Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: June 29, 2018
Horizon: Chase Turbo is a retro arcade racer available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Horizon: Chase Turbo is inspired by classic arcade racers from the 16 bit era including Lotus Turbo Challenge, OutRun, Rush and Top Gear that developer Aquiris are particularly fond of throughout their 70 person strong Brazilian development team. Can Horizon: Chase Turbo hone the gameplay of classic arcade racers from the retro 16 bit era for the modern generation?
World Tour mode is initially the only mode that is available with Tournament mode having to be unlocked by progressing through the World Tour mode before concentrating on the Tournament mode to unlock Endurance mode. World Tour mode allows the player to compete on a global scale, although there is only one world tour event open to participating in at first situated in California with the other 11 world tour events having to be unlocked by earning enough points. When a world tour event is unlocked; there will be three separate locations consisting of two or three races per location; for instance California includes San Francisco, Sequoia National Park and Los Angeles in which only the first race of each location is available to race on with the player requiring to finish the previous race in 5th position or better to unlock the following race. Race distances lasting upwards of three to half a dozen laps depending on the length of the track. Unlocking further world tour events is dependant upon scoring points through your finishing position as well as collecting as many on-track blue chequered flag tokens and fuel canisters as possible. It is also important for earning a certain quantity of points such as 400 points in the California world tour event in order to unlock an upgrade race as doing so then winning each upgrade race will upgrade every car in your garage. The player can earn a super trophy by finishing in first position and collecting all tokens.
Tournament mode is unlocked after completing the first world tour event, although only the amateur tier will initially be available. There are three tiers including amateur, professional and master that each comprise of four tournaments containing four locations per event. However, the second event onwards is only unlocked after finishing in at least 3rd position in the previous tournament. Tournament mode has a points table providing 1 point for finishing in 20th position with 1 point more on offer for achieving a place further up the finishing order all the way through to 20 points for winning the race, while points are accumulated after each race is completed. In an extremely positive design choice, each tournament concludes with a podium containing the top three cars after the results of the four races are added together; complimented by rapturous applause and confetti, therefore providing a reward for a successful performance during any given tournament. However, it would have been even better to have the option to fully customise a tournament by being able to choose the amount of tracks, particular tracks to race on and the quantity of laps per track.
Endurance mode is unlocked after completing all four master tournaments within tournament mode. Endurance mode has three separate lengths including a short 12 race distance, a medium 36 race distance and a long 109 race distance, although what makes endurance mode really interesting is the randomly selected races for players to compete in. Even when playing every track in long endurance there would still be an air of unpredictability to it through the random order of tracks.
Car design is quite varied as there are 31 cars in total, although despite not having licensed the official names of cars; the chassis and paint jobs are modelled on world famous sports cars and supercars including a Bugatti Veyron, classic Dodge Charger, Dodge Viper, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagani Zonda, the Volkswagen Bus and much more besides. Every car has a unique set of qualities within five attributes including top speed, acceleration, handling, fuel and nitro with speeds becoming gradually faster as you unlock more cars and upgrade them. After winning an upgrade race; the player has the chance to choose one of three available upgrades including suspension for maximum stability of steering at high speeds and greater responsiveness through the corners; an air intake that provides turbulence-free air from idle to full speed to increase speed and nitro efficiency; and a redesigned exhaust producing better speed and acceleration, while winning a different upgrade race will provide a choice of three separate upgrades that for instance focus on differentials, gearbox and nitro to improve acceleration and steering, acceleration and nitro and nitro and steering respectively.
Track design is incredibly varied as there are an immense total of 109 tracks spanning 12 destinations including California, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Greece, Iceland, United Arab Emirates, India, Australia, China, Japan and Hawaii, while tracks are situated in varying conditions such as daytime in the sunshine, sunset, a night time race in California, snowy races in Santiago, Chile and more besides. Every track feels completely unique from each other due to numerous ranging combinations of short, medium and long straights, narrow and wide corners, short, medium and large corners, tight corners and short and fast-paced long bends, alongside a massive quantity of trackside objects with more trackside objects on some tracks than others.
It has been quite a long time since the Vita had a racing game released, although Horizon: Chase Turbo would be the perfect racing game to receive a Vita port, but is seemingly not getting ported to Vita, while remote play is a consolation. Horizon: Chase Turbo’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance maintains the quality of the PS4 version. Remote play controls have not been optimised, but thanks to the customisable control scheme; players can change their controls to meet their preferences such as re-mapping accelerating and braking from the top right and top left of the rear touch pad to R and L respectively; resulting in an extremely playable and comfortable remote play experience.
