to this classic must have been on the beautiful PSP in Outrun 2006 Coast 2 Coast. As Horizon Chase Turbo tears out of the screen, I can instantly see where this one is coming from.
While some racers push the boundaries, others stick to well-trodden formulas and Horizon Chase Turbo chooses the latter. Upon first glance a neon-tinged smack of striking-good colourful graphics burst out. And when you get behind the wheel things get a whole heap better as a silky-smooth ride makes Horizon Chase a thrilling first experience. Not so retro after all, eh?
Rolling like it’s the 80/90’s, your race car is centre screen while a scrolling twisty track tries to throw you off course with some devilish hard tracks. You’re racing against 19 other petrol heads who love to jostle and bump their way to the finishing line so it’s certainly not a given that you’re going to win a race. It’s still an incredibly fair race though; hit a car in front or smash into a trackside obstacle and it won’t punish you too much. The game also throws you a good life line in the way of turbos. Devs Aquiris Game Studio seem to have your back.
World tour mode is your starting point and with 100 stages you’re hardly going to whiz through this in a few sittings. Set in a host of countries including Japan, Brazil, India and a whole host more, the game does a great job in making each location feel totally new and visually exciting. Locations are split into 3 rounds, and by winning races and gaining points you unlock further rounds and cars. There is a fair amount of back tracking involved which you may or may not like. Revisiting tracks to gain more points in a bid to unlock new countries does become a slight pain as all you really want to do is race new tracks. As well as keeping your foot to the floor, negotiating tight turns and avoiding Sunday drivers, there are tokens and gas cans to pick up along the way. You will need to keep a beady eye out for these gas canisters as races will end early if you don’t ram into such pick-ups. Some tracks are longer than others so you’ll definitely need them. The thing is you may well miss them and, like me, miss them repeatedly, as Horizon Chase Turbo is super-fast. With changing weather conditions like rain, snow, volcanic ash and even severe sandstorms you can be excused.
Now no racer would be complete without upgrades. Bonus levels are where you head to net these important add ons. One upgrade will be fitted to all the cars that you’ve managed to unlock. These range from Differentials, Gearbox and Nitro, all which make a big difference to the car’s handling and speed.
Races themselves are truly entertaining and great fun. Action is fast, slick and frantic. I never thought I would be getting so many kicks out of a game like this on PlayStation 4. Sure, the likes of GT Sport and Project CARS truly shine on the console, but when something like Horizon Chase Turbo rears its retro head gasket you can’t help but give in. It’s also a big game. With tokens to bag, a great select of tracks, 26 cars to unlock, multiplayer split screen mode and leaderboards, you have a solid racing experience.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a stylish racer. Lovely touches like changing weather and racing as day meets night time really catapults this racer out of the retro days. While it does mimic such race games of the past, Horizon Chase Turbo brings a new school flavour to PS4.
Lizard Rating 8/10