The almost fully customisable control scheme is appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 speaker consisting of holding R2 or X to accelerate; holding L2 or O to brake; pressing square or triangle to engage a nitro boost; changing the direction of the left analogue stick or alternatively pressing left or right on the d-pad to steer your car; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad to honk your car’s horn, while vibration occurs when making contact with other cars and trackside objects, although there is no light bar implementation that could have produced an alternative HUD to display how much fuel your car has remaining.
Graphically, Horizon: Chase Turbo is visually stunning as it essentially produces a modern re-imagining of retro arcade racers from the cars, nearby and distant trackside details, alongside the consistently frenetic pacing. There are plenty of wonderful touches that elevate the graphics such as the monuments in Easter Island, weather conditions, the stars in the night sky during night time races and the colour palette during sunset races, while crashes into other cars and trackside objects result in relevant animations, alongside the racing action being analysed by stylish speech bubbles such as when overtaking a car round the outside of a corner or a car persistently preventing your car from overtaking. Horizon: Chase Turbo also takes full advantage of the PS4 Pro to provide native 4K resolution with 4x multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA) at a smooth 60 frames per second.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the title menu, main menu, world tour mode menus, tournament mode menus, endurance mode menus, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. Menu backgrounds focus on the supercars, sports cars and tracks featured in the events situated globally.
Sound effects include a countdown to the race start, accelerating, engaging nitro boosts, screeching tyres when braking, honking your car’s horn, colliding with other cars and trackside objects, fuel low warning and collecting blue chequered flag tokens and fuel canisters that are all complimented by fantastic attention to detail in ambience such as when driving underneath a bridge structure and howling winds in Chile’s Cold Day track. In full compliment to the amazing sound effects; a mixture of instrumental arcade and rock music is composed by Barry Leitch who previously fulfilled the role of sound designer in classic 90s arcade racers such as Lotus Turbo Challenge, Rush and Top Gear to lend further authenticity of bringing back retro arcade racers. The DualShock 4 speaker produces sound effects when collecting blue chequered flag tokens and fuel canisters in addition to engaging nitro, honking your car’s horn and the fuel low warning.
The trophy list includes 38 trophies with 22 bronze trophies, 11 silver trophies, 4 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include The First of Many bronze trophy for finishing a World Tour race and the I Need A Bigger Garage bronze trophy for unlocking a car. Harder trophies include the Supersonic silver trophy for reaching 230 mph or 370 km/h and the Transporter gold trophy for finishing a race with every car. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 15 to 25 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are no adjustable difficulty levels, although tournament mode does suggest how the difficulty curve gradually increases as the first four tournaments are categorised as amateur, while the following four tournaments are classed as professional and the final four tournaments are considered to be of master difficulty. However, regardless of the actual difficulty of each world tour event, tournament and endurance event; every race can be won or lost during each corner and attempted overtake as you start the race at the back of the grid comprising of 20 cars with every A.I. controlled car most probably manoeuvring to prevent your car from overtaking. Meanwhile, longer races will provide an additional hurdle to overcome as your car may potentially run out of fuel, therefore tactics and driving style have to come into play by adopting the Formula 1 strategy of lifting and coasting through corners to save fuel, especially if you accidentally miss collecting the on-track fuel canisters.
Split-screen multiplayer allows for 2 to 4 players competitively throughout the entirety of world tour, tournament and endurance modes against the full grid of 18 A.I. controlled cars. Each player receives a descriptive tag to sum up their performance at the end of each race such as continually crashing into signposts will earn the title of signpost crasher or crashing after having engaged nitro will provide the title of nitro crasher.
Meanwhile, online leaderboards focus on fastest race times from each player with rankings covering every track with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); and the best race time set by each player, while players can compare their positioning on the leaderboards with players that occupy the top positions, globally and from your friends list. A major gameplay element to the online leaderboards is the capability for any player to choose and compete against any other player’s fastest race time that has been submitted to the online leaderboards in the form of a ghost car for any track.
Horizon: Chase Turbo’s replayability stems from the unpredictability of whether players will finish on the podium let alone winning the race accompanied by progressively unlocking more cars and car upgrades to improve your chances of returning to a race for a better finishing position and a faster race time on the online leaderboards and against an online ghost car. Therefore, the replay value is astounding when considering the 109 tracks spread throughout the world tour and endurance modes in addition to the tournament mode that can be explored in single player or with up to three friends in 2 to 4 player split-screen multiplayer that will have players returning for dozens of hours.
- Title: Horizon: Chase Turbo
- Developer: Aquiris
- Publisher: Aquiris
- System: PS4
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1-4 (Split-Screen Competitive Multiplayer)/Online Ghost Cars and Online Leaderboards
- Hard Drive Space Required: 768.4MB (Version 1.05